The number of flu deaths in northern Alberta has spiked. As of January 27th, seven people with lab-confirmed cases had died since the beginning of flu season at the end of August. That’s the total amount seen in the area in the entire 2016/2017 season.

So far there have been 61 deaths from the illness recorded across the province, which is only three less than the total amount for last year’s flu season. That number also shot up recently, as it was 31 on January 12th.

Alberta Health Services says 217 people in the North Zone have been admitted to hospital with influenza, and 2,277 province-wide. There have been 725 lab-confirmed cases of influenza A in the region, and 207 of influenza B.

A mid-season study estimates this year’s flu vaccine has an effectiveness rate of 42 per cent. However, effectiveness against the A strain, or H3N2, is low at 17 per cent, which is offset by the moderate effectiveness of influenza B at 55 per cent.