From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Young hurt by flu bug

Past mirrors present as Chilliwack wrestles with a flu bug in January of 1979.

Since first publishing on April 16, 1891 the Chilliwack Progress has been the newspaper of record in Chilliwack.

One hundred and 28 years later the Progress remains the longest continuously published newspaper in British Columbia. With the addition of a thriving digital operation anchored by, the Progress delivers more news to more people than ever before.

‘From the Progress Archives’ is a journey into the past, to see what was making news on this day decades ago.


Headline: Young hurt by flu bug

Date: January 17, 1979

Story by Ed Hamel

There is an influenza epidemic in Chilliwack and school children are bearing the brunt of it.

Dr. Bill McInnes, Upper Fraser Valley Health Unit director, says this new flu — type A1-USSR, 1977 — is very similar to one which circulated from 1946 until 1957. Therefore, those 22 or older should have been exposed to it and should have built up an immunity.

Those under the age of 22, however, are feeling the full effect of the virus because their bodies have not been exposed to it before.

Dr. McInnes says there is an epidemic in Chilliwack, because some schools have reported up to one-third of their students absent.

School District 33 took a survey of its schools last week and found absentee rates ranging as high as 32 per cent. Some of those schools have since recovered, but most still have a high number of absentees and the rate at least at one school appears to be on the rise.

A.D. Rundle Junior Secondary reported 19 per cent of its students absent yesterday. That is a rise of three per cent since last week, and about 14 per cent higher than normal.

Vedder Junior Secondary seems to be recovering. Seventeen per cent of its students were missing on Monday, compared to a high of 20 per cent Friday.

Chilliwack Junior is also looking a little healthier. CJSS principal Bill Ferguson said his school reached a high of 34 per cent sick on Friday, but it dropped to 22 per cent Monday and was into the teens yesterday.

Sardis secondary is running at nine per cent, about five per cent above average, and Rosedale Junior Secondary is back to its normal five per cent.

What can one do with a case of the flu? Not much, says Dr. McInnes. He recommends lots of rest, fluids to replace water lost in sweating and some brand of pain killer, such as aspirin.

Dr. McInnes adds that those who contract this flu require plenty of sympathy.

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