Flu grips Toronto in shadow of coronavirus scare


As public health officials in Canada across the world scramble to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, cases of influenza are piling up in Toronto.

Public Health authorities at city hall say there are more than 2,300 confirmed cases of influenza in Toronto, as the flu season passes its half-way point.

Officials point out that the true number of people with the flu is almost certainly much higher, as reported cases tend to be the ones that are most serious.

Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto's Associate Medical Officer of Health, says the number of recorded cases so far this season is significantly higher than the 5-year average -- roughly 1,400 confirmed cases over the same timeframe.

It represents an increase of almost 40 per cent.

"We're seeing more flu than we have in the previous 5 years," Dr. Dubey says.

"It may mean that we're having more flu overall this season or it could be that the flu has come early and we are seeing it earlier (than normal) but we won't know until the end of the season, which is around early spring."

She adds that its possible the number of reported cases will taper off in the last half of the flu season, aligning with the recent trend.

Toronto Public Health recommends regular hand-washing to protect yourself influenza.

Dr. Dubey notes that the flu vaccine is still available and is effective at protecting you from the flu, even this late in the season.

Across Canada, about 1,000 people have been hospitalized with influenza.

26 people have died.