More than 15,000 people across Canada have caught the flu this season

Health officials say more cases of influenza B are being detected across Canada this flu season.  

British Columbia's provincial health officer, Doctor Perry Kendall, says the season usually begins in December with lots of cases of influenza A and later on, the B strain becomes more prevalent.  

But he says this year, the strains are being detected in fairly equal numbers early in the season, which could mean younger people will be affected earlier on, because they're more susceptible to the virus.   

The Public Health Agency of Canada says more than 15,000 confirmed cases of influenza had been reported by January 6th.    \

The agency says there have been 54 flu-related deaths across the country and hospitalizations are up considerably compared to the same period over the last two flu seasons.  

Kendall says it's difficult to predict how the rest of flu season will fare, but anyone who does catch a bug should take a sick day to help prevent others from falling ill.

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