New Brunswick's higher total of flu cases caused by different testing standard


While COVID-19 is dominating the news, it's the seasonal flu that's actually on the ground around here right now.

While New Brunswick is reporting seven times the number of confirmed cases as Nova Scotia, those numbers might be a bit misleading, says Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Rob Strang.

"We’re starting to come down, but we’re still on the upper end of that downward slope," Strang said.

In Nova Scotia there have been 207 confirmed cases of both influenza A and B, with five of those being fatal.

New Brunswick's confirmed cases are seven times higher with a total of six fatalities reported.

The difference in numbers comes down to two different tracking systems.

In New Brunswick, any doctor can choose to send a sample to a lab, which generates a lot more tests than in Nova Scotia, and so, more positive results.

"We’re testing where it’s appropriate from a clinical perspective," said Strang. "So, when you have an outbreak you want to know exactly what you’re dealing with. When somebody is sick enough to be hospitalized you want to know exactly what you’re dealing with."

Strang says it's one way to ensure a lab -- busy at the best of times -- doesn't become tied up.

(With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore)