Pictou County woman dies of flu

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Medical experts advising all to get vaccine

A 42-year-old Pictou County woman has died of the flu and also a 62-year-old man in Colchester County.


Flu vaccine

Dr. Ryan Sommers, Medical Officer of Health for Pictou, Colchester and Cumberland County DHAs said that in both those cases the people had underlying medical issues as well, but he is encouraging everyone to get the flu shot this season particularly with the H1N1 virus back in town.

He said since the pandemic of the H1N1 flu in 2009 the virus has returned to a certain extent each year and swab tests this week have confirmed it’s here now.

“The big difference with this type of flu strain is the age group it impacts,” he said. “It’s not like the traditional flu virus.”

Whereas the traditional flu tends to impact those over 65 and infants, the H1N1 flu tends to affect the younger population more.

Sommers said they believe that an H1N1 virus went through in the ’50s and ’60s which is why the older population tends to have more of an immunity to it.

The flu vaccine is given free and is available at doctor’s offices and at pharmacies. Sommers said they are expecting an increase demand as news of the severity of this flu spreads, but they’re hoping to be able to meet it.

“We’re trying to ensure the vaccine is fairly and equally distributed."

The province has a reserve stock of 10,900 doses of vaccine on hold with the manufacturer. Most will be shipped to Nova Scotia and distributed next week, while some will be shared with other provinces through the national vaccine supply working group.

"We are loaning 1,300 doses of vaccine to other provinces that have higher demand for flu shots, and the rest will come to Nova Scotia," said Dr. Frank Atherton, deputy chief public health officer. "We encourage Nova Scotians, especially middle-aged adults and children under 5, to make use of this supply of vaccine and get immunized."

Atherton made reference to the two deaths in Nova Scotia.

"Our thoughts are with the families of these patients," said Dr. Atherton. "Unfortunately, we do see influenza related deaths in Nova Scotia. That's why it's important for Nova Scotians to get a flu shot to protect themselves and others."

The flu shot is free for all Nova Scotians. It includes vaccination against H1N1, among other strains. It is available from family doctors, family practice nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and clinics offered by Public Health Services and some workplaces.

"We provided 435,000 doses of influenza vaccine this year, which is more than we've ever provided, and we've made it available through pharmacies as well as traditional places to increase the number of Nova Scotians who get immunized," said Atherton.

"Increased immunization, plus simple precautions like hand washing and coughing into your arm, help prevent the spread of the flu."

Regular updates on the flu season are posted every Wednesday on the Department of Health and Wellness website athttp://novascotia.ca/dhw/cdpc/respiratory-watch.asp . The updates show trends in flu activity across the province.


Check back for more.

Geographic location: Pictou County

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Recent comments

  • Ryan Langille
    January 10, 2014 - 20:49

    Isn't the jury still out on the benefits of having a flu shot. Personally I think introducing a virus into a population by the tens of thousands seems like a good way to spread the virus and make it grow immune. What's wrong with the ol' immune system mother nature provides us with? I will knock on wood after this but you couldn't pay me enough to get "vaccinated" .I'll let my immune system work the way it's supposed to .

  • No vaccines here
    January 10, 2014 - 15:01

    Note the "underlying medical conditions", the flu season is pretty much over, it's a "last call" money grab! 23% of albertians were vaccinated for the flu and 300 hospitalized (10 reported deaths) ...or pump your body with poison and hope for the best...I'll continue drinking my elderberry syrup and stay healthy thanks!

  • everett
    January 10, 2014 - 14:31

    lol, something is telling me that its the h5n1, and everyone is trying to stay quiet as usual, come on people we all know how the govt works.this is something they dont want people to know, for other reasons.