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A patient gets a shot during a flu vaccine program in Calgary on Oct. 26, 2009Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

A group of Syrian refugees has been given more than they bargained for upon their recent arrival in Edmonton — a lot of them have gotten the flu.

Jason Gariepy of Catholic Social Services says the agency is assisting approximately 254 Syrians and about half of the children in that group have fallen ill.

He says adults have also caught it, but only one person required a hospital stay.

Gariepy says the refugees did not arrive in Canada with any pre-existing conditions and just had the unfortunate timing of showing up in Edmonton at the peak of flu season.

Gariepy says the mini-epidemic is draining CSS resources, with staff making three to five trips per day to medical clinics and hospitals.

An Arabic-speaking doctor is now coming in to the CSS welcome centre to see the refugees twice a week to reduce the need to transport them, and they are receiving flu shots.