OTTAWA, Nov. 5 (UPI) — The number of Canadians hospitalized with H1N1 flu has tripled in a week, the country’s chief public health officer announced in Ottawa Thursday.
Dr. David Butler-Jones told reporters the virus, originally dubbed swine flu when it emerged in Mexico in April, is into its second wave and wasn’t showing signs of abating despite the country’s largest-ever mass inoculation program.
“We expect to hear of more illness and deaths in the coming weeks as we go further into the second wave,” Butler-Jones said.
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq told reporters 6.5 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine would be distributed across the country by Friday and repeated her call for healthy people to let at-risk groups get vaccinated first. The at-risk categories include young children, pregnant women and those with existing lung conditions.
The Public Health Agency’s Web site said 101 Canadians have died of the virus and about 1,700 have required hospitalization, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said. However, the agency said annual seasonal flu outbreaks kill between 4,000 and 8,000 people on average and send 20,000 people to hospitals.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International