Sudbury and district experiencing 20-year high in recorded influenza cases

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SUDBURY—Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) is reminding the public to take precautions to reduce the spread of respiratory illness this holiday season. Influenza activity began unusually early in the district this year, and the number of confirmed influenza cases to date this season has surpassed the number of cases reported during the entire influenza season for more than the past 20 years.

“The first influenza case was confirmed at the end of October in our service area, which is at least two months earlier than in past years,” said Dr. Imran Adrian Khan, public health physician with PHSD. “As of December 16, we had received reports of 300 laboratory confirmed local cases of influenza.”

Currently, influenza A is the only type of influenza virus circulating locally that has been identified through testing.

In addition to a high number of influenza infections, the district continues to see ongoing COVID-19 transmission and illness.

Public health reminds everyone to follow simple protective measures to limit the spread of respiratory illnesses to protect yourself and others over the holidays and through the winter season.

These include staying up to date on COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations by visiting a local pharmacy or by making an appointment through public health or your health care provider to get vaccinated. The influenza vaccine, like the COVID-19 vaccine, is safe and effective; wearing a well-fitted mask when indoors or in crowded spaces; covering your cough or sneeze by using your upper sleeve or a tissue; washing your hands often or using hand sanitizer, especially after being in contact with others or being in a shared or public space; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands to prevent germs from entering your body; cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and light switches; staying home when sick; staying away from people who are sick, and checking the COVID-19 Risk Index and Respiratory Activity Report regularly to understand your level of risk.