British Columbia

Late-season wave of influenza hits B.C.

The latest flu bulletin from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control says there's been an unusual wave of new cases of the influenza A strain since early March, a strain mostly affecting older adults.

Health bulletin says new cases are mainly related to the influenza A strain

The B.C. Center for Disease Control says the number of flu patients has jumped 50 per cent during a three-week reporting period. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Health officials say British Columbia is experiencing a late-season surge of flu cases.

The latest flu bulletin from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control says there's been an unusual wave of new cases of the influenza A strain since early March, a strain mostly affecting older adults.

The number of patients has jumped 50 per cent during the most recent three-week reporting period.

"What we do know is that there is increased activity, there's an increased number of positive influenza tests that we are getting," said Vancouver Coastal medical health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson.

"We also are getting some late outbreaks of influenza illness in long-term care facilities."

This flu season previously peaked near the end of 2018 before winding down. The flu bulletin published March 21 says it's too soon to know whether the second wave has peaked.

Gustafson says acute care hospitals are facing some increased pressure, but that isn't necessarily related to new flu cases.

"Influenza infection can make you more susceptible to what we call bacterial super-infections," she said. "We're seeing a little bit of a surge of pneumococcal pneumonia which is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia."

The Centre for Disease Control says levels of influenza B continue to be unusually low overall.

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