Flu bug hits Fraser region hard

Ten care homes now dealing with influenza outbreaks – as many as all reported in previous flu season

Dr. Michelle Murti is a medical health officer for Fraser Health.

Fraser Health has lab-confirmed flu outbreaks in progress at 10 different long-term care facilities following a spike in influenza activity over the holiday season.

Medical health officer Dr. Michelle Murti said it’s remarkable to have 10 care home outbreaks active simultaneously as that’s as many as Fraser recorded in the entire flu season last year.

“It’s quite a heavy year,” she said Monday, noting there have also been eight earlier facility outbreaks that have since cleared up.

Flu season started early with residential outbreaks beginning in late September and early October.

The bugs circulating had plenty of opportunity to find new victims as families and friends gathered over the holidays.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control on Jan. 2 reported a “sharp increase” in influenza-like illness reports in the final two weeks of December.

“With school back on we’ll now see more transmission in the community as well,” Murti said.

The vaccine provided this flu season isn’t considered as effective as in past years because of some drift in the genetic makeup of the H3N2 flu virus that’s been dominant.

But Murti said many care home residents are reporting relatively mild symptoms and some have been surprised to learn they have the flu at all.

She said the less severe illness may stem from the partial protective effect of the vaccine against H3N2, or from residents’ built-up resistance from exposure to similar viruses in past years.

Meanwhile, B.C. has recorded a third death linked to enterovirus D68 infection.

The latest case is of a child who actually died in November but the B.C. Centre for Disease Control did not receive confirmation until last week.

There have been 220 enterovirus D68 cases detected in the province since mid-August. Of those, 140 required hospitalization and another five resulted in neurological illness associated with the virus.

Murti said enteroviruses are more prevalent in the summer and fall, and – as expected – their activity has waned with the onset of winter.

She offers the usual advice on avoiding flu and cold – washing hands often, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home if you feel ill.

“Especially if you are having respiratory symptoms you should not be that work hero going to work or school. It’s important to stay home so you’re not transmitting that to other people.”

Current outbreaks at residential care homes in Fraser Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A case of COVID has been detected within School District 33. (School District 33 photo)
UPDATE: Case of COVID confirmed at a Chilliwack school

Fraser Health has not informed parents but district sent letter to parents Friday

Record-low returns of salmon have been recorded on the Fraser River in recent years. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Time for Indigenous-led salmon strategy on the Lower Fraser, says Alliance

‘Closures of First Nations, commercial and recreational salmon fishing’ have huge impact: LFFA

The City of Chilliwack says there’s too much spitting going on at the Sardis Sports Complex. (City of Chilliwack photo)
Too much spitting a problem at Chilliwack’s Sardis Sports Complex

The City of Chilliwack is asking the minor hockey community to ease up on expectorating

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in Fraser Valley

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’ making second Abbotsford court appearance on Monday

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)
50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with TheConcertHall.ca

Most Read