Health authorities will spend more money on diagnosing influenza next year. Queensland is still recovering from one of the worst flu seasons on record.

Jessamy Tredinnick reports.

TRANSCRIPT

More than 5,500 cases required hospitalisation this year.

So health officials gathered in Brisbane to discuss how to fight the flu in 2018.

They’ve decided to give free influenza vaccines to children under five.

Cameron Dick, Health Minister: “Of all the vaccine-preventable diseases in Australia, the flu causes the most hospitalisations, flu causes the most hospital admissions for children and the most deaths for children.”

The State Government will invest around $3 million.

It’s aimed at detecting the virus within 30 minutes, cutting hospital admissions.

Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer: “We know that the quicker you can diagnose flu, the quicker you can start managing that patient.”

The flu virus mutates between seasons, threatening an epidemic.

The vaccine has become less effective, with up to 85 per cent of those who had the jab getting infected, but doctors say prevention by vaccine and cleanliness is still the best defence, and warn about complacency.

Sheridan Ireland, QUT Student and Flu Sufferer: “It wasn’t that I actively avoided it, it just didn’t really come to my mind until it was too late.”

Jessamy Tredinnick, QUT News.