Fat bug hitting maritimes hard and early than vaccinations are lower



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The flu is taken in the maritimes as the new year begins.

It's worst in New Brunswick, where the number of cases confirmed is double that it was at this time last year and there are three deaths.

What is not increasing is the number of people getting a flu shot, despite the reappearance of a once-fearful flux of tension.

Any time is a good time to get sick and over the holidays it feels even worse.

This year, Flu Size really took off.

"It started earlier," said New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health JS. Russell. "So, those numbers that we see right now we would normally see at the end of January."

In New Brunswick, the number of cases is double what they were this time last year.

Between August and the end of December, 579 lab confirmed cases, 71 hospitalizations and three deaths.

The numbers are much lower in the rest of the maritimes.

In Nova Scotia, there are 32 confirmed cases, 20 hazards and no deaths

On Prince Edward Island, there are 20 cases, five hazards and no deaths.

The dominant tension is H1N1, if well known, it is about 10 years ago, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic after hundreds of thousands of dead are associated with the virus.

Before, the tension had not been seen in the decade, what was the lack of immunity.

And now, a decade later, public health officials say there should be no worry.

"H1N1 was the first time back in 2009, but it was part of our regular fly season since then," said Dr. Robert Strang, head of Nova Scotia's medical officer.

So adults have built a bit of immunity, but the children have not.

"The number of hospitalizations, most of them below the age of 65, and about 18 percent of them are 10 years or younger," said Russell.

But even if you've been immunized in 2009, that doesn't mean you shouldn't get this year's flu shot.

"It looks like this year it is definitely worth getting the flu vaccine," said Curtis Chafe, a pharmacist, and chair of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia.

All the indicators point to this year's vaccination as a good match. But in order to get the maximum benefit, 80 percent of the population should get the shot.

Right now, less than 50 percent of Nova Scotians have done that.

"It seems this year that hitting young children is especially difficult, as well as of age," Chafe said. "But, really, what we need to do is get each vaccinated as much as we can to help protect each other."

And one time before we wash our hands, make sure your dangers are clean, said Strung, who has emphasized the importance of thorough and frequent washing.

"If you are coughing or sneezing, do it in your sleeve," Strung said. "If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home."

You are especially vulnerable if you have a chronic condition.

Health Canada does not have the latest 2018 numbers up yet, but as of December 15, 22 people have died from the country-wide flu.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown.

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