First Case of Confirmed Influenza Reported in the Sudbury & District Health Unit Area
November 23, 2016
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Please be advised that the Sudbury & District Health Unit has received the first laboratory confirmed case of influenza A for the 2016/17 influenza season. This advisory alert serves as a signal for increased vigilance for surveillance of influenza infection in patients presenting to you with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection and also as a reminder to offer immunization to your patients.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that all Canadians 6 months of age and older receive the influenza vaccine. It is particularly important for health care professionals to be immunized to protect themselves and their patients. Please continue to offer influenza vaccine to eligible persons who have not yet received an influenza vaccine this season.
As per the most recent 2016/17 Ontario Respiratory Pathogen Bulletin (PDF) published by Public Health Ontario, as of November 12, 2016, there have been 127 confirmed influenza cases reported in Ontario. Among these cases, 88.2% (112/127) were influenza A. Of the 70 reported influenza A cases with subtype information available, 97.1% (68/70) were H3N2 and 2.9% (2/70) were (H1N1) pdm09. Influenza activity in week 44 was low, which is within expected levels for this time of year.
Influenza occurs globally with an annual attack rate estimated at 5%–10% in adults and 20%–30% in children and is ranked among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada1. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications1. The people at greatest risk of influenza-related complications are adults and children with underlying health conditions, residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, people 65 years of age and older, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women, and Indigenous individuals1.
Influenza virus is primarily transmitted by droplets spread through coughing and sneezing, and may also be transmitted through direct or indirect contact with fomites contaminated with infected respiratory secretions. The incubation period is usually two days, but can range from one to four days. Adults may be able to spread the virus to others from one day before symptom onset to approximately five days after symptoms start. Children and people with weakened immune systems may be infectious for longer.
Symptoms typically include the sudden onset of high fever, cough and muscle aches. Other common symptoms include headache, chills, loss of appetite, fatigue and sore throat. Most people will recover within a week to ten days, but this period may be prolonged in individuals with chronic health conditions and other risk factors.
Information regarding laboratory testing for influenza is available through the Public Health Ontario Respiratory Viral Testing Algorithm and Enhanced Surveillance Update, November 2016, available at:
Please also consider the timely administration of antivirals (e.g. oseltamivir or zanamivir) to recommended recipients presenting with influenza symptoms, regardless of immunization status in accordance with current AMMI guidelines available at: http://www.ammi.ca. Laboratory confirmation of influenza in these individuals is not required prior to administering antiviral medication.
Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, both suspected and confirmed cases of influenza must be reported to the Medical Officer of Health.
Should you have any further questions, please contact the Sudbury & District Health Unit at 705.522.9200, ext. 301.
This item was last modified on November 23, 2016