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News Release

Flu on the decline throughout Simcoe Muskoka: health unit

Jan 14, 2013
The worst of the wave of influenza has passed locally, prompting the Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health to lift the declaration of community-wide influenza activity.

­­­SIMCOE MUSKOKA ­– The worst of the wave of influenza has passed locally, prompting the Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health to lift the declaration of community-wide influenza activity.

Dr. Charles Gardner announced this morning, Monday, Jan. 14, that the widespread activity had concluded.

While there has been a sharp decline in cases, Dr. Gardner pointed out that the flu has not disappeared from the region and is still causing serious illness for some people.

“Much of Ontario, and indeed much of North America, is still in the midst of a very active flu season, so people need to continue taking measures to prevent the spread of the disease to others around them,” Dr. Gardner said.

Flu vaccine is still available in the community and is the best means of protection. Frequent handwashing, generally taking good care of your health and staying home when ill are also effective ways of protecting family, co-workers and others.

There is an online tool to help individuals decide whether they or family members have the flu, and whether to stay home to recover or seek medical attention. It’s located at www.ontario.ca/flu. The Flu Assessment Tool is linked from the left side of the page and was created by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. People can also call the ministry’s Telehealth line at 1-866-797-0000 for one-to-one advice from a registered nurse.

The flu peaked locally during the week of Dec. 30, 2012 to Jan. 5, 2013 when 108 new lab-confirmed cases were diagnosed, more than double the total of the previous week. Almost half of the 26 institutional outbreaks of flu in the region occurred during that week as well.

In the week following, the number of lab-confirmed cases fell to 32, with a marked reduction in attendance to local emergency departments for influenza-like-illness. All but seven of the institutional outbreaks have ended.

The declaration of community-wide spread of influenza serves as a trigger for health care facilities to initiate strategies to control the further spread of influenza.

Dr. Gardner noted the high level of impact that had occurred on the health care community in dealing with the widespread flu activity.

More information about influenza can be found on the health unit website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org, or by calling Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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