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‘No evidence’ of community-spread influenza this season: report

TORONTO — The latest weekly influenza report “FluWatch” from Dec. 13, 2020 to Jan. 2, 2021, from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has found “no evidence of community circulation of influenza,” despite heightened testing levels.

“All indicators of influenza activity remain exceptionally low for this time of year, despite continued monitoring for influenza across Canada,” the report states.

Only three lab detections of the flu were reported in the time period examined in the report, with no “flu-like illnesses” or lab-confirmed outbreaks.

To date this flu season, the FluWatch reports have tallied 92 “flu-like illness” outbreaks that were reported in schools and daycares. No lab confirmed outbreaks of the flu itself have been reported this season.

More than 12,500 people have participated in this season’s FluWatchers program – a national surveillance system that monitors the spread of flu and “flu-like illnesses” – with 15 of them (0.14 per cent) reporting a cough or fever, which “remains low compared to previous seasons.

The report does note that monitoring for indicators of the flu has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, “including changes in healthcare-seeking behaviour, impacts of public health measures and influenza-testing practices.”

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