Wednesday, January 18, 2012



A student is looking for a survey that asks people if they have had the flu in the past X period of time. He is looking at factors that impact getting the flu (age, illness, pregnancy etc). We looked at the Canadian Community Health Survey, but this survey only asks about getting the flu shot, rather than having the actual flu. Does anyone know if there is a survey that has this as a variable?


You may find some useful data / information on the Public Health Agency of Canada ( Surveillance web site located at under the FLUWatch program Specifically you should have a look at the Weekly reports they provided some very detailed information and statistical data.

Finall, as noted, cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) have included questions on flu shots. The General Social Survey (GSS) cycle 6 1991 also had questions related to flu vaccination. Data on the impact of H1N1 and seasonal flu on hours worked were collected by the Labour Force Survey (LFS).  The related February 12, 2010 Daily release included statistics and the following note describing the data that were collected at the time: "(...) Note: The Public Health Agency of Canada commissioned Statistics Canada to assess the impact of the H1N1 and seasonal flu on hours worked, using the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Data for this release were derived from four special questions added to January's LFS to estimate the impact of the H1N1 and seasonal flu on hours worked for the entire month of December. These were: how many people lost work time; how many hours they lost; the number of people who worked overtime or extra hours; and the amount of extra time they put in. The responses provided some measurement of the overall economic impact of the H1N1 and seasonal flu.

 Work absence due to the H1N1 or seasonal flu includes the respondent's own flu-related illness or that of their immediate family members, as well as any flu-related medical appointments. The LFS usually only collects absence data related to illness in general (namely, there are no specific questions about flu illness) for the survey reference week. As a result, direct comparisons cannot be made between these special questions and data collected from previous LFS monthly releases. (...)"   ( There are two other related Daily releases: January 15, 2010 ( and March 19, 2010 ( The data that were collected on this topic are not included in the LFS public use microdata files (PUMFs) the DLI receives but we could obtain more information about these data if your client has specific questions.

The Canadian Institute for Health information (CIHI) may also have health system information on influenza as may other organizations such as the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) as Gilbert suggested.

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