Australia’s worst flu outbreak

Australia is suffering its worst flu outbreak on record.

Vaccination advocates The Immunisation Coalition said that as of the morning of 16 August, more than 75,000 cases of influenza had been laboratory confirmed, including a record-breaking 30,000 cases nationwide last month.

New South Wales and Queensland were the worst-affected states, with reported cases numbering 35,315 and 19,662 respectively.

The Immunisation Coalition’s Professor Paul Van Buynder said that with several weeks of flu season still to go, 2017 was set to be a record breaker.

“I’m confident this is not just the biggest on record but the largest flu outbreak we’ve seen for some time,” Professor Van Buynder said.

The previous influenza record occurred in 2015 when more than 100,000 people tested positive for the flu.

This year, older people have been slow to get the flu vaccination, which is free to those aged 65 and over.

Those with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and heart disease are particularly at risk.

The Federal Health Department said only quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIV) formulations were available in Australia in 2017. These are aimed at preventing four strains of the flu virus.

Once injected, the vaccine takes around 10 days to work properly. 

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