Island Health says two strains of flu virus are spreading on Vancouver Island

Island Health says two strains of flu virus are spreading on Vancouver Island
CHEK

WATCH: Island Health says there are indications the flu has arrived and it’s on the upswing on Vancouver Island.There are outbreaks in a number of care facilities and it’s expecting the number of people to catch the flu in the coming weeks will only increase. Kendall Hanson reports.

Notices on the front doors are just the first sign of the problem

Eden Gardens is one of seven long-term care facilities between Victoria and Parksville that are experiencing outbreaks of either the flu or flu-like symptoms.

“The most unusual thing this year is that we have two types of influenza, A strain and B strain, that are happening at the same time,” said Dr. Paul Hasselback with Island Health. “We’re getting outbreaks caused by both of them.”

Island Health is still recommending people get vaccinated. It’s not too late. But they’re thinking the shot may not be as effective as initially hoped.

“What we are thinking at this time, and it’s not because of the vaccine but because of the virus itself, The A strain is going to provide some protection but not as much as we would like,” said Hasselback. “And the B strain is included in some of our vaccines and provides reasonably good protection but it’s not in all the vaccine that was used this year.”

It means more people are likely to get the flu this year.

Island Health is asking people with flu-like symptoms, fever, aches and pains, and cough, to stay away from hospitals and ideally stay home unless a visit to the doctor’s office is necessary.

And do your best to prevent others getting it.

“Most importantly, if you are going to cough or sneeze, do so into your sleeve or a tissue and make sure you’re washing your hands frequently,” said Hasselback. “It’s okay if you’re not feeling well to wear a mask. It’s the best protection for others.”

Island Health says the flu can be deadly for those that are most vulnerable so every outbreak is taken very seriously and this year is already proving to be a challenging one.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!