Early spike in flu strain making more children sick: doctor

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Canada’s chief public health officer says more children are being hospitalized this flu season because of an early spike in a strain of influenza B, which hits young people hard.

Doctor Theresa Tam says that strain is circulating across the country, while a strain of influenza A, which typically targets the elderly, is also making the rounds. She says influenza B does not usually peak until February or later and the double dose of both strains has not been seen in Canada since 2015.

Tam says she does not yet know if either strain is linked to the deaths of two young people in Manitoba. That province says two other people over the age of 80 have died from flu-related illness this season, and it’s urging all residents to get the flu shot.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says two deaths believed to be related to the flu have also been reported in New Brunswick. Tam says the best defence is getting the flu shot, but only about 43 per cent of people under the age of 65 got it last year. About 70 per cent of seniors were vaccinated. (The Canadian Press)

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