Authorities warn flu deaths are on the rise


Queensland is in the grip of a flu disaster. It has caused at least 25 deaths so far this year and authorities say nobody is safe.

James Stephens reports.

TRANSCRIPT

The peak flu season hasn’t arrived yet, but Queensland is already on track to pass last year’s death toll of 43.

Flu season in Australia typically runs from July to October.

But already this year the number of deaths from influenza is up 56 per cent from the previous year.

The red line representing 2019 shows a large increase in flu notifications, compared to the past four years.

Steven Miles, Qld Health Minister: “This is shaping as potentially a very bad flu season, and we’re still in the time where people can and should get their flu shots if they haven’t had it already.”

Eight hundred and 48 people have already been admitted to hospital this year, with 78 ending up in intensive care.

Dr Jeanette Young, Queensland Chief Health Officer: “We are seeing a lot more cases of the flu this year, around three and a half times more than we’d expect to see at this time of year.”

Queensland Health is encouraging people not to treat the illness, as just a common cold, and seek help sooner rather than later.

Dr Jeanette Young, Queensland Chief Health Officer: “We really can’t predict what’s going to happen, which is why it’s so important people go and have the vaccine because that’s really the only way they can protect themselves and their family.”

The Australian Medical Association says it’s crucial for those most at risk to get a flu shot.

Dr. Dilip Dhupelia, AMA Queensland: “People cannot be complacent about this viral illness, it is not a common cold, it has life threatening issues here and people are losing their lives.”

Experts are also encouraging anyone who is experiencing flu like symptoms to stay home and not go to work where you chance risking the health of colleagues.

James Stephens, QUT News.