Influenza (Flu)

New Flu Clinic Date: 
Saturday, December 14 from 9 am to 2 pm.
 
Henry Munro Middle School. 2105 Kender Ave., Gloucester

 

“The flu,” more properly known as seasonal influenza, is a common contagious infection. The flu affects the nose, throat, and lungs. It is spread through droplets that have been coughed or sneezed by someone who has the flu. You can get the flu by shaking hands with someone who has the flu or by touching surfaces that have come into contact with flu droplets, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Flu symptoms include a sudden fever or feeling feverish as well as a cough and/or a sore throat. It is common to also have a runny or stuffy nose, head- or body-aches, and chills.  You may feel more tired than usual and have a lower appetite. Some people (mostly children) also have nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. According to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, there are approximately 3,500 deaths related to influenza on average each year in Canada. 

Where can I get my flu vaccine?

It is easier than ever to get your flu vaccine. Anyone aged six months and older who lives, works or attends school in Ontario is eligible to receive the publicly funded flu vaccine.

You can get your flu vaccine from: 

  • Your primary care provider or family doctor
  • Your local pharmacist (for individuals 5 years of age and older)
  • Ottawa Public Health also offers additional clinics for children 5 years old and under, and their families. The clinics are by appointment only. Please, call the Ottawa Public Health Information Centre at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656) to book an appointment.
What flu vaccines are available this year?

This year’s flu vaccines for children and adults protect against four different flu viruses: two influenza A viruses (A/H1N1 and A/H3N2) and two influenza B viruses (B/Colorado and B/Phuket). This is a quadrivalent influenza vaccine. Babies and children 6 months to under 9 years of age who have never had a flu shot will need 2 doses of the vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart. Everyone else will need only one dose.

Flumist® Quadrivalent, a live attenuated quadrivalent influenza vaccine given as a nasal spray, will not be available in Canada for the 2019/2020 influenza season.

A high-dose flu vaccine is also available for adults 65 years of age and older protecting against three different flu viruses: two influenza A viruses (A/H1N1 and A/H3N2) and one influenza B virus (B/Colorado).  This is a high-dose trivalent vaccine.  If you are 65 years old or older, your doctor can help you choose between the quadrivalent influenza vaccine and the high-dose trivalent vaccine.

What can I do to prevent the flu?

You can help protect yourself against the flu by getting your flu vaccine. The earlier you get the vaccine, the better your chances are to prevent getting the flu. The flu is a viral infection that can have severe complications. Anyone can get the flu virus. The flu is not just a cold. You could miss school, work, parties, holidays, or even end up in the hospital.

The flu vaccine helps your body help itself. The vaccine will trigger your body to fight off infection if you come into contact with the flu. This means you either will not get the flu, or the symptoms will be greatly reduced. Each year, different strains of the flu virus appear. Scientists predict which strains will be most likely to affect us for the coming year. These strains are used to make up the year's flu vaccine. This is why it is important to be immunized each fall.

Getting your flu vaccine is good for everyone. When more people get their flu vaccine, the odds of the flu virus spreading goes down. This protects those who are most vulnerable such as children under five, adults 65 years or older, pregnant women, as well as those living with chronic health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.

In addition to getting your flu vaccine, you can help stop the spread of the flu, and protect yourself & your family by following a few easy steps:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you are sick, stay at home
  • Do not visit hospitalized patients or residents of retirement homes or long-term care homes if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Is the flu vaccine safe?

The flu vaccine is safe for anyone 6 months of age or older who does not have a contraindication to the flu vaccine.

Flu vaccine is contraindicated in persons who had an anaphylactic reaction to the flu vaccine or to a component of the flu vaccine before. If you had an anaphylactic reaction to a flu vaccine before, a consultation with an allergist is recommended prior to flu vaccination. Persons with egg allergy can safely receive any influenza vaccine and do not need any special precautions or testing.

How can my workplace organize a flu clinic?

Workplaces that have an occupational health department can organize a clinic themselves with their own equipment. The application for the 2019-20 period is now closed.
The registration period is typically open for one month starting in June of each year. For more information about registering for the Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIPP), please visit the Ministry of Health's UIIP information page.

What is the difference between a cold and flu?

Many people confuse the terms “cold” and “flu.” Influenza (flu) is a respiratory viral infection that can lead to severe complications. The flu is not just a cold. You could miss school, work, parties, holidays, or even end up in the hospital. Below is a list of common symptoms of the flu compared with a common cold.

 

Symptom

Influenza (Flu)

Cold

Fever

Frequent
Usually high
Last 3-4 days

Rare

Headache

Frequent
Can be severe

Rare

Aches & Pain

Frequent
Can be severe

Rare, usually mild

Weakness

Moderate to severe
Can last up to 1 month

Not common
Mild

Extreme fatigue

Frequent
Can be severe

Not common

Sniffles or Sneezes

Sometimes

Common

Sore throat

Common

Common

Cough

Usual
Can be severe

Sometimes
Mild to moderate

Complications

Pneumonia, respiratory failure or worsening of underlying medical conditions which can be life-threatening

Sinus or ear infection

What can I do to ease symptoms if I have the flu?

If you have flu-like symptoms, including a fever, a cough, severe headache and/or chills, be sure to:

  • Rest.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Take basic pain or fever relievers if needed.

If I have the flu, when should I call my doctor?

Contact your doctor if symptoms are severe and do not improve after a few days.

There are many ways to get non-emergency medical care. Trained professionals from Telehealth Ontario and the Ottawa Public Health Information Centre can answer your questions by phone, and family doctors, nurses and other health care providers can provide care.

For the latest public health information, you can contact Ottawa Public Health Information Centre at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656) or on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth). To reach Telehealth Ontario, call 1-866-797-0000

Reports

Current Season: 2019-2020

Most recent report: December 4, 2019 (week 48) [733 kb]

This report provides a overview of the current Influenza season in the City of Ottawa, Ontario. For information on the current influenza season across Ontario see the Ontario Respiratory Pathogen Bulletin, and for Canada see the FluWatch report. Regional syndromic surveillance data on Influenza like Illness (ILI), including hospital admissions and emergency department visits, can be accessed through ILI mapper

Past reports from current season

Past Seasons from 2013-2014 to 2018-2019

Graph of the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases in Ottawa, by influenza season, from 2013-2014 to 2018-2019 Graph showing the number of laboratory confirmed cases of influenza by flu week. The graph shows six curves representing the influenza cases of the previous six seasons. The figure has been converted into a table below.

Date ranges for influenza surveillance (flu weeks) weeks change slightly each season. For ease of interpretation, only 2018-2019 flu week date ranges are captured in the epidemiological curve above. Visit the FluWatch Weeks Calendar for the current season's flu week date ranges.

Data
 Figure Data Table

 Week

2013-2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

wk 35

0

0

0

1

0

0

wk 36

0

0

0

0

2

0

wk 37

0

0

0

1

0

0

wk 38

0

0

0

1

1

1

wk 39

0

0

3

0

1

0

wk 40

0

0

0

0

0

1

wk 41

0

0

1

1

3

0

wk 42

0

1

1

0

0

5

wk 43

0

0

1

0

1

2

wk 44

2

0

0

1

0

3

wk 45

0

1

1

2

0

1

wk 46

0

0

0

1

4

5

wk 47

0

0

1

2

3

3

wk 48

4

5

1

5

9

6

wk 49

7

7

4

10

3

17

wk 50

6

21

1

14

13

8

wk 51

24

51

5

42

25

8

wk 52

33

65

4

60

36

20

wk 1

47

97

3

61

72

30

wk 2

45

98

7

50

85

39

wk 3

30

74

5

39

76

42

wk 4

20

56

14

34

59

37

wk 5

11

63

18

38

62

40

wk 6

16

53

29

35

89

37

wk 7

6

46

41

28

106

46

wk 8

6

49

54

25

118

38

wk 9

4

26

56

27

117

42

wk 10

5

34

61

16

72

31

wk 11

13

44

63

25

46

38

wk 12

12

38

23

12

41

26

wk 13

10

24

24

19

39

18

wk 14

9

12

19

11

36

31

wk 15

12

14

14

12

28

36

wk 16

17

14

13

11

13

22

wk 17

12

10

11

14

8

14

wk 18

7

14

9

7

8

14

wk 19

11

2

12

1

5

5

wk 20

8

3

2

7

2

6

wk 21

18

0

3

2

0

9

wk 22

5

0

2

2

0

2

wk 23

2

1

0

1

1

1

wk 24

0

0

0

0

0

2

wk 25

0

0

0

1

0

2

wk 26

1

0

0

1

0

1

wk 27

0

1

0

0

0

1

wk 28

0

0

0

0

0

0

wk 29

0

0

0

2

0

0

wk 30

1

0

0

0

0

1

wk 31

0

0

0

0

0

0

wk 32

0

0

0

0

1

0

wk 33

0

0

0

0

1

1

wk 34

0

0

0

0

1

0

Dominant Influenza Strain(s) & Key Flu Activity Periods
 

2013 - 2014

2014 - 2015

2015 - 2016

2016 - 2017

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019

Dominant influenza strain(s)

A/H1N1

A/H3N2

A/H1N1

A/H3N2

A/H3N2 and B/Phuket (Yamagata lineage)

A/H1N1 and A/H3N2

First week of flu season

Dec 1-7, 2013*

Nov 23-29, 2014*

Jan 17-23, 2016*

Nov 27- Dec 3, 2016

Nov 26- Dec 2, 2017

Oct 14 – 20, 2018

Week of maximum % test-positivity

Dec 29, 2013 - Jan 4, 2014*

Dec 28, 2014 - Jan 3, 2015*

Mar 6-12, 2016*

Dec 25-31, 2016*

Feb 25- Mar 3, 2018*

 Jan 27 – Feb 2, 2019

Maximum % test-positivity

29.1%*

34.5%*

34.3%*

19.4%

34%

 19.8%

Peak week of flu season±

Dec 31, 2013 - Jan 7, 2014

Jan 7-14, 2015

Mar 10-16, 2016

Dec 31, 2016 -Jan 7, 2017

Peak 1: 
Jan 7-14, 2018

Peak 2:
Feb 18-24, 2018

Feb 10 – 16, 2019
Laboratory-confirmed Influenza Cases
 

2013 - 2014

2014 - 2015

2015 - 2016

2016 - 2017

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019

Median age

54 years

78 years

45 years

71 years

72 years

62 years

Total flu cases

404

924

506

622

1187

693

Flu A cases (%)

300 (74%)

769 (83%)

402 (79%)

544 (87%)

689 (58%)

666 (96%)

Flu B cases (%)

104 (26%)

153 (17%)

104 (21%)

78 (12%)

492 (41%)

23 (3%)

Hospitalizations

106

234

149

113

Not available

Not available

Deaths

9

27

7

11

21

6

Institutional Respiratory Outbreak
 

2013 - 2014

2014 - 2015

2015 - 2016

2016 - 2017

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019

Total respiratory outbreaks

73

156

78

132

148

115

Flu A outbreaks

20

91

14

44

42

38

Flu B outbreaks

8

11

3

3

37

3

Non-influenza outbreaks

45

54

61

85

62

74

Hospitalizations

Not available

179

17

46

96

50

Deaths

Not available

48

5

19

34

14

Influenza Immunization (flu vaccine)
 

2013 - 2014

2014 - 2015

2015 - 2016

2016 - 2017

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019

Vaccine doses distributed in Ottawa

390,640

380,309

379,333

379,241

392,603

434,564

Vaccine effectiveness (95% CI)¥

68%
(58-76%)

9%
(0-27%)

46%
(32-57%)

45%
(31-56%)

42%
(22-55%)

56%
(47-64%) 

Archived Seasonal Respiratory Infections and Enteric Outbreaks Surveillance Reports

2018-2019 Influenza Season

Data Notes

The data presented are current as of Sep 3, 2019.  Unless otherwise stated, information included in this table was extracted from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) database by Ottawa Public Health (OPH). iPHIS is a dynamic disease reporting system that allows for ongoing updates to data previously entered. Data extracted from the iPHIS database represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and can be different in previous or subsequent reports.

Influenza cases and respiratory infection outbreaks in institutions and public hospitals meeting Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) case definitions for Diseases of Public Health Significance (DPHS), according to Ontario Public Health Standards: Requirements for Programs, Services, and Accountability (Standards): Infectious Diseases Protocol, are presented. In the City of Ottawa, laboratory confirmation testing of influenza is performed by Public Health Ontario Labs (PHOL) or Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA). Changes to DPHS reporting requirements or case definitions, as well as variability in influenza laboratory testing and reporting algorithms at can limit the ability to compare across influenza seasons.

* Influenza laboratory test-positivity data for influenza seasons prior to the 2016-2017 season are unavailable for the City of Ottawa. Ontario data, available from Public Health Ontario (PHO) and accessed here, are included as proxy measures.

First week when 5% or more of samples submitted for laboratory testing were positive for influenza.

Highest % of samples submitted for testing that were positive for influenza during a single week.

± Week when the highest number of new influenza cases were reported to OPH, by accurate episode date.

Deaths and hospitalizations are limited to line-listed resident or patient cases from influenza outbreaks in institutions and public hospitals. Influenza infections are not confirmed through laboratory testing for all line-listed cases, as per MOH reporting case definitions. Generally, up to four sample are tested, the remaining outbreak cases are assumed to be caused by the same respiratory pathogen.

¥ Flu vaccine effectiveness data are based on the Canadian Sentinel Practitioner Surveillance Network (SPSN) influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates accessed here.

 For the latest public health information, you can contact Ottawa Public Health Information Centre at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656) or on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth). To reach Telehealth Ontario, call 1-866-797-0000

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