A warning for parents has been issued in response to an increase in the number of cases of a highly contagious flu that is spreading through childcare facilities in New South Wales.
The influenza A type, sometimes known as the "kindy flu," is more common in infants and young children, thus health officials advise parents to vaccinate their children.
Despite the fact that it is still early in the flu season, the state has already seen 8704 confirmed cases of influenza, 5500 more than at the same time last year.
1220 of the 8704 incidents involved infants under the age of four, while 1839 involved kids between the ages of five and nine.
Since young children are particularly skilled at transmitting viral infections among themselves, it's no surprise that things are out of control, according to Dr. Charlotte Hespe of the Royal Australian College of GPs NSW.
Ryan Park, the health minister for NSW, advised people to obtain their flu shots as soon as possible. "We're making a very clear message today that parents really need to prioritise having their children vaccinated because we know that influenza is starting to pop up in our preschools, early childhood centres, and in the beginning of school".
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance reports that only 2% of children aged 6 months to 5 years and 1.4% of children aged 5 to 15 had received a flu vaccine this year.
For children under five, the flu shot is free.
Exclusion Periods For Infectious Diseases In Early Childhood Services - The following information details the recommended exclusion periods for infectious diseases. These are based on how long a child/educator with a specific disease is likely to be infectious and to be excluded from the service until they have passed the exclusion period and are well enough to return.
Wave Of Highly Contagious 'Kindy Flu' Prompts Warning For Parents. 9 MSN, Australia