Efforts to Control COVID Reduce Spread of Flu

Farmscape for December 21, 2020

Full Interview 7:53 Listen

A veterinary pathologist with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine says efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of influenza cases in North America this year. Numbers of cases of influenza tend to peak in November December before dropping in January and then peaking again in March April but this year, as the result of efforts to deal with COVID-19, there have been very few cases of influenza. Dr. Susan Detmer, an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathology with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says so far numbers of cases of influenza across the United States and Canada have been low.

Clip-Dr. Susan Detmer-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
The thing is that could change very quickly. We have people that are going to be travelling over Christmas, even though it’s been recommended that they don’t and any time you travel not just COVID or the SARS virus is going to be moving around. It’s also going to be influenza viruses. We’ve had a lot less international travel. The air travel is way down this year, especially the international travel, and that has helped keep influenza movements low and we’re hoping that that stays for the rest of this pandemic as long as we’re in crisis mode with all of the hospitals filled. What we’d like to see is that people do take caution, they do get vaccinated before Christmas and that they don’t necessarily travel. Because there have been travel restrictions, there have been a number of provinces that have put into place self quarantine when you re-enter the province or go to a new location. That has really helped keep the spread of all the respiratory viruses down. Those efforts have helped, people staying home when they’re sick, people having any symptoms staying home has helped.

Dr. Detmer stresses flu vaccines are available and they will be available for until March.

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