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Flu season continues

As the state continues to experience a busier than average flu season, Queensland Health is urging people to take active steps to help reduce the risk of influenza.

Queensland Health Medical Director of Communicable Diseases Unit Dr Heidi Carroll said there are simple measures everyone can take to help avoid catching or spreading influenza during this year’s flu season.

“This week there have been more 4,554 new notified cases of influenza throughout Queensland, which brings the 2017 total to 29,996,” Dr Carroll said.

“Although this weekly figure is less than last week, which was 4,749 new cases, we need to see several weeks of decline before we can confirm the flu peak has passed.

“To put this year’s flu numbers in context, there were 23,285 notified cases in 2016, with 28,059 notified cases in 2015.”

“The best defence is to be vaccinated and there are also practical steps we can all take that reduce the likelihood of catching or spreading the flu.”

Dr Carroll said the Queensland Health launch of a Flu Five social media campaign last week outlined some of these simple flu prevention measures to Queenslanders.

“Steps such as staying at home when sick, covering your cough with a tissue, washing hands, seeing a GP or calling a nurse for free on 13 HEALTH, and getting vaccinated all reduce the risk of catching and spreading the flu.

Queensland Health social media reach for flu messaging this flu season has been more than 600,000 with greater than 56,000 reached in the last week following the recent campaign.

Latest Influenza numbers

  • So far this year, there have been 29,996 flu notifications
  • There were 4,554 new confirmed flu cases in the latest reporting week (21—27 August)
  • So far this year, we’ve seen 3,225 public hospital admissions across the state for influenza, and 353 of those required intensive care.

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: 29 August 2017