Why Australia's rough flu season could be bad news for Canada
Published Saturday, September 30, 2017 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 1, 2017 11:04AM EDT
A rough flu season in the Southern Hemisphere could be a warning sign of what’s in store for Canada in the next few months.
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Health officials in North America are bracing for a particularly miserable flu season because Australians faced a heavy burden of flu cases, which could prove as a predictor for what might happen in Canada.
In Australia, the 2017 flu season is possibly the biggest on record, with nearly three times the number of confirmed flu cases compared to 2016.
According to a report from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the flu is currently interseasonal, but several indicators show above expected levels compared to previous seasons.
Flu season in Canada typically runs from November to March.
In early September, the majority of influenza cases in Canada came from a virus known as H3N2. That virus is historically linked to heavier flu seasons and is known to be particularly hard on seniors.
"It is still too early to say whether it will be a predominantly H3N2 season, but if that is the case it tends to be a more severe flu type,” Dr. Theresa Tam, head of the Public Health Agency of Canada, told CTV News.
The H3N2 virus also showed up in Canada last year.
Some pharmacies and clinics are already giving vaccine shots, and officials say it might be a good idea to get one. Studies show that people who receive flu shots have a 40 to 60 per cent lower chance of getting seriously ill than those who are unvaccinated.
With a report from CTV's medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip