Thunder Bay

H1N1 confirmed in four of five flu deaths in Thunder Bay area

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit says of the five flu deaths in the area, the H1N1 strain was confirmed in four of them.
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit says the type of flu identified as most commonly circulating in the city is Influenza A (H1N1), which is a component or part of this year’s vaccine. Even if one has received the H1N1 vaccine in 2009, he or she should still get this year’s vaccine to be fully protected.

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has confirmed the H1N1 strain in four out of five recent flu deaths. 

Whether or not the fifth case was also H1N1 can't be confirmed because the lab results didn't provide that level of detail, according to the health unit.   

Infectious disease program manager Diana Gowanlock said the number of deaths is higher than she would normally expect during a flu season, but the health unit hasn't yet received enough surveillance information to determine how the Thunder Bay district is faring compared to other parts of Ontario and Canada. 

Four out of the five people who died had not received the flu shot. In one case, the health unit could not determine if that person had been vaccinated. 

One of the victims was a senior and the rest were adults under the age of 65. 

Dr. Janet DeMille with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit gets the first flu shot of the year. The health unit is encouraging anyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot to get one, as the the virus is still circulating. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Gowanlock said with more than 80 confirmed H1N1 cases, the health unit hopes the rate of people catching the flu will now start to decline.

"Our thoughts are that we have reached our peak. We should be on the downward slide. We did reach our peak a little bit earlier than the rest of the province did."

The health unit continues to encourage everybody in the district to get a flu shot.

Gowanlock said the flu shot also protects against other strains of the flu that could still emerge.


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