Health officials sound alarm after five flu deaths reported in London

Health officials are sounding the alarm in London, Ont. after reporting five more flu deaths bringing the total to 19 since Sept. 2017.

Since September of last year, there have been 19 deaths and 214 hospitalizations

The Middlesex-London Health Unit in London, Ont. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Health officials are sounding the alarm in London, Ont. after receiving reports of five flu related deaths and the  hospitalization of 29 others.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) confirmed the news on Wednesday in an updated influenza surveillance report that looked at numbers from Jan 21 to 27. Five new flu outbreaks were also declared within that week.

The manager of infectious disease control for MLHU, Mary Lou Albanese told CBC News that there are no records available on whether the 5 people who died were vaccinated.

"We are seeing high numbers comparable to other years, but we're not done with the flu in the community," warned Albanese.

Since September of last year, there have been 19 deaths and 214 hospitalizations in the Middlesex-London region. There have been a total of 430 confirmed flu cases.

The health unit's statistics show that strains of influenza A and B have arrived at the same time. Influenza B is also reported to be appearing in a "higher than expected" number of cases.

Albanese said the health unit is recommending Londoners get vaccinated, especially those working in hospitals and long-term care homes. Officials are recommending a vaccine that covers more strains of the virus. 

People who have been vaccinated are also being cautioned. 

"Make sure that you're staying at home if you're feeling sick and covering your mouth with your sleeve if you're coughing or sneezing  … don't prepare meals for others and clean and disinfect," said Albanese.