As pandemic eases, influenza cases emerge in Sudbury

A file photo of the influenza virus under a microscope.

After a COVID-19 induced pause, influenza A has returned to Greater Sudbury, the health unit said Monday.

The season’s first confirmed cases of influenza A virus have been reported within Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ service area, the health unit said in a news release.

It said the local cases align with the "sharp" increase in influenza cases detected across Canada in the last few weeks.

"Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned of the simple ways to protect ourselves from respiratory disease,” said Justeen Mansourian, a public health nurse, in a news release.

"These behaviours, such as staying home when ill, handwashing, masking, and getting vaccinated, protect us from influenza as well as COVID-19."

Residents can also get a flu vaccine at local pharmacies, their physician's office, or by appointment at the health unit.

“This year is unusual in that we are seeing a very late start to the influenza season, which, in Canada, typically runs from November to April," Mansourian said.

"Our first cases are usually reported in December or January with the season wrapping up in March or April. The late season influenza trend is occurring across Canada, with influenza activity spiking in April and approaching seasonal levels in some parts of the country."

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can cause fever, cough, muscle aches, and fatigue. Most people will recover from influenza infection within a week to 10 days, but some are at greater risk of developing more severe complications such as pneumonia.

Children can also have mild stomach upset due to influenza. The most common symptoms usually include fever, runny nose, and cough.

For more information on the influenza virus or influenza vaccination opportunities, visit the health unit's website or call 705-522-9200, or toll-free 1-866-522-9200.