A outbreak of influenza B in Saskatchewan this flu season has caught those in the medical field by surprise.
Saskatchewan’s Deputy Medical Health Officer Denise Werker said during this flu season, 37% of lab confirmations have been affirmed to be influenza B strains. That’s in comparison to last year at this time, when just 1% of lab tests came back confirmed positive for influenza.
She noted that just might explain why this year, there’s been over 2400 people in Saskatchewan with lab confirmed cases of the flu.
“Why do we have so many cases this year as compared to last year? Well, that is mostly due to the amount of Influenza B that is circulating,” she said. “If I take off 900 cases from this total, we would be at about the same number as the same time last year.”
Werker stated that while the B strain of the Influenza is still circulating, the flu shot for the varying strains of flu was rather hit and miss.
“We know that for the Influenza A, the H3N2, which is the predominant strain that we’ve seen is now decreasing,” she said. “The vaccine was not very effective for the Influenza A strain that was circulating.”
“But the vaccine is fairly good for the Influenza B strain.”
Seeing as flu season is coming to an end soon, Werker advises against receiving a flu shot for this season.