What Manitobans need to know about the flu at the peak of the season – CBC.ca
One person has died from the flu this season, Manitoba Health has confirmed, but the families of two other young people say their deaths were due to complications arising from the infectious virus.
Blaine Ruppenthal, a Grade 12 student at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, died Monday after suffering medical complications, according to a family member.
Joanne Ens, 24, from Morden, Man., died Jan. 6 after battling the flu since New Year’s Day. She contracted a bacterial infection that she was unable to recover from, her family said. She suffered from asthma as well.
Manitobans might be concerned following the news of these deaths. Here’s what health-care experts have to say about influenza.
How many people die every year in Manitoba from flu-related complications?
So far this flu season, the province has confirmed one influenza-related death, but Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said there’s sometimes a delay in receiving reports of deaths and sharing them with the public.
The timing and intensity of the flu during any given season — defined as the period between November and May — can vary, a spokesperson for the province said in an email to CBC News.
There were 18 flu-related deaths reported during the 2018-19 flu season, but the number varies considerably year to year, according to figures from the province:
- 2013-14: 9
- 2014-15: 48
- 2015-16: 22
- 2016-17: 12
- 2017-18: 46
“We do see severe outcomes every year with the flu, unfortunately, and this year will be no exception,” Roussin said.
There are cases of young people becoming ill and having severe symptoms, but it’s not very common, he said.
What are common flu symptoms and how should they be treated?
Most people with the flu have a fever, cough and muscle aches and pains within the first one to four days after being exposed to the virus, Health Canada says.
Health authorities recommend you stay home when you get sick and avoid close contact with other people until you’re well enough to get back to your regular day-to-day activities.
People infected with the flu virus can spread it to other people until approximately five days after they first show symptoms.
Rest, fluids and medication to reduce fever or aches can be used to treat symptoms.
Sometimes flu symptoms can be more serious and require medical attention.
When should you go to the hospital?
Health Canada says people with the flu should go to the hospital immediately if they develop any of these serious symptoms:
- Shortness of breath, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing.
- Chest pain.
- Bluish or grey skin.
- Bloody mucus or spit.
- Sudden dizziness or confusion.
- Severe or persistent vomiting.
- High fever lasting more than three days.
- Low blood pressure.
The flu can sometimes lead to pneumonia, respiratory failure, worsening of chronic health conditions and even death.
Should Manitobans be worried?
People living in the province should be alert to the impacts of the flu, Roussin said.
“I think that the message is that the flu is concerning every year and so we unfortunately see severe outcomes every year.”
Flu seasons are becoming longer, he said.
Another concern is that the influenza B strain is increasing at a higher rate than normal, according to the latest report from the province, which can cause serious problems.
“It’s usually [influenza] A that we see circulating, but B can cause significant illness,” Roussin said, particularly in those under 15.
People with serious diseases, those over 65, people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, children under five and pregnant women are at high risk of complications from the flu, the federal government says.
What’s the best thing Manitobans can do to protect themselves from the flu?
The flu shot is No. 1, Roussin said.
“We always try to get the message out about the flu vaccine that the flu vaccine is safe, and it’s the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu.”
It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine, although it’s ideal to get it before the flu season is in full swing, he said.
“We’re still encouraging Manitobans to get that flu shot. It’s safe and that’s the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu and these serious complications.”
Health Canada recommends everyone over six months get the vaccine. It’s especially important for people who are at high risk for complications and for those who are in close proximity to those at high risk.
Currently, only 22 per cent of Manitobans are vaccinated, according to government statistics.
Addictions counselling services expanded for Vancouver Islanders
People struggling with mental health and substance abuse can access up to 12 free counselling sessions per year in a new Island Health program.
Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair, says “This represents a significant expansion and investment in community-based counselling services to improve access to these services on Vancouver Island.”
Virtual Island-wide services will be available through Cognito Health, and Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centre. Services are also available in Port Hardy through North Island Crisis and Counselling Services and in Nanaimo through EHN Outpatient Services and Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Society.
The publicly-funded, community-based counselling is intended for people with moderate challenges. The new partnership with Island health will meet the counselling needs of at least 1,500 people per year.
Access to the counselling services is via referral or self-referral through Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use locations.
Lyme disease increased across Quebec in 2021: data – CTV News Montreal
Lyme disease in Quebec was back on the rise in 2021, following a brief slowdown in 2020.
According to data released earlier this week by Quebec’s public health institute (INSPQ), 709 cases of Lyme disease were reported to provincial health authorities as of April 6, 2022. Of those infections, 650 were likely acquired in Quebec, while the rest occurred elsewhere.
The rate of the disease in 2021 was 1.7 times higher than in 2019, the year with the second-highest recorded rate.
Of the 650 cases of Lyme disease acquired in Quebec, Estrie was again the most affected region. With 452 cases, it accounts for nearly 70 per cent of all infections in Quebec.
Authorities reported 124 cases in Montérégie.
The other regions, including Montreal, reported fewer than 20 cases.
The age group most affected by Lyme disease in Quebec in 2021 was 60-69, followed by 50-59, 40-49 and 70-79.
Lyme is transmitted through the bite of a tick carrying the disease.
The tell-tale symptom in humans is a reddening of the skin. Many with the disease experience fatigue, fever, aches and pains — and if the disease isn’t detected and treated quickly, the bacteria can disperse into the bloodstream, leading to much more uncomfortable symptoms.
According to the Quebec government, milder winters could partly explain the disease’s progression. The warmer climate allows ticks to survive and reproduce more easily.
Lyme disease has been a notifiable disease in Quebec since 2003, meaning doctors and laboratory technicians who detect a case must inform public health authorities.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 9, 2023.
Aggressive, ‘drooling profusely’ moose has disease never seen in its species in Alaska – Yahoo Canada Sports
A moose that was acting aggressively toward people has been diagnosed with rabies, a first for Alaska, according to wildlife officials.
The moose, which was “stumbling, drooling profusely, and had bare patches of skin,” was found acting oddly in Teller on June 2, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in a June 7 news release.
“That moose was being aggressive towards people and charging and getting a little bit too close to comfort for them,” Alaska Wildlife Biologist Sara Germain told KTUU-TV.
Before the moose’s carcass was burned, wildlife officials said they collected samples for testing, which showed “rabies virus in the brain.”
Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the virus in the moose was infected with was “an Arctic Fox rabies variant,” officials said. The variant stems from a winter rabies outbreak in Nome/Seward Peninsula and North Slope arctic foxes.
Wildlife officials said this suggests the moose contracted the disease from a fox.
“Due to the largely solitary nature of moose, it is very unlikely that any rabies outbreak will occur in the moose population, but isolated cases such as this one occur rarely,” officials said.
While rabies in moose is rare, some of the massive animals have been “diagnosed with rabies in South Dakota, Minnesota, Canada and Russia,” officials said.
The department said as a result of this rabies case that it plans to test “all brain samples from wild mammals found dead or euthanized from regions” known to have fox rabies, to better track the disease.
The public can help by calling the department if they find a dead animal or see any that with signs of rabies, which includes “excessive salivation, abnormal / aggressive behavior, bite marks,” officials said.
Though photos and videos can be helpful, it’s important to avoid contact “with a rabid animal or carcass,” officials said.
Rabies vaccines for dogs and cats is the best protection against the disease in people, according to officials.
“Likewise, preventing pets from interacting with foxes or other wildlife, and not leaving garbage or other attractants accessible to foxes and other wildlife, remain important,” the department said.
If someone is bitten by an animal that may have been exposed to rabies, “immediately wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention,” officials said.
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