Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)

After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

There have been 30,000 tests for the influenza virus completed in B.C. up to the first week of January, with no cases of infection from community transmission, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reports.

Last winter at this time there were 19 influenza outbreaks reported in B.C. long-term care facilities, where the seasonal respiratory virus can be fatal. This year there are no reported cases in care homes, many of which have dealt instead with COVID-19 infections. Tests for influenza have accompanied COVID-19 tests as health care staff strive to protect vulnerable elderly people.

In its latest influenza surveillance bulletin, the BCCDC says testing up to Jan. 9 has had seven positive results in 30,000 tests, showing 12 different strains of seasonal influenza. But each of the seven people had received the live attenuated influenza vaccine, “suggesting vaccine-type rather than wild-type virus.”

“Overall, there remains no indication of influenza virus circulation in B.C.,” the BCCDC report says. “Elsewhere in the northern hemisphere, influenza virus detection remains exceptionally low.”

The B.C. government secured an extra 450,000 influenza vaccine doses this fall as part of its preparations for COVID-19, bringing the total to two million doses. Influenza typically drives an increase in hospital admissions each fall and winter, peaking at about 15 per cent of hospital admissions by February.

Before Christmas, Health Minister Adrian Dix said demand for the influenza vaccine was exceptionally high, with a million doses delivered. In November, there were reports of clinics and pharmacies in B.C. running short as their available supplies were dispensed at no charge.

RELATED: B.C. starts ‘hospital at home’ program in Victoria

RELATED: More vaccine arrives as B.C. battles remote COVID-19


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC CDC graphic showing weekly numbers of new cases by local health area.
Local health area records 11 new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 21 to 27

The Northwest has become the COVID hotspot in the province

The Smithers recycling depot was destroyed by fire May 9, 2019. (Thom Barker photo)
Curbside recycling pickup returns to Smithers

The Town will start collecting single stream, loose and clean residential recyclables April 12

Adam's Igloo sustained serious damage when the roof collapsed. (Facebook photo)
Roof collapses on Smithers landmark

Cleanup efforts underway at Adams Igloo and Wildlife Museum

Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob (right) speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7, 2020. Bob is a recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Northwest artist Dempsey Bob wins national art award

Renowned Tahltan-Tlingit master carver one of eight people to receive Governor General’s Arts Award

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read