Alta. health officials urge flu shots for all as number of cases spikes

Jared Erickson, 6, reacts as he receives a nasal flu spray delivered by a an Alberta Health...

Jared Erickson, 6, reacts as he receives a nasal flu spray delivered by a an Alberta Health Services registered nurse at an Alberta Health Services Clinic at Brentwood Village Mall in northwest Calgary on January 2, 2014. (Jim Wells/QMI Agency)

Matt Dykstra, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:21 PM ET

EDMONTON -- Even healthy young people are being attacked by the rising tide of influenza in Alberta, prompting provincial health officials to make a plea for everyone to get the flu shot before hospitals are completely overwhelmed.

"We are by no means at a point where we are protected from influenza as a population, and particularly H1N1," warned Health Minister Fred Horne at a Friday news conference.

"It is attacking primarily healthy young adults in the 40s and early 50s age ranges, so I do want to express my concern -- and, I'll be honest, it is a growing concern."

There have been 965 lab-confirmed cases of influenza so far this flu season -- "a very large escalation" that Alberta Health Services (AHS) says has resulted in 251 hospitalizations and five deaths, many of which are related to the dominant H1N1 strain.


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