Worst Flu Season in Recent History
The province, including Quebec, is struggling to get rid of influenza
Friday, 24 March 2017 20:20
UPDATE Friday, 24 March 2017 20:25
Quebec is hit hard by the worst flu season in recent history, according to Dr. Guy Boivin, a microbiologist and infectious disease researcher at the Quebec university hospital.
"From memory, this is the first time I've seen a long flu season with two major spikes," says Dr. Guy Boivin.
Thus, since December, the AH3N2 influenza epidemic has occurred in the province and has affected all regions.
After reaching a peak in late December, the virus, rather than running out of steam, gained strength, reaching a second peak in February. Influenza still strikes several regions, including Quebec, which is rather "unusual," according to the expert.
"Normally, when influenza strikes a region or province, it runs for about eight to ten weeks. There is a climb at the beginning, it reaches a peak and then there is a descent. This year, it's been a lot more than 14 weeks that we see influenza circulating with two peaks. This is particular, "said the microbiologist and infectiologist who is ill-informed about this phenomenon.
"I have no clear explanation for this at this time and I have not seen it yet in the literature," he said, adding that scientists will have to study the issue in the coming months. "The AH3N2, we still see it, but this year it is almost exclusive and it's the most problematic."
Speaking of influenza AH3N2 is a particularly "severe" strain that causes many complications such as pneumonia, according to Dr. Boivin, so more hospitalizations and deaths. It is the same strain responsible for a major epidemic two years ago, which had reduced the effectiveness of the vaccine to 0%.
"The mid-season data we have now show that the vaccine is 42% effective," he said.
The influenza season usually ends at the end of April.