Manitoba

Manitoba care homes hit hard by flu outbreak

Seniors living in personal care homes were hit hard by the flu this winter, according to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

Care homes seeing 3 times normal number of influenza cases for this time of year

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says there have been 44 outbreaks of influenza like illnesses in personal care homes this winter.

Seniors living in personal care homes were hit hard by the flu this winter.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says there have been 44 outbreaks of influenza-like illnesses.

Of the confirmed cases, 38 tested positive as influenza A, two of which are ongoing.

Close to 75 per cent of the WRHA's 39 personal care homes have experienced or are experiencing an outbreak.

Officials say this is at least three times the amount of cases they would normally see at this time of the year.

88 care homes province-wide hit with flu outbreaks 

Dr. Elise Weiss of Manitoba Health said the number of care homes province-wide that have seen outbreaks was 88, compared to just two last year. 

Weiss said there are a couple of factors that explain the higher numbers this year. 

The flu strain this year, H3N2, predominantly affected people 65 years old or older. 

Weiss said this year's vaccine was also less effective. 

"Between the time of production and [when the] flu season arrived, the virus itself mutated," she said. "Usually, what we see, is although our vaccine will provide 70 to 80 per cent coverage, this year we were only seeing about 10 to 20 per cent."

In spite of that, Weiss maintains the best way to protect yourself from getting sick is to get vaccinated.

Weiss also recommends washing your hands and covering you face when you cough.

More than 1,000 cases throughout Manitoba 

Manitoba Health said there have been there have been a total of 1,051 cases of influenza A and 38 of influenza B this year, with 41 deaths linked to the flu. 

The province said since the beginning of flu season, 308 people have been hospitalized, 47 have been treated in the Intensive Care Unit.

As of Feb. 6 health officials say 21.5% of Manitobans had gotten their seasonal flu vaccination.​

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