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First flu case in Niagara confirmed

The Region’s public health department urges people to take extra precautions now that the first case of flu has been confirmed.

Millenium Trail Manor, a private elder care home in Niagara Falls is “under outbreak,” which means there are more than two cases, said Dr. Valerie Jaeger, associate medical officer of health.

“We always issue a press release for the first case of the season,” Dr. Jaeger said, adding there is nothing extraordinary about the outbreak.

Over the long-term, Niagara experiences about 200 confirmed cases of influenza during the fall and winter seasons.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Jaegar said. “Not everybody gets the same type of symptoms.”

Cases aren’t confirmed until a nose and throat swap is taken and it tests positive. Data from the samples help isolate the strain and patterns of infection and symptoms.

Seasonal flu vaccinations arrived Oct. 6 and have been distributed to family physicians. The first public health department clinic will be held Monday, Nov. 1 at Brock University.

People may visit residents at Millenium Trail, but visitors are asked to see only one person at a time during the outbreak. Others, such as volunteers and pastors who see more than one resident during a visit, are asked to visit healthy people first.

“We emphasize handwashing,” Dr. Jaeger said, and people who are ill should stay away from visiting hospitals and long-term care homes.

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