Killer flu season sees record numbers of cases and deaths already
A killer flu season has seen almost as many people diagnosed with the virus so far this year as there were in the whole of 2018.
Health bosses today issued renewed calls for people to get vaccinated.
A total of 63 people have died from influenza according to figures up until May 5 - compared with 57 in the whole of last year.
That doesn’t include today’s announcement that 26 Victorians have died this flu season including three children. The rest were aged care residents.
There have now also been 27 deaths in South Australia from the flu, with ten times as many cases hitting the state than during the same period last year
Across Australia, a total of 44,000 people have had confirmed cases of the virus, that’s three times as many as had been this time last year.
That’s compared with just 48,000 in 2018, according to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance Scheme.
NSW Government organisation, MedicineWise said it’s not too late to get this year’s vaccine.
Dr Jill Thistlethwaite says 2019 is shaping up to be a bad year.
“The flu is a serious disease that for some people can lead to severe complications such as pneumonia, heart damage, brain damage and even death,” she said.
“At a minimum, most people with flu will be unwell for at least a week and unable to go to work or school.
“The take-home message is that annual vaccination is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age, so ask your GP, clinic or pharmacist about having a flu shot now,” she said.
A new guide to the vaccine has been launched.
In NSW there have been 856 flu cases this week alone - the most in northern Sydney, where there were 158 people were confirmed to be suffering from the virus.
Three residential homes in the state have had outbreaks.
Of the 44,160 cases nationwide this year up so far, 11,053 were in South Australia, 10,984 in NSW and 9,902 in Queensland.
There were 8,493 cases in Victoria, 2,113 in Western Australia and 722 in Tasmania.
The Northern Territory has had 610 cases, with 283 sufferers in the ACT.
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