Queens­land hard­est hit

State in grip of flu virus

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SUE DUNLEVY

QUEENS­LAND is Aus­tralia’s flu hotspot, with more than 4000 peo­ple test­ing pos­i­tive for the virus so far this year, the high­est num­ber in any state.

Flu cases in Queens­land are run­ning 88 per cent above the five- year av­er­age with the na­tion in a flu ex­plo­sion.

Na­tion­ally more than 2000 peo­ple tested pos­i­tive for the virus last week and cases are more than dou­ble the five- year av­er­age.

A de­lay in the roll­out of the 2015 vac­ci­na­tion is a pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion for the spike.

Health Min­is­ter Sus­san Ley said fam­i­lies should get them­selves vac­ci­nated be­fore the virus reaches its peak in Au­gust.

“With most peo­ple usu­ally tak­ing up to three weeks to de­velop im­mu­nity fol­low­ing their flu shot, now is the time to get your flu jab,” she said.

The more peo­ple who are vac­ci­nated, the less chance the ill­ness spreads through the rest of the com­mu­nity, she said.

There have been al­most 5000 more flu cases re­ported this year than in 2014.

In the six months to July 2, there had been 14,124 flu cases re­ported com­pared to 9258 cases at the same time last year.

This is 100 per cent higher than the five- year av­er­age of flu di­ag­noses, which sits at just 6915 cases by this time of year.

In­fluenza Spe­cial­ists Group chair Dr Alan Hamp­son says these cases rep­re­sented only those who had had a mu­cosal swab for flu at a hos­pi­tal or doc­tors surgery. Other peo­ple with the flu may not doc­tor or get tested.

“You could mul­ti­ply that fig­ure by about 20 or more to get an idea of the to­tal num­ber of cases,” Dr Hamp­son said.

Ini­tial records show in­fluenza has al­ready claimed 34 lives, with one per­son as young as 49 felled by the virus.

Typ­i­cally com­pli­ca­tions from the flu will kill 3000 Aus­tralians each year.

There was a one month de­lay in rolling out the flu vac­ci­na­tion this year be­cause man­u­fac­tur­ers had prob­lems mak­ing enough of the vac­cine.

A sur­vey three weeks ago showed while many more older Aus­tralians had been vac­ci­nated this year only 40- 45 per cent of younger peo­ple at risk from the flu had been vac­ci­nated.

These in­clude preg­nant women, those with car­diac dis­ease, res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems, chronic ill­ness and in­dige­nous Aus­tralians.

Ms Ley said so far this year 4.5 mil­lion doses of flu vac­ci­na­tion had been bought un­der the Na­tional Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Pro­gram ( NIP), which is 200,000 more than were dis­trib­uted in 2014.

The Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer Pro­fes­sor Chris Bag­goley said peo­ple who had the sea­sonal flu vac­cine in 2014 needed to have a new shot in 2015, be­cause there was a rare dou­ble strain change in the vac­cine.

“The 2015 vac­cine con­tains new virus strains which are dif­fer­ent to last year’s to en­sure Aus­tralians were pro­tected,” Pro­fes­sor Chris Bag­goley said.

visit a THERE were plenty of goose­bumps at Mel­bourne’s St Kilda beach yesterday, with mod­els re­veal­ing plenty of skin and the far from glam­orous side of fash­ion.

More than 150 mod­els braved 11C tem­per­a­tures, strip­ping down to their swimwear as they vied for the chance to share the cat­walk with Mon­tana Cox and Jes­sica Gomes in the David Jones spring sum­mer fash­ion launch.

De­signer Bec Cooper from Bec & Bridge joined David Jones head stylist Kelvin Har­ries on the judg­ing panel while mod­els were put through their paces.

Cooper said they were look­ing for con­fi­dent women.

“We are look­ing for strong, healthy, con­fi­dent women to model in this show,” she said.

David Jones cat­walks have be­come syn­ony­mous with launch­ing the ca­reers of mod­els in­clud­ing Abbey Lee Ker­shaw, Sarah Mur­doch, Gemma Ward, Cather­ine McNeil and Kristy Hinze.

Pic­ture: JAKE NOWAKOWSKI

MODEL ROW: Tess Shana­han and Laura de Wit model swim­suits at St Kilda beach.

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