Three respiratory diseases in Alberta show no signs of abating, and there are fears a more dramatic surge could occur as people begin to flock together during the holiday season.
As flu, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19 continue to overwhelm state children’s hospitals, health officials warn the worst may be yet to come.
Craig Genne, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Calgary, said:
“Judging from the patterns we have seen in eastern Canada, it is unlikely that there will be a significant drop in virus transmission before the holiday season, and if people continue to gather in large groups and events, such as not wearing masks indoors, , , which further facilitates the spread of the virus.”
Data released by Public Health Canada Shaw, in the week ending 12 November, influenza activity was “widespread” in Alberta, higher than any other province or territory reporting data at the time.
1/3 Respiratory Virus Update 🇨🇦: Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity is above expected levels for this time of year.At the national level, the positive test rate is #RSV It’s close to 8%, almost 8%. #influenza at 16%. https://t.co/XcSGV5Nksv
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Teresa Tam, tweeted this week that RSV and influenza are hitting children especially.
“Detecting influenza in children [and] Teenagers are extraordinarily high,” Tam said. [and] admission. “
The current concern for medical professionals is timing.
“If this doesn’t start to plateau or slow down before we get into these holiday seasons with more social activity, we’ve found that the holidays usually cause post-holiday spikes in the winter before COVID. And we need to be aware that we have the capacity to deal with … we need to deal with all three of these respiratory infections,” Jenne said.
Intensive care units at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary and Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton are operating at nearly 100 percent normal capacity, according to Alberta Health Services.
“Alberta continues to see an early and sharp increase in flu activity, with 355 flu hospitalizations since late August … of these hospitalizations, 98 were children under the age of 9.” spokesperson Kelly Williamson said in a statement. Provided to CBC News.
letter to parents
Health officials stepped up messaging efforts with no prospect of reprieve.
In a letter sent through the school board on Wednesday, Alberta’s new interim chief medical officer, Dr. Mark Joffe, warned parents of a serious surge in respiratory viruses. The letter was also signed by AHS Senior Medical Officer Dr. Laura McDougal.
“Over the past few weeks, we have seen a significant increase in cough and fever-like illnesses at our school.
“This flu season has never been more severe and we are concerned that the disease will continue to disrupt schools, sports and upcoming holiday gatherings.”
Doctors say Australia, a potential predictor of Canada’s flu season, has a severe respiratory virus season, with children under 16 accounting for the majority of flu hospitalizations in the country. Did.
“Although most children who get the flu recover without complications, some children may become very ill and require hospital care. A common strain of influenza, H3N2, is known to cause more serious illness in young children and the elderly, and the flu vaccines in use this season offer protection against the H3N2 virus.”
Joffe and McDougall cited masking as another important preventative measure parents can take.
“Especially in crowded indoor environments, it is recommended to use a good quality mask that fits well. Wearing a mask helps reduce the risk of getting sick and protects others from exposure. Individuals should be supported whether they wear a mask or not.”
Dr. Jia Hu, a Calgary-based public health physician, expects the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.
“People can take a step…that will dull the peak of these things,” he said.
“We don’t have a vaccine for RSV, but fair enough. But we do have vaccines for flu and COVID. So make sure you get one. If you want some [or] It’s okay to wear a mask indoors in public,” he said.
Hu pointed out that flu vaccination coverage is low and that COVID vaccination coverage, especially among young children, is also lagging.
When it comes to gatherings, Fu’s key message is to stay home if you’re not feeling well.
“I definitely want people to take those steps. In my opinion, they’re kind of easy steps.”