ACT’s vicious flu season infects 1100 more Canberrans compared to last year

Lachlan Roberts 3 July 2019 10

According to ACT Health’s latest report, there have been 1347 reported cases of influenza from the beginning of the year to 30 June, with 390 (29 per cent) flu cases reported in the past fortnight.

In comparison, there were 160 notifications of influenza reported to ACT Health during the same time period in 2018 but an ACT Health spokesperson said that does not mean this flu season is more severe.

The spokesperson admitted the flu season has started stronger than previous years but said it is impossible to say if the numbers of flu cases will decline or continue to remain at an increased level.

“This year’s flu season is different to recent years, as the increase in activity has started much earlier in the year but that’s not an indication of severity,” the spokesperson told Region Media.

“The report shows the seasonal increase in influenza notifications is following the same trend as in previous years; it has just started earlier in the year.

“It is interesting in the ACT and nationally, influenza activity is higher for this time of year compared to previous years. It is still too early to tell how severe the season will turn out to be but the trend in notifications, while starting earlier this year, is similar to previous years.”

Despite the brutal start to the season, ACT Health said that fewer than five Canberrans had died from the flu this year.

The spokesperson did not confirm the exact number of deaths resulting from the flu this year in Canberra, citing privacy reasons, but said that none of the flu-related deaths this year had been children.

Despite the spike in flu cases, ACT Health does not believe fewer people are taking their flu shots, stating more government-funded influenza vaccines have been distributed to immunisation providers in 2019 than in previous years.

When Region Media asked its readers whether they go to work regardless if they are feeling unwell, 41 per cent of respondents said they struggle through their symptoms so they don’t fall behind in work. The ACT Health spokesperson reminded Canberrans showing flu symptoms to stay home and recuperate.

“Unfortunately people do feel pressured in some cases to go to work and it’s quite understandable because often the thought of managing a few days off is quite daunting,” the spokesperson said. “However, the longer term benefits of staying at home to rest and recuperate far outweigh the impact of infecting others in the workplace.

“We would advise people who are not feeling well to check in with their GP or go to a walk-in centre to seek advice about whether going to work is a good idea or not.

“Our standard and consistent advice to the community is to get vaccinated for illnesses like influenza.

“Equally important though, particularly for children at childcare centres and schools and those at work is, when sick, it’s best to stay home, rest, recuperate and stay away from others to minimise the spread of respiratory conditions like the flu.”

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10 Responses to ACT’s vicious flu season infects 1100 more Canberrans compared to last year
Jane Stubbs Jane Stubbs 9:32 pm 05 Jul 19

Herd immunity people. It’s not rocket science. 2019.

jibril jibril 11:17 am 05 Jul 19

A lot of people don’t seem to realise that the flu shot is only good for 3 months? So many claiming they won’t get the shot because “I got the shot last year but still got flu” – I’d guess some of that is due to a different strain that what was in the vaccine, sure. But the other half is people simply geting it too early (e.g. in March, which won’t cover the peak seasons of July / August).

Laiza Jane Laiza Jane 11:10 pm 04 Jul 19

Rob next ayyy 😅

Carole Ford Carole Ford 8:11 pm 04 Jul 19

Herd immunity needs 96% of population to be immunised. Making the immunisation available at work places helps. Don 't believe all the BS about the flu immunisation giving you the flu, a load of BS. Just get the damn shot and be prepared.

    Louise Flood Louise Flood 10:08 am 05 Jul 19

    Sure. If they could accurately predict which strain will hit this might work but they can't. and the vaccine is rushed into production based on best guess and not adequately tested before. A recipe for failure and possibly bad long-term problems.

Penelope Rose Penelope Rose 2:31 pm 04 Jul 19

Step up the basic hygiene, wash hands, throw out used tissues immediately, cover your mouth when you cough, don't go out in public if you're sick.

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 1:45 pm 04 Jul 19

How many people get the flu each year as a percentage of the Canberra population, then compare that to how many new arrivals of immigrants to Canberra each year. Probably find statistically, as population increases each year, so do numbers of cases.

jibril jibril 1:04 pm 04 Jul 19

Unfortunately, some people simply don’t care. I’ve had several colleagues come in saying that they ‘need’ to get their work done because they don’t want to come back to a large load. This is where work managers need to really step up and tell them to go and stay home; preferably manage these expectations before the season starts

    Maya123 Maya123 3:30 pm 04 Jul 19

    I’ve seen someone who came into work when they shouldn’t have because of flu, despite being told to stay home, have a senior manager make the effort to come and tell him in no uncertain terms to go home and stay there.

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 12:38 pm 04 Jul 19

As well, there are some nasty bugs around that are not the flu. Be well, everybody!

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