Downs suf­fers through hor­ror flu sea­son

Chinchilla News - - NEWS -

THE Dar­ling Downs has bat­tled through its worse flu sea­son in more than five years with re­ported cases qua­dru­pling since 2016.

Dar­ling Downs Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice fig­ures show no­ti­fi­ca­tions of In­fluenza A and B have in­creased from 1559 in 2016 to 4867 this year.

Dar­ling Downs Pub­lic Health Unit Di­rec­tor Dr Penny Hutchin­son said changes to the virus meant peo­ple were more sus­cep­ti­ble to fall­ing ill and the flu vac­cine was not as af­fec­tive as in pre­vi­ous years.

“It was a par­tic­u­larly bad flu sea­son,” Dr Hutchin­son said.

“I think the main rea­son is the virus has changed slightly, the in­fluenza virus of­ten changes and sometimes they make very small changes... this may make the vac­ci­na­tion not as af­fec­tive as in pre­vi­ous years.

Dr Hutchin­son said the flu was a “se­ri­ous dis­ease” which should not be un­der­es­ti­mated.

“Peo­ple as­sume it’s not that se­ri­ous, it’s ‘I’ve just got the flu’ but it is a se­ri­ous dis­ease and peo­ple can be very sick from it,” she said.

Dr Hutchin­son said while it had been a longer than usual flu sea­son the num­ber of cases was de­clin­ing and par­ents need not be con­cerned about chil­dren re­turn­ing to school.

“We have had a de­cline in num­bers, last week we had 258 no­ti­fi­ca­tions which fits but it has gone a lit­tle bit longer than usual.

“We have seen a lot of in­fluenza this sea­son in the schools... gen­er­ally once school hol­i­days are over we see a de­cline, we don’t see a peak af­ter school hol­i­days,” she said.

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