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Canada - Many confused by difference between flu and 'stomach flu'

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  • Canada - Many confused by difference between flu and 'stomach flu'

    Many confused by difference between flu and 'stomach flu' Staff
    Published Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 9:10AM EST
    Last Updated Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 9:50AM EST

    But as the virus circulates, so too does the confusion about what is really flu, and what is what we all like to call "stomach flu."

    In fact, there’s really no such thing as "stomach flu." Flu, or influenza, is an illness that affects the respiratory system, not the stomach. Infectious diseases expert Dr. Neil Rau says it just so happens that while we’re grappling with a flu outbreak, the country also has an outbreak of gastrointestinal infections called norovirus.
    As for the current flu outbreak, Rau believes the worst of it is finally starting to come to an end.

    "We’re probably at the height of it in most of Canada and past the height in many places," he said. "It doesn’t mean there’s no virus circulating; we’re just seeing fewer and fewer cases."

    Rau points out that flu is not the only respiratory bug that circulates in the winter, so not everyone who comes down with flu symptoms actually has influenza.

    "For every person who has a flu-like illness, only one of three at the height of flu season actually has the flu," he says.

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