Thunder Bay flu death concerns health officials
One person in the Thunder Bay district has recently died after getting the flu.
The information was released by Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, who said the patient was an adult under the age of 65.
Williams said the public health agency is concerned by an increase in flu cases in the Thunder Bay area.
"There's been a lot more cases coming in, quicker. The influenza-like illness activity, besides the lab-confirmed tests, has gone up considerably," he said.
"We're seeing some of the cases are coming in quite ill, and require a high percentage [of] hospitalization," he said in an interview Friday with CBC News.
Williams said most of the flu cases, so far, involve children under the age of five.
Immunization clinics being offered
Health officials are especially concerned about individuals at high risk for complications from the flu, including First Nations people, pregnant women and those over 65 who have not been immunized.
"All the cases we've received, nearly all are [not] immunized, and that's concerning because the organism is H1N1, and that's covered by the vaccine," Williams said.
Thunder Bay currently leads the province with the number of visits to the hospital emergency department by patients with flu symptoms, the local health unit reports.
Williams said he expects the incidence of the flu will keep going up during the holiday season, when people come into closer contact with family and friends. Cases may peak around the first week of January, he added.
The health unit will operate two special public flu clinics on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Thunder Bay and District Health Unit headquarters, located at 999 Balmoral Street.
The health unit said the special clinics are being offered because holiday hours will be in effect at the offices of many health-care providers, and because pharmacies can only immunize children five and over.
The health unit clinic can immunize anyone over the age of 6 months.