Public Health Declares Community-Wide Influenza Outbreak for Local Area
Written by admin, March 17, 2016
March 17, 2016 – This week Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra declared a community-wide influenza outbreak in Peterborough due to a recent increase in the number of confirmed local cases.
“We now have had influenza outbreaks at four long term care homes in our area, and have seen an increased number of patients presenting at the PRHC Emergency Department with influenza-like illness,” said Dr. Salvaterra. “While this may seem like a late for the spread of influenza to peak, it’s not unusual for flu season to last until April.”
Dr. Salvaterra noted that lab-confirmed cases have indicated that both Influenza A and Influenza B strains are circulating. One long-term care facility has both.
“The good news is that this year’s vaccine is a strong match with circulating strains and protects against both A and B strains,” she said. Dr. Salvaterra noted that all of the long-term care homes in outbreak have instructed staff who did not get the flu shot to take antiviral medication. “Antivirals can be effective as a second line treatment to prevent influenza spread when outbreaks occur or to treat an influenza infection, if used early. Hopefully, most caregivers have been immunized but if not, antivirals, masks and good hand washing can help protect those who are vulnerable.”
Influenza can be fatal for immunocompromised patients. But for most healthy individuals, they are able to weather the virus and will not require a visit to the doctor. For those who are feeling unwell, Dr. Salvaterra recommends that you stay home to avoid spreading the virus.
For more information about infection control and influenza, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and click on “Immunization” and then “Influenza”.
For further information, please contact:
705-743-1000, ext. 391