The flu season in Australia has started wildly. Is it a ‘precursor’ to Canada? – National

Influenza activity in Canada is slowing after an unusual late-spring surge in the respiratory virus that saw little spread during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around this time of year, flu cases in Canada are usually on a steady decline after the fall and winter seasons, but a resurgence in early April, when several COVID-19 measures were lifted, created an anomaly in that trend.

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As COVID-19 starts to subside, more Canadians are getting sick with the flu

Influenza cases have been low since the start of COVID-19 in 2020, but with the pandemic waning in certain parts of the world, other respiratory viruses are starting to re-emerge and Canadians should be prepared, especially considering what is happening in the world. Australia.

“The number of (flu) cases is higher than the five-year average for this type of time of year. … So they are seeing some cases of flu-like illness and confirmed flu,” said Dr. Susy Hota, an infectious disease specialist at the University Health Network in Toronto.

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“It’s a precursor to what we could face.”

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Coronavirus prevention has crushed the flu season in Australia. Can Canada expect the same?

The flu season in Australia, which typically runs from May to October, has long been scrutinized by Canadian health experts in preparation for the flu season here, which usually starts between late October and early January.

In Australia, flu cases have increased since the beginning of March and have exploded in recent weeks.

Between 9 and 22 May, there were 26,193 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in Australia, which is more than three times the previous reporting period between 25 April and 8 May, the government said in its latest report. The country has reported 38,743 cases so far this year.

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In Queensland, the regional government has released flu shots, with cases doubling every week in the area.

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“We expect cases to peak in August during a normal flu season, however statewide flu reports have doubled each week and continue to rise sharply with 4,230 new cases last week,” the minister said. Queensland Health Yvette D’Ath in May. 31 press release.

“The current trend in the data indicates that we can overcome the spikes experienced in the 2017 and 2019 flu seasons, but also that we can reach those numbers much earlier this season.”

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Almost no Canadians caught the flu in the past year. What can we expect this fall?

When flu cases in Canada began to rise in the spring, COVID-19 measures designed to protect the community from the new virus began to increase across the country as levels of the disease began to decline.

These measures have helped protect against other respiratory infections, such as the flu, which has been almost non-existent in Canada since the start of the pandemic, experts said.

So far this reporting season, which Ottawa indicates as starting Aug. 29, Canada has reported 12,693 flu cases as of May 28, it said in its June 3 report. On average, the country sees 46,539 cases recorded at this time of year.

When Global News reported on the spread of the flu in early May, Canada had reported 1,842 flu cases so far.

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Ottawa recorded 69 flu detections in the 2020-21 flu season. Typically, around 52,000 cases are detected each year.

In addition to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, part of the reason Canadians have seen an increase in flu cases has been due to an increase in testing, said Dr. Gerald Evans, an infectious disease specialist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

A total of 16,031 tests for influenza were performed in Canada between May 22 and May 28, the government said in its June 3 report, above the pre-pandemic weekly average of 3,197 tests.

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Doctors warn flu season could return in full force – October 14, 2021

Australia is doing more flu testing this season as well with COVID-19 circulating alongside other respiratory illnesses, Evans said.

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“When spring comes around, typically any other year, the number of flu tests we do is actually a lot less than what we were doing before flu season and during the initial period (of the season),” he said. told Global News.

“What was happening this year is that we were still doing a lot of COVID testing, but… a lot of that involved testing for influenza, so the outcome of which we were doing a lot more testing this spring, which allowed us to see these influenza cases like they did. appeared.”

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COVID-19 will be with us for a ‘foreseeable future’, says PHAC, warning of future waves

With an expected resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, it’s important for Canadians to keep up to date with their vaccines, as well as practice protections like masks and good hygiene designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Hota and Evans said.

“This summer we will probably go by without it being a big issue with the flu and hopefully COVID unless something really changes in terms of different variants, but both of those things are still active and we have to be aware of what could happen. when we hit the cooler seasons,” said Hota.

“If you are using measures to prevent COVID-19, they are likely to be effective against the flu,” Evans said.

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“If people can use these methods, even if they’re not mandatory, it will really help us keep the flu numbers down.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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