Northern health authority investigates possible youth death linked to H1N1

By Nigel Maxwell
November 28, 2018 - 2:15pm

There have been 35 reported cases of H1N1 this flu season, according to the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA), including six which led to hospitalizations.

From those six reported hospitalizations, two were ICU admissions. Medical Health Officer Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka confirmed for paNOW he had heard of a possible flu related death involving a child.

"We did tests related to an influenza related to a death in a child but at this point I don't have any confirmed details to that effect unfortunately," he said.

Overall this year the NITHA has had 45 laboratory confirmed case of influenza. When comparing the genders, females represented 55 per cent of cases. Ndubuka said the numbers are on par with previous years.

"The only difference we are seeing this particular season is the activity started more in the north and moving southwards compared to previous years where activity started in the opposite direction," he said.

NITHA serves the communities in the Prince Albert Grand Council, Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and Lac La Ronge Indian Band.  As of Nov. 17, 2018, 2,777 vaccine doses had been administered to community members compared to 2,808 for the same period last year. Ndubka said he was not concerned with the one-per-cent decrease.

"Overall the optics have been really good but we have wanted to encourage more people to get the vaccine early enough in the season," he said.

NITHA has committed to increase education and awareness regarding why getting a flu shot is important. Community members in the meantime are encouraged to be proactive at home and at work with frequent hand washing, cleaning all surfaces often and to stay at home when sick.

On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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