Influenza continues to make its way through the province, with the Calgary Zone, which includes Okotoks, still accounting for the most flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The latest flu numbers, which include activity up to Jan. 6 show 762 of the 1,570 provincial influenza related hospitalizations came from the Calgary zone.

Of the 31 deaths recorded so far this flu season, 16 have been in the Calgary zone.

Dr. Judy MacDonald, Calgary Medical Officer of Health says it's too early to tell if we've seen the worst of the flu season.

"With respect to where we are, have we peaked yet? It's too early to say. It does look like our numbers are maybe coming down a little bit when we look at lab confirmed cases compared to previous weeks, but I'd sure like to have little bit more time and data to say that with more certainty."

MacDonald says every year there is always a question about how much protection the vaccine provides, however it's still too early to have solid Canadian data.

Those numbers will be available either late this month, or in February, MacDonald explains there are four strains of influenza found in this year's vaccine, two influenza A, and two influenza B strains.

"This year so far what we're seeing is influenza A H3, we're also seeing influenza B. Influenza A H3 is a difficult virus to battle because it does change quite frequently so it is hard to match it in a vaccine. It is possible that it maybe isn't as good as we would like to be, we don't know for sure yet but it's possible. However we're also seeing influenza B, what we do know is the influenza B strains that are in the vaccine, the vaccine is good to protect against influenza B that's circulating. It may not be perfect, but influenza is not a disease to be trifled with, and that vaccine is the best way to protect yourself even if it's not the best match."

Even if the vaccine weren't the best match, it's still beneficial to be immunized.

"It's very likely that even if you're immunized and unfortunately contract influenza, you may well be less sick than you would have been if you weren't immunized at all. You may still get some benefit, you'll still have some antibodies there."

MacDonald stresses the vaccine is still available, and encourages anyone who hasn't received immunization to do so.

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

More Local News

Deadline Extended for "Baby It's Cold Outside" Campaign

Local charity "Baby it's Cold Outside" is looking for nominations for their their Christmas Feast campaign. Okotoks residents can nominate a family who they think might need a little help this…

Aldersyde Area Search Leads To Murder Charges

A 10 day search of a property near Aldersyde by Calgary City Police back in October has led to second degree murder charges being laid against two Calgary men. 39 year old Robert Floyd Cudney and 34…

Okotoks Town Council Approves CHAMP II

With the Cultural Heritage and Arts Master Plan approved by town council, plans to develop Okotoks' cultural identity will be moving forward. The plan, commonly refereed to as "CHAMP II" aims to take… is Okotoks' only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.