01/15/2016 12:35 EST | Updated 01/15/2016 12:59 EST

Alberta Flu Deaths Show Early Stages Of 'Influenza Outbreak'

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A human hand wearing protective glove holding a filled syringe needle.

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services says there have been five flu-related deaths in the province since the beginning of the year and four of those who died had not been immunized.

AHS says the fifth was a child who had received only one of two doses of the influenza vaccine.

The child was one of two people under 18, two were 65 or older and one was between 18 and 64.

AHS senior medical officer of health Dr. Gerry Predy says the province is in the early stages of an "influenza outbreak'' with 84 hospitalizations and 283 lab-confirmed cases.

He's urging anyone who hasn't got a flu shot to get one.

The doctor says influenza is a serious illness that causes people to get very sick and some to die — and it's preventable.

"People always talk about what can we do to prevent things. Well, here's a preventable disease that people aren't taking advantage of preventive measures.''

AHS has ordered two million doses of the flu vaccine for this season and so far just over a million people have received the shot.

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