The total of confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases in Canada has risen to 719 and the majority of cases have been mild, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced Wednesday. The number is a cumulative case count of laboratory confirmed cases reported since April 26, 2009 and represents an increase of 223 new cases compared with the figure on May 15, when the country last released its numbers, the minister said in a government release.
So far only 13 cases have required hospitalization with one death, said David Butler-Jones, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer.
Initial research shows that H1N1 has spread in Canadian communities very much like regular seasonal flu, and as such, additional cases are expected to continue to be reported, he said, adding an increase in cases does not necessarily indicate an increase in the severity of illness. "Even with a mild flu, we need to remain vigilant in preventing illness and watching for changes in the virus," he said in the release.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is exploring options for ongoing surveillance of the impact of the virus on Canadian communities moving forward, including increased surveillance of hospitalizations and severity of illness, the release said.