Flu bug taking bite out of P.E.I.

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 4, 2013
Flu shot time

Like it is in much of the country, the flu bug is bugging plenty in Prince Edward Island.

Chief health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the province has 24 lab confirmed flu cases. That means there likely have been many more people bitten by the bug in P.E.I.

Almost all of the cases here, she notes, have been the Influenza A virus, which is consistent with what many other provinces have been seeing.

By mid-December, there were around 3,500 cases in the country, latest data from the Public Health Agency of Canada reported. There were only 182 cases at this time last year, health officials warned.

Morrison says a flu vaccine that is still available on P.E.I. covers the strain of the H3N2 virus. She encourages those who have yet to get the vaccine to do so, noting about two weeks is needed to mount an immunity following the flu shot. To learn more about influenza or to find out where to get a flu shot, visit www.gov.pe.ca/flu.

Morrison urges all Islanders to wash hands frequently, using warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Also, use an elbow to cover a cough or a sneeze and keep shared surfaces as clean as possible.

Morrison says P.E.I. has not experienced the apparent outbreak of E. coli 0157 that has surfaced in Nova Scotia. Health officials in that province are trying to determine the source of several cases of E. coli 0157 that have hospitalized two people and sickened five others.

Morrison says only one case has been detected on P.E.I. in the last couple weeks but adds the province continues to monitor the situation.

Symptoms of E. coli 0157 is similar to gastrointestinal illness but often comes with bloody diarrhea, severe cramps, abdominal pain and vomiting.

Morrison recommends seeking help from a health-care provider if some of these symptoms arise. She also urges good washing and cleaning of all raw vegetables and fruits as well as good, proper cooking of meats.