Influenza Epidemic on the Brink

Influenza Epidemic on the Brink Loren Kearns

According to the Australian Medical Association, Queensland is on the brink of an influenza epidemic with thousands of cases been diagnosed just this month (August). 

Epidemics occur when there are minor changes in the nature of the virus, which means that more people in a community are susceptible. 

Figures show that there have been more than 12,000 confirmed cases this year up until August. Half of these cases were diagnosed this month itself with 92 people needed hospitalisation. 

With these figures announced, the Australian Medical Association, said that this year is shaping up to be the worst flu season in decades and the beginning of an influenza B epidemic. 

The World Health Organisation's delayed recommendation to add the Influenza B strain to the vaccine was late for our season.  The delay of the flu vaccine this year was also having an effect, and a new 4 strain, flu vaccine that includes influenza B strain has only recently been released. 

This vaccine is not subsidised by the Government, therefore not many people have had it. It is advised that people should be vaccinated, even if they have already contracted the flu. It will only cost $20 to $30 to cover this specific vaccine.

It is advised that older people an young children should especially seek it out, as they are more prone to it as well as anyone who has a condition that affects their immune system. 

The National Health and Medical Research Council suggests that the recommended exclusion period for a child that has contracted Influenza from childcare is until the child is well again and symptoms have stopped. 

For more information regarding signs, symptoms and prevention of Influenza, read: Influenza (Flu)

Sourced from: ABC News

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Last modified on Wednesday, November 16, 2016

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