Alberta has almost triple the number of influenza cases over the last four months of 2006, when compared with rest of Canada, according to statistics released by the Public Health Agency on Dec 16.
Flu season normally runs from October to late March or early April and the Calgary Health Region monitors likely outbreaks during this time.
Symptoms of influenza A are; sudden headaches and fever, dry coughs and aching muscles.
"One thing about influenza is that it's quite unpredictable," said MacDonald, deputy medical officer of the Calgary Health Region.
"It's always hard to compare one season to the next because it's quite variable."
On Dec. 23, 2006, Alberta had 319 lab-confirmed cases of influenza A infection and Calgary had 118 of them.
There were 996 lab-confirmed cases in Alberta, during the 2003-04 season and majority of them were of type A.
"Influenza tends to show up firstly in children and readily spread among children," she said.
"When we see an outbreak in schools, it's only a matter of time before outbreaks occur in long-term care centres."
"The volatile nature of the flu virus, which occurs in both the A and more mild B strains, makes the reasons for the higher rate difficult to pin down," said Judy MacDonald.