Vaccinations key to containing influenza
The 2018 flu season is not expected to be as bad as last year, when more than 1000 Australians died, but experts want more people vaccinated to protect the broader community.
Robert Booy from the University of Sydney, the director of the Immunisation Coalition, said the strains expected to circulate this winter were unlikely to wreak as much havoc as last year when almost 250,000 people fell ill.
With 90 per cent of deaths last year in people 65 and over, Professor Booy said it was hoped the two new vaccines specifically formulated for older age groups would reduce the flu impact.
He said it was crucial that more Australians, especially those with vulnerable family members, friends, clients or patients, got a flu shot to provide herd immunity.
“If we can get enough healthy people vaccinated, they will become stops to the transmission of virus and therefore protect the vulnerable, be they elderly or cancer patients or pregnant women or babies,” Professor Booy said.
A survey by the Immunisation Coalition found that only 44 per cent of Australians intended to have a flu shot this year. About one in five believed it was unnecessary.
Other infectious diseases also have authorities on alert.
Chief Medical Officer Brendon Murphy yesterday confirmed two recent cases of multidrug resistant gonorrhoea, one in Western Australia and the other in Queensland. These superbugs are notoriously difficult to treat, and have rendered most antibiotics treatments useless.