AHS reports first flu-related death in Edmonton

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The influenza virus has made an early appearance this season, resulting in one death in the  Edmonton zone as of last week.

Alberta Health Services has reported five flu-related deaths so far this season, with three occurring in the Calgary zone and one in the South zone.

The latest weekly statistics released by Alberta Health Services show 167 cases of the flu have been recorded in the Edmonton zone, which includes St. Albert, as of Nov. 30.

A total of 61 patients in the zone have been admitted into the hospital with influenza.

Shobhit Maruti, medical officer of the Edmonton Zone, said it’s difficult to determine what the rest of the flu season holds, but the best way people can protect themselves is by getting immunized.

“Immunization is the best way to protect yourself and those around you,” he said. “With the holidays coming up it’s expected that a lot of people get together, and so there’s more risk.”

Additionally people should protect themselves by covering their mouth while coughing, keeping their hands clean and staying at home if sick.

The majority of confirmed flu cases in the Edmonton zone have been Influenza A, at 158 cases. Nine cases of Influenza B have been confirmed.

The report shows that 325,691 influenza vaccines have been administered between Aug. 28 and Nov. 25 in the Edmonton zone.

Calgary has been hit the worst so far this season, with a total of 652 confirmed cases of the virus.

Even though the season started early this year, Maruti says it’s unknown when the season will end.

To date there have been 320 hospitalizations across Alberta and 1,147 confirmed cases of influenza.

Last year’s entire flu season resulted in the death of 64 Albertans, with 20 occurring in the Edmonton zone and 19 in the Calgary zone.

For more information visit https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/influenza or call 8-1-1.

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Dayla Lahring

Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.