Province encourages Manitobans to get flu shot


Manitoba Health reports the flu is here with an earlier start to the influenza season and a higher number of laboratory-confirmed cases compared to previous years.

The number of reported laboratory-confirmed cases continues to increase rapidly and has likely not peaked. To protect families from contracting the flu, Manitoba Health is encouraging all Manitobans to get the flu shot. The province has an adequate supply of regular flu season vaccines Fluviral or Agriflu and they cover the most common flu viruses.

To be protected, health experts advise people to cover their cough, wash their hands and avoid contact with others if they think they have the flu.  Influenza is generally spread by infected individuals sneezing and coughing and direct physical contact.  Symptoms may include fever and chills, cough, headaches, muscle aches, runny nose, sore throat and exhaustion.  Anyone experiencing symptoms should see their doctor or visit a walk-in clinic, ACCESS Centre, QuickCare clinic or local health clinic for assessment and treatment.

People in close contact with individuals at increased risk for influenza-related complications, such as health-care workers, first responders and home-based contacts or caregivers, are also a focus for influenza immunization.  

For the week of Dec. 23 to 29, there were 21 cases of influenza A and two cases of influenza B reported.  In addition to influenza, Manitobans are experiencing a high rate of respiratory syncytial virus, creating an overall high prevalence of respiratory illnesses.

Meanwhile, Health Canada is working with Roche Canada and the provincial and territorial health authorities to address a potential temporary shortage of the antiviral flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

Tamiflu is being released from national stockpile to meet requirements due to increased use this season.  Manitoba has an adequate supply.  Tamiflu is an antiviral given to individuals ill with flu or who may come into contact with other people who have confirmed cases of flu in facilities. 

Manitoba news release