Flu making rounds in the Shuswap

It may seem like many Shuswap residents are falling foul of the flu, but the numbers say otherwise.

It may seem like many Shuswap residents are falling foul of the flu, but the numbers say otherwise.

Kamran Golmohammadi, an Interior Health medical health officer and preventive medicine specialist, says the number of lab-confirmed cases of influenza up to Feb. 6 was 44, down from 283 for the same time frame last year.

“Every year we have an increased number of both influenza and respiratory illnesses in December and January,” says Golmohammadi, noting only people whose symptoms are bad enough to seek medical attention are tested, and then only if their physician orders testing. “We have significantly improved from last year, which was not a good year.”

But could the current situation be the start of something big?

Golmohammadi says the possibility exists as the number of confirmed cases last week, which was 12, is “fairly similar” to last year’s total of 17.

As well, he says there are traditionally two influenza and respiratory illness peaks, with the second one coming in March and April.

“We have not seen all of the cases yet, but so far, it is certainly better than last year,” Golmohammadi says. “We have surveillance on outbreaks and communicable diseases and we will continue monitoring.”