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.

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

Just Posted

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Chilliwack drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read