Three flu cases in Norfolk

 No influenza reported in Haldimand

A person gets a shot during a flu vaccine program. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

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South-central Ontario has experienced a moderate flu season so far.

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has registered three cases of Influenza A this fall.

Influenza A is the most serious strain of flu. Lesser viruses known as Influenza B are also in circulation during flu season. However, the symptoms they produce are less debilitating than Influenza A.

Symptoms of Influenza A include fatigue, fever, coughing, upper-respiratory problems such as nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat, and occasionally nausea and vomiting.

Influenza A is potentially fatal in certain populations. These include the elderly, the very young, and people with compromised immune systems. Where there are fatalities pneumonia is often the cause.

All three cases recorded locally have been in Norfolk. None have been registered in Haldimand.

The H1N1 virus has been identified as one of the Influenza A strains in circulation in Canada.

If the virus sounds familiar that’s because H1N1 was the virus responsible for a swine flu outbreak in 2009. That outbreak had health authorities worried about a world-wide pandemic.

Health officials are encouraged because the 2018 flu vaccine protects against A-strain H1N1 flu.

Flu vaccines in recent years have, on occasion, been ineffective. Researchers have to guess which flu strains will be in circulation before deciding on a formula. When they guess wrong, the vaccine offers little protection.

In an email, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand and Norfolk’s Medical Officer of Health, says it is premature to say whether the vaccine available this year is a good fit.

In its most recent report, the Public Health Agency of Canada says flu activity so far this December in southern Ontario has been “sporadic.” The incidence of flu in eastern Ontario along the border with Quebec is more intense and described as “localized.”

PHAC has identified no areas in Canada where flu is considered widespread. No activity at all has been reported in a large section of northern Ontario along the Manitoba border.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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