Canada is seeing an early rise in flu cases. Is a ‘tidal wave’ of infection coming? – CBC

Season starting earlier than usual as virus spreads alongside COVID-19, RSV

Nov 11, 2022

Canada is on track to face its first full flu season in several years — one that’s starting earlier than usual, all while the country’s healthcare system is already grappling with respiratory infections like COVID-19 and RSV.

It’s hard to know how the months ahead will play out, including what level of strain serious influenza infections will put on overrun hospitals, and how this year’s slate of viruses will interact now that SARS-CoV-2 is firmly in the mix.

But what’s clear is there’s already a sharp rise in recent infections, and a “tidal wave” of cases is likely on the way, said Dr. Sameer Elsayed, an infectious diseases physician and medical microbiologist in London, Ont., and a professor with Western University.

“We’re going to have a big influenza season, I expect, this year.”

At the national level, influenza activity has been “increasing steeply” and crossed the seasonal threshold of five per cent of samples coming back positive by late October. Should those trends hold, the federal government will be declaring the start of an influenza epidemic in Canada in its next update, scheduled for Nov. 14.

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