Northern health officials urge precautions against flu
A spike in the number of flu cases in Alberta has health officials in the Northwest Territories calling for extra precautions.
In Alberta, there have been more than 900 confirmed cases of flu so far; five people have died from the H1N1 strain.
There have been 19 confirmed flu cases in the N.W.T. so far this season.
"We have at least five people in hospital right now with a more severe form of influenza and it's something that is never completely benign," said Dr. Andre Corriveau, N.W.T.'s chief medical officer of health.
Officials say the flu season has started early. They're encouraging people travelling to provinces with high flu rates — as well as children heading back to school — to be more aware.
Corriveau says if people do get flu symptoms they should stay home on the days they're most ill.
There will be a flu shot clinic at the Public Health office in Yellowknife Jan. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Dr. Maureen Baikie, Nunavut's chief medical officer of health, says there have been no lab-confirmed cases of influenza
or RSV in the territory so far this season.
"We know that there's a lot of influenza activity in the south," she said. "Most of it is H1N1 and so we expect that to arrive in Nunavut anytime now. Our season is usually a little bit lighter."
Public health officials are encouraging people to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough and to stay home from work or school if they're sick.
Health officials are also encouraging Nunavummiut as well as people in the N.W.T. to get the flu shot, which covers H1N1.