Severe H1N1 flu cases in Fraser Health prompt new call to immunize

More than a dozen hospitalized patients in region ventilated in intensive care

It's not too late to get the flu shot

Fraser Health is urging residents to get the flu shot if they haven’t yet had it after a surge in severe cases of H1N1 influenza.

As of Monday, 30 patients sick with suspected H1N1 had been treated in hospital intensive care units with artificial respiration, although some have since been discharged.

One patient has died but the case has not yet been confirmed as H1N1 flu.

Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Paul Van Buynder said the cases here are mirroring the pattern seen recently with outbreaks in Alberta, Ontario and Texas.

Ill patients here are not the very elderly, but adults of various ages from 20 to 60, he said. Two are pregnant women and others suffer from chronic illness or are very overweight.

“We’re surprised at how many have come in such a short period of time with such severe disease,” Van Buynder said.

Hospitalized patients are at Royal Columbian, Surrey Memorial and Abbotsford Regional hospitals, Van Buynder said, but added that’s just because the most seriously ill patients concentrate in the region’s three big hospitals.

The virus isn’t limited to any particular community.

“This is right across Fraser,” he said.

Van Buynder said all patients currently hospitalized with the flu are expected to survive, but he said the outbreak is disturbing.

“We are urging those who have not already had their flu shot to get one. It is not too late.”

Anyone who got the 2013 flu shot is immunized against the now-circulating strain of H1N1, he said.

People who got the H1N1 flu shot in 2009 – when there was widespread concern about an outbreak of that strain – may have some immunity but are urged to get a new shot.

“We’re not sure whether this virus has moved a little bit,” Van Buynder said.

“We recommend people get the current vaccine rather than relying on the previous one.”

B.C.’s Influenza Control Policy came into effect Dec. 2.

In addition to health care workers, anyone visiting someone in a health-care facility will be expected to have been vaccinated or wear a mask to help protect those most vulnerable this influenza season.

For more information about influenza and vaccination clinics, see immunizebc.ca

 

Just Posted

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

First court date in Chilliwack for man accused of murdering Belgian tourist

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance Wednesday

Another successful year for Chilliwack’s ‘We Got Your Back’ backpack program

Sponsored by local businesses, program stocks backpacks with school supplies for students in need

Group forms in Hope to respond to homelessness, trauma and addictions

Homelessness Action Response Table (HART) full of local, regional, provincial movers and shakers

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Woman files complaint over treatment of cat with two broken legs

Ariel Johnston of Abbotsford says her pet was sent home without pain medication

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

Most Read