Influenza confirmed in the Sudbury & District Health Unit area

Advisory Alert

November 30, 2015

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I am writing to inform you that the Sudbury & District Health Unit has received the first laboratory confirmed case of influenza for the 2015/16 influenza season. Testing has confirmed that it is influenza A. This Advisory Alert signals the need for increased vigilance for influenza infection surveillance in patients presenting to you with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that all Canadians 6 months of age and older receive influenza vaccination. In addition, 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 Ontario Respiratory Pathogen Bulletin as of November 25, 2015 there have been 119 confirmed influenza cases reported in Ontario. Among these cases, 81.5% were influenza A. Of the 58 reported influenza A cases with subtype information available, 81.0% (47/58) were H3N2 and 19.0% (11/58) were (H1N1)pdm09. Influenza activity in week 46 was low, which is within expected levels for this time of year.

It is estimated that between 10 to 20% of the population becomes infected with influenza each year. Rates of influenza infection are highest in children aged 5 to 9 years, but rates of serious illness and death are highest in children aged < 2 years, older persons (˃65 years) and persons with underlying medical conditions. Influenza infection can lead to severe secondary medical complications.

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 are able to spread the virus to others as early as 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 or 10 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 Influenza and Other Respiratory Viral Testing Algorithm for Fall/Winter November 2015.

Please also consider the timely administration of antivirals (e.g. oseltamivir or zanamivir) to recommended patients presenting with influenza symptoms, regardless of immunization status in accordance with current AMMI guidelines available at: 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 September 9, 2016