Flu kills five, sends nearly 300 to hospital in Calgary
City has shouldered the bulk of influenza infections so far this season
The flu has killed five and hospitalized nearly 300 people in the Calgary zone this season, new numbers show.
As influenza hits Alberta, the Calgary zone has borne the brunt of the infections. Out of 427 lab-confirmed hospitalizations due to the flu, 293 were in Calgary. Of the six lab-confirmed deaths, one was in the north zone and the rest were in Calgary.
Alberta Health Service updates its running tally of infections every Thursday but did not elaborate on the deaths, including the ages of the victims.
Calgary's top emergency room doctor has said the high number of hospitalizations in Calgary is a suggestion of the flu's severity. Dr. Eddy Lang said people were coming into the ER with muscle aches, high fevers, coughs and sore throats.
Lang urged Calgarians to get vaccinated and to protect themselves by cleaning their hands and avoiding places where others are ill.
Since Aug. 26, more than 413,000 Calgarians have received the vaccination for influenza.
The annual vaccine is free in Alberta for anyone over the age of six months. It can be received at pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctor offices.
There are also a handful of immunization clinics, which will vaccinate people who aren't Alberta residents:
- Northgate, A154-495 36th Street N.E.
- Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, 1820 Richmond Road S.W.
- Brentwood Village Mall, 302-3630 Brentwood Road N.W.
- South Calgary Health Centre, 31 Sunpark Plaza S.E.
Last year, less than 30 per cent of Albertans got immunized. That year, 32 people died from influenza with 1,120 hospitalized in Calgary.
This year's vaccine has been found to be better than last year's at preventing the respiratory illness caused by the dominant strain of influenza. Health Canada also has approved a nasal spray vaccine for those who can't or don't want to receive the shot.
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Explosion blows out windows of southeast Calgary flour mill
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Calgary turning downtown office towers into condos and apartments
- Read more articles by CBC Calgary, like us on Facebook for updates and subscribe to our CBC Calgary newsletter for the day's news at a glance