Influenza updates including testing availability in the Public Health Sudbury & Districts area
December 27, 2018
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To community health care providers:
We are providing an update on the current influenza season. Increased vigilance is warranted for influenza infection in your patients presenting with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection.
As of December 8, 2018, 501 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases have been reported in Ontario. Among these cases, 92.2% (462/501) were influenza A, and of those with subtype information available (135), 41.5% were H3N2 and 58.5% were H1N1 pdm09. Most influenza A or B detections occurred in the 65+ age group. Public Health Sudbury & Districts has yet to receive its first confirmed influenza case.
We are reminding providers that testing for influenza will only be available for in-patients in hospitals/institutions, and in the context of institutional respiratory outbreaks. This is outlined in the November 2018 Respiratory Virus Testing Algorithm Labstract from Public Health Ontario (available at https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/ServicesAndTools/LaboratoryServices/Pages/default.aspx).
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is also reminding health care providers to offer immunization to patients as an effective means of preventing influenza and its complications.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that all Canadians six months of age and older receive the influenza vaccine. 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 individuals. We also remind health care professionals to be immunized to protect themselves and their patients.
Please also consider the timely administration of antivirals (e.g. oseltamivir or zanamivir), where indicated, in accordance with current guidelines from the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada (available at https://www.ammi.ca/Content/Guidelines/Flu%20%28published%20version%29%20FINAL.pdf). Laboratory confirmation of influenza is not required prior to administration.
Should you have any questions, please contact our immunization program at 705.522.9200, ext. 301.
Ariella Zbar, MD, CCFP, MPH, MBA, FRCPC
Associate Medical Officer of Health and Director, Clinical Services
This item was last modified on December 27, 2018