A flu virus on the Coast is expected to make its way to the Interior.
Dr. Trevor Corneil of the Interior Health Authority said AH3N2 “is in B.C. and it’s going to be here, there’s no doubt about it.”
The virus, which Corneil said has been recorded often in past years, was anticipated and is included in the flu vaccinations now available.
“The unique thing about this virus is adults will have more severe illness and we have concern for the elderly and immuno-compromised,” he said.
Corneil said the flu season has started later.
It normally runs from October to the end of March, but instances of influenza weren’t recorded until early December.
He said he expects the flu to spread throughout the province.
“People have been getting together [for the holidays] and been travelling, so it’s bound to pick up in coming weeks and months.”
In fact, the last week of December set a new 10-year low for influenza-like illnesses in the province, Corneil said.
Despite that, he said, people at risk should ensure they have the vaccination, which is available from general physicians, at the Kamloops Public Health Unit on Jan. 4 for families with children (by appointment only) and at People’s Pharmacy at 275 Lansdowne St. until April 30, according to the provincial government’s flu-clinic listings at health.gov.bc.ca/flu/#anchor.
AH3N2 is the only flu virus that has been recorded in the province so far.
Along with it, the most-recent flu shots carried immunizations against two other strains.
The World Health Organization decides every February or March what strains are expected to be seen around the world during the next winter and decides then on the contents of flu vaccinations.
Most years, Corneil said, the organization is correct and the shots contain the right contents to battle flu viruses that arrive.
On average, about 150,000 of the 700,000 people who live in the area covered by the Interior Health Authority get flu shots, Corneil said.