OTTAWA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The number of people stricken by flu continues rising across Canada, with 15,572 laboratory-confirmed cases as of Saturday, said the Public Health Agency of Canada on Friday.
The level of influenza activity is "in the higher range of expected levels for this time of year," the agency said in its latest Flu Watch report. Last year, there were 8,976 reported cases by the end of the first week of January 2017.
The majority of cases continue to be the H3N2 subtype of Influenza A, a particularly brutal strain that tends to cause more severe illness, especially among the elderly and children.
At the same time, Influenza B is "increasing steadily," with 20 times more detections so far this season compared to the same time periods in the last seven years. The B strain started circulating much earlier than usual, said the agency.
According to the report, the flu has the biggest influence on people over the age of 65. There have been 1,880 reported hospitalizations, 68 percent of which were seniors. There have been 54 reported flu deaths in Canada, five of which were children.