Canadian hospitals face Swine Flu nightmare, 1,324 admitted
OTTAWA – Hospitalizations and deaths soared significantly in a one-week period between Nov. 1 and Nov. 7 with 1,324 people admitted to hospitals across Canada and a four-fold increase in fatalities compared to the previous week, the Public Health Agency of Canada, PHAC, reports in its weekly bulletin.
Included in the national total for this reporting period are 198 children who were admitted. One child died during this period to take the national total of pediatric death since April to five for children under 16.
“In week 44, 198 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated paediatric hospitalizations and 1 death were reported through the Immunization Monitoring Program Active (IMPACT) network,” said PHAC.
“ The new death was a male aged between 5 and 9 years of age with underlying medical conditions,” said the latest report. “861 (child) hospitalizations had been reported since week 17 (April 26); 96.3% of these hospitalizations were due to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009.”
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, five deaths due to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 had been reported through the IMPACT network among children under 16 years of age,” it said.
The World Health Organization said visits to sentinel doctors in North America for flu like illness has surpassed the levels seen in the past six flu seasons.
Since April, a total of 3,764 people had been admitted to hospitals in Canada with 606 patients taken to intensive care units. PHAC reports that the vast majority of admission to hospitals were during the period Nov. 1 to Nov. 7.
Data expected to be reported for the current week is likely to contain far higher admissions and deaths as hospitals continue to report over-capacity patient load and emergency visits.
“The intensity of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in the population was high with 1,324 hospitalizations and 35 deaths reported this week,” Ottawa said but the total deats since then have mounted to 161 with 24 dead in Ontario reported between Nov. 10 and Nov. 12.
“Nationally, there was a considerable increase in the influenza activity level reported this week with a proportion of positive influenza tests of more than 38%, the national ILI (influenza like illness) consultation rate of almost 100 per 1,000 patient visits, 25 regions reporting widespread activity and over 750 influenza outbreaks reported,” said PHAC. “This increased activity occurred in almost all provinces and territories.”
Children and youths had the highest doctor consultations across the country.
“People under 20 years of age had the highest consultations rates, with 153 and 226 per 1,000 patient visits among children under 5 years of age and among those 5 and 19 years of age, respectively,” said the report.
The World Health Organization issued a global status report:
North America: “Intense and persistent influenza transmission continued to be reported in North America. The proportion of sentinel physician visits due to influenza-like-illness (ILI) (8%) has exceeded levels seen over the past 6 influenza seasons; 42% of respiratory samples tested were positive for influenza and 100% of subtyped influenza A viruses were Pandemic (H1N1) 2009.”
Ukraine: “On 5 November, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health reported 633,877 cases of acute respiratory illness and 95 deaths related to acute respiratory illness, which represents a significant increase compared to the previous day (+32% for the number of cases and +10% for the number of deaths). Preliminary reports indicated that the rapidly evolving situation in the country was mainly related to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009.”
United Kingdom: “Pandemic influenza activity is variable across the UK. The weekly influenza/ILI consultation rates decreased, though remained above the winter baseline thresholds, in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There were a total of 1,431 new patients hospitalized in England with suspected Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in the week from 29 October to 4 November (increased from 1,200 in the previous week).”
Asia: “Central and Western Asia are experiencing an unusually early start to winter influenza season. In China, after an earlier wave of mixed influenza activity with seasonal H3N2, Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 activity predominated and was increasing. In Japan, sharp increases in Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 activity continue to be reported.”
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