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Flu numbers soar

A continued spike in the number of confirmed influenza cases this year confirms that Queensland’s flu season has hit with a vengeance.

Doctor Christopher Coulter, Medical Advisor for Infectious Diseases Communicable Diseases Branch, said the latest figures were the best reminder yet to practise regular and thorough hand washing, good cough etiquette and to get your flu vaccination.

“For those who haven’t had a flu vaccination this year, it’s not too late they should make booking an appointment a priority,” Dr Coulter said.

“This year’s vaccine protects against two ‘A’ and two ‘B’ strains of flu which have been the most prevalent around the world this year.

“For some people in high-risk categories, influenza can be deadly so it’s crucial we all play our part to help stop it spreading and reduce its effects on the community,” he said.

The ‘Statewide Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report’ is available online. This report outlines comparative weekly flu data back to 2012, with this week’s figure being the highest weekly total during that reporting period.

Numbers

  • So far this year, there have been 19,216 flu notifications
  • In 2017 so far, about 76 per cent (14,688) of notifications were typed as influenza A and the remaining 24 per cent (4,528) were influenza B.
  • So far this year, we’ve seen 2,145 public hospital admissions across the state for influenza, and 222 of those required intensive care.

Remember to practise good hygiene.

  • Stay home when you’re sick, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
  • Combined with vaccination, these simply steps can reduce the likelihood of spreading the flu and combat the rise in flu notifications.

Queenslanders eligible for the government-funded influenza vaccine can access it from their doctor or immunisation provider.

Those eligible for the funded vaccine are:

  • pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy
  • persons 65 years of age or older
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people 15 years of age or older
  • People six months of age or older who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.

All other Queenslanders can obtain the influenza vaccination from their doctor, immunisation provider or some community pharmacies.

For more details, phone 13 HEALTH, your GP or immunisation provider.

Media contact: +61 7 3708 5376

Last updated: 15 August 2017