Region's flu season 'severe,' health unit warns

This year, there were more Influenza B cases than expected, the Middlesex-London Health Unit says.

Since September, 23 people in the region have died of the flu, health unit says

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The flu has claimed four more lives in the region, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported this week. 

The report comes after one last week that said five people had recently died. 

It's not known whether those people had been vaccinated, if they had compromised immune systems, or if they were in long-term care homes or hospitals when they died. 

In total, 23 people have died from the flu since September. 

"Prevention is always better than the cure. Anyone who has had the flu knows it's not something they want to get again," said Scott Coulter, a pharmacist at Coulter's Pharmacy. 

Although the flu vaccine is only about 30 per cent effective, it's still a good idea, he said. 

White Coat Black Art Facebook Live 31:58

"The current influenza season is proving to be a severe one in both the Middlesex London area and across Canada, with numerous laboratory-confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and institutional outbreaks reported," the health unit said in a statement this week. 

"To date, the number and proportion of influenza B cases has been higher than expected, with influenza B identified in nearly two-thirds of reported cases and institutional outbreaks." 

Between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3, there were 30 hospitalizations because of the flu. Since September, there have been 244 hospitalizations.