Flu cases starting to surge, with kids and teens especially vulnerable: doctors

Most cases occurred in people under age 65.

Ottawa, in contrast, was seeing a lower rate of influenza overall and among children than the national rates as of the end of the year (the most recent numbers). Previous year at this time, 91 people had died from the flu.

The hospital also encourages the public to get their flu shots as soon as possible.

Nearly half the cases in Ontario are the H1N1 strain which affects children, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada report.

This time past year, there was a strong flu strain, forcing hospital facilities to impose strict visiting restrictions which remained in place ever since.

The viruses circulating this year are another reason for the milder season.

Last season at that point, 11,275 cases of lab-confirmed flu had been reported.

Ontario got off to slower start to the season compared to Alberta, for instance, which began getting hit with the respiratory illness in late October, early November.

"We're really just now getting into our flu season", said Dr. Michelle Murti of Public Health Ontario, noting that the proportion of tests on people with respiratory bugs that came back positive for influenza had doubled to 16 per cent in the week ending December 29, compared to eight per cent the week before.

The virus has already claimed the lives of 13 children so far this flu season.

According to officials, there is high flu activity throughout the state so it's important for those who have not yet gotten a flu shot-especially health care workers-to get one.

A spokesperson for the HSE said that the best way to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine.

Dr Kelleher said that while most people will get better themselves from flu, anyone who was concerned about their condition should telephone their GP or an out-of-hours medical service so they could arrange to be treated in a way that did not put others at risk.

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