After nearly two years of low case numbers, Alberta is seeing a jump in influenza cases.
The latest numbers from Alberta Health show in the last month, the province went from under 20 lab-confirmed cases to reporting a total of 460. Two of those resulted in patients being admitted to intensive care.
Dr. Chris Sikora, lead medical officer of health for the Edmonton zone, said the rise in transmission could be due to Albertans letting their guard down.
“I do suspect that the reason we’re seeing this spike or this increase in influenza cases over the past number of weeks is it’s largely related to people being outdoors, people being with other individuals, and there being increased opportunities for transmission events,” Sikora said.
“As things are reopening, and perhaps we aren’t as diligent about masking and hygiene and staying home when sick, it does leave us open to increased transmission events where influenza, as well as other respiratory viruses, spread from person-to-person .”
Sikora added that the province didn’t see many lab-confirmed influenza cases last season due to public health measures for COVID-19.
According to Alberta Health, more than 1.2 million doses of influenza vaccine have been administered in the province, meaning 27.3 per cent of all Albertans received a vaccine.
More than 67 per cent of Albertans aged 65 or older have received an influenza vaccine.
The Calgary health zone leads the province for influenza vaccine coverage with 30.2 per cent, while Edmonton and the South zones have 29 and 25.9 per cent coverage, respectively.
The Central zone has 22.2 per cent coverage, and the North zone has 17.2 per cent coverage.
Last flu season, more than 1.65 million doses of vaccine were administered to give the province 37.4 per cent vaccine coverage.