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News Release

Worst of the flu wave is over: Medical Officer of Health

Feb 04, 2015
One of the worst influenza seasons in recent memory is beginning to ease in Simcoe and Muskoka, prompting the Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health to lift its declaration of widespread influenza activity.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – One of the worst influenza seasons in recent memory is beginning to ease in Simcoe and Muskoka, prompting the Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health to lift its declaration of widespread influenza activity.

Dr. Charles Gardner announced today, Wednesday, Feb. 4, that the widespread activity had subsided.

The flu peaked locally during the week of Dec. 28, 2014 to Jan. 3, 2015 when 87 new lab-confirmed cases were diagnosed, more than double the total of the previous week. To date there have 411 lab-confirmed cases of influenza, about 10 per cent more cases than had occurred at the same point in the 2012-2013 season, the last time widespread activity was declared. As well, there have been 42 institutional outbreaks.

In the last two weeks there has been a marked reduction in attendance to local emergency departments for influenza-like-illness.

The declaration of widespread influenza activity served as a trigger for health care facilities to initiate strategies to control the further spread of influenza.

While there has been a sharp decline in cases, Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Colin Lee pointed out that the flu has not disappeared from the region and is still causing serious illness for some people.

“Much of Ontario 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. Lee said. He added that some flu seasons also experience a second “wave” of activity later in the year.

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, in the Flu Facts section. People can also call the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Telehealth line at

1-866-797-0000 for one-to-one advice from a registered nurse. 

Flu vaccine is still available in the community and although the match this year is not as effective in preventing this strain of flu, it can protect against an influenza B wave that may occur later in the season. 

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.

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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