Southern Health says flu season has not yet started in the region. Dr. Michael Routledge, Chief Medical Officer of Health, explains the illnesses that have shown up so far this winter are mostly viruses.
"So far in Manitoba, we haven't had a lot of influenza virus activity which is the virus that can make people quite sick and we have a vaccine for every year. We have seen a fair bit of some other types viruses. There's a virus called RSV that often causes chest infections, more often in kids, but certainly can affect adults as well. We've also had another type of virus called Rhinovirus in Manitoba. So lots of cough and cold type of viruses going around but not a lot of influenza yet in Manitoba."
He adds there have also been some outbreaks of gastrointestinal virus, or Norovirus, at personal care homes throughout Southern Health.
Dr. Routledge says, judging by what is happening in British Columbia, the flu strain that has shown up there and which is expected here, is called H3N2.
"It tends to affect older people, who get more severe outcomes with influenza, and that usually makes for a busier flu season."
Dr. Routledge emphasizes, since flu season has not yet started, there is still time to get the flu shot.