Alberta records first flu death of season in Calgary

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One person has died in a Calgary-area hospital from influenza — the first such death in the province this season.

Influenza numbers Dec. 2016 graphic

Alberta Health Services has confirmed a person died sometime before Nov. 26 after being hospitalized with the flu. A spokesman would not confirm the hospital or the person’s age or gender due to privacy concerns.

The flu virus has struck Calgary particularly hard, with 245 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza A and three cases of influenza B. Eighty people have been admitted to hospital in Calgary with the flu since Aug. 28.

Those numbers far exceed anything seen elsewhere in the province.

The AHS south zone has recorded 44 lab-confirmed cases of flu A and B, central zone has 38, Edmonton zone has 28 and the north zone has 16.

The number of people hospitalized is also lower elsewhere in Alberta: 14 in the south zone, seven in the central zone, 12 in Edmonton and five in the north.

Calgary pharmacists are seeing a corresponding increase in the number of people wanting to get immunized.

“I’d say we’re up 25 per cent over last year,” said David Brewerton, pharmacist at Lukes Drug Mart in Bridgeland. “We’ve given over 300 shots so far” since Oct. 24 when pharmacies could begin administering the vaccine.

“We’re definitely hearing a lot more comments from people about the flu and getting immunized.”

Last year, Alberta recorded 5,311 cases of confirmed flu, with 1,698 hospitalizations and 62 flu-related deaths.

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