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Flu claims life of Guelph elementary student, says Public Health

A second elementary student in the region is suspected to have died by flu
2015 10 13 flushot
File photo

As many as two elementary school students may have died due to flu, said Chuck Ferguson, manager of corporate communications for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

“We are seeing more flu cases and unfortunately we have seen one confirmed flu death and one suspected flu death among elementary school students,” said Ferguson.

The deaths are not related to any one school or going to school in general, said Ferguson.

“The flu is in the community and any place people congregate you can get the flu,” he said.

“Our sympathies are with the families at this time,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health and CEO of WDG Public Health. 

WDG Public Health will not disclose the identity or the gender of the children.

Influenza is a serious respiratory infection, said Mercer, and the flu season is not over.

"In the last week we have seen the highest number of new cases as well as the highest school absenteeism this season," she said.

WDG Public Health will be extending the hours at some flu shot clinics Friday and Saturday and will continue to encourage people to get immunized, said Ferguson.

“Your best protection is to get a flu shot,” he said.

Although some media reports have said the current influenza vaccine is only 10 or 20 per cent effective at preventing flu, Ferguson said those numbers are based on the flu season in the Southern Hemisphere, which runs opposite to ours.

“We wont know the actual efficacy of our flu shot until the end of the season,” he said.

A Canadian study estimates a 42 per cent effectiveness of the flu vaccine, with a 17 per cent effectiveness against the A(H3N2) strain and an effectiveness of 55 per cent against influenza B.