Will Quebec experience a higher than usual number of influenza cases again this year?

From December 2017 to February 2018, across all types of healthcare facilities in Quebec, the number of Influenza cases was much higher than anticipated. While the number of cases were high all across Canada, Quebec seems to have experienced the greatest number of flu cases. In Canada, in the week from Feb. 4 – Feb. 10, the overall percentage of positive tests for the flu went from 31% to 34%!

Source: PxHere

Influenza A and influenza B were the two types of flu viruses in circulation in Quebec. For A, the most common flu type in Quebec was A(H3N2), which made up about 95% of flu cases. As for B, the virus B/Phuket was the dominant one. While there were reported cases of both influenza A and B, the more shocking of the two was the elevated numbers of influenza B, which usually only starts to see an increase in cases during the month of March. This increase in B during the months of December to February is primarily responsible for the higher numbers of flu cases.

The former Quebec Minister of Health and Social services stresses that the number of flu cases are still very high. It is recommended by the government that people get the flu vaccine, especially if they have a weakened immune system.

In addition to this, we’d like to offer you some further advice on how to prevent the flu:

  1. Frequently wash your hands with an antibacterial soap.
  2. If you do not have soap or water, use an antibacterial wipe to clean your hands.
  3. Disinfect high-touch surfaces with a disinfectant.
  4. Finally, avoid touching your face if possible; apparently we touch our faces about 5000 times per day, which is not only gross, but can make us sick!

Source: http://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/document-001973/ (Volume 8, numéro 3).

Towards a universal vaccine against flu

Influenza is a stubborn virus. Moreover, every year, the virus is changing and it’s another race against time to produce a new vaccine, often composed of several strains, which will be able to protect the most vulnerable population such as young children, the elderly and sick people.

inlfuenza

AN ENCOURAGING RESEARCH on INFLUENZA

According to the article by Radio-Canada:

At Laval University, Gary Kobinger’s team is testing a new influenza vaccine, which could provide better protection and long-term immunization. The formula incorporates much of the circulating influenza strains over the last 20 years.

A first clinical trial to test the safety of the vaccine ended a few months ago. According to the researchers, it shows that the product does not cause significant side effects.

The effectiveness of vaccines against influenza (the flu) is also limited especially when we guess wrong the strain that will be the most virulent that year!

THE IMPORTANCE OF HAND WASH

We are all at one point exposed to the flu virus. A good way of individual prevention is to put on your hat on and tie your coat. I am joking. On the other hand, regular hand washing before meals, after the toilet and even just when arriving at work or at home is really an effective way against the spread of the virus.

Regular hand soaps like Utopia or antibacterial soap like Utopia AB do the trick.

Did you know that our soaps do not contain any: methyisothiazolinone?

THE IMPORTANCE OF SURFACE DISINFECTION

Cleaning worker also plays a very important role in the winter period when it comes to disinfecting surfaces. Specialty products such as the Ali-Flex line of product offers many benefits:

 

DOWNLOAD MY FREE TRAINING ON INFLUENZA EPIDEMICS

I can give it in person at your workplace. Contact me glanthier@lalema.com

Source: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1065664/vaccin-universel-grippe-influenza-guerir-personnes-agees-annee-h1n1-une-fois

A brief history of the Influenza

Emergency_hospital_during_Influenza_epidemic_Camp_Funston_Kansas_-_NCP_1603

Historical picture of the 1918 Spanish flu at Camp Funston, Kansas, showing the many ill patients. Source: WikiCommon

 

I would like to talk to you about the Influenza. My mother always told me: “Son, a small flu lasts a week and a big one lasts 7 days.” and she was right. Influenza is a respiratory infection that also spreads very easily. It is caused by the influenza virus.

The origin of the flu

Influenza hit human beings in China as early as around -2500 B.C. With birds, the virus goes back more than 8000 years ago.

Hippocrates had clearly described Influenza

In -2400, the writings of Hippocrates clearly describe the symptoms of the flu. And since then, history is full of influenza pandemics description. However, before 1850, the data are sometimes difficult to analyze because the symptoms of flu are similar to other diseases such as diphtheria, bubonic plague, typhoid fever and others.

Major known influenza pandemics

Major known flu pandemics
Pandemic Date Death Subtype involved Severity Index
Asian Flu (Russia) 1889–1890 1 million H2N2 ? ?
Spanish Flu 1918–1920 30 à 100 millions H1N1 5
Asian Flu 1957–1958 1 à 1,5 millions H2N2 2
Hong Kong Flu 1968–1969 0,75 à 1 million H3N2 2
A (H1N1) Flu 2009–2010 18 138 H1N1

Discovery of the virus

It was long thought that influenza was caused by bacteria. In 1931, the virus was identified in pigs and two years later, in 1933, humans from levy on the throat of a researcher contaminated with the flu.

Discovery of the vaccine

In 1935, we managed to “grow” the virus in embryonated chicken eggs. The first clinical trials between 1936 and 1938 are inconclusive. In 1944, with support from the US Army, we obtained the first effective vaccine based on influenza virus. Research has continued since.

The vaccine in Quebec for 2014-2015 is available since November

The injectable vaccine against influenza 2014-2015 offered in the program framework contains the following three strains:

  • A / California / 7/2009 (H1N1)
  • A / Texas / 50/2012 (H3N2)
  • B / Massachusetts / 2/2012
  • The intranasal vaccine contains four strains or B / Brisbane / 60/2008 in addition to the same three strains contained in the vaccine injection.

Even if you have been vaccinated against the flu last year, you still need to receive it this year. Indeed, antibody levels fall about 6 months after vaccination against influenza, particularly in people whose immune system is weakened.

The index of influenza activity in Quebec for the week of 7 to 13 December 2014 (CDC 14-50) is HIGH tends UPWARD.

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Preventive measure against the flu

If we can not escape it, there is still prevention methods:

  • It maintains a proper hygiene program (particularly hand washing).
  • It is vaccinated.
  • This ensures clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.

For more info on how to fight a flu epidemic (or pandemic if it degenerates there), see this presentation (in french):

sources:
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grippe
http://www.msss.gouv.qc.ca/sujets/prob_sante/influenza/index.php?accueil