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Flu virus on rise in Beaufort Delta, warns public health


Public Health Officials are warning people in the Beaufort Delta region that influenza cases are on the rise.

Inuvik’s first case of Influenza B of the year was Jan. 4. Since then, communities throughout the region has seen an uptick in both the flu and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV.)

“The NWT typically experiences two waves of influenza in the respiratory season,” said Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Kami Kandola.on Feb. 23. “Influenza A tends to circulate from fall to winter and influenza B from winter to spring.

“Previously, the NWT experienced alarge-scale influenza A outbreak in December 2023.”

Wind said in the last week, 15 of the 17 new flu cases were from the Beaufort Delta, and the majority of RSV cases have been in the area as well.

With March spring break approaching and the region’s biggest tournament already underway this weekend, Kandola said cases are expected to rise with the influx of travelers and visitors.

“Vaccination and staying home if you are sick are the best measures to prevent spread of disease,” she added. “It is important that the public be up to date on their vaccines. This includes flu vaccine and other vaccines that may protect against viruses and bacteria spread through the air, such as measles and meningitis.”It is especially important to consider influenza vaccination if you are planning to travel over the spring break. Students returning home from post-secondary institutions should get vaccinated before they travel. It takes approximately 14 days after vaccination to be protected against influenza. Stay home if you are sick. Follow general respiratory best practices such as covering coughs or sneezes, washing hands frequently and not attending public events, work or school if you are ill.”

Anyone who wishes to book a flu vaccination can call their Public Health Office to set up an appointment. People who require two flu vaccines should get their second. People who had the flu in the fall are also advised to get vaccinated, as Kandola said this would provide additional protection from the virus.

People at the highest risk of complications or hospitalization from influenza include:

• Children 6 months – 59 months of age.

• Adults 65 years of age and older.

• Pregnant individuals.

• People of any age who are residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.

• People residing in small, rural, isolated communities with limited access to health care services.

Adults and children with the following health conditions:

• Chronic heart, lung, or kidney disease.

• Diabetes.

• Cancer or any other condition and/or medication that weakens the immune system.

• Extremely overweight.

• Anemia.

• Neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions that increase risk in children (6 months to 18 years of age) on long-term aspirin therapy.