State outbreak yet to hit North
City spared flu plague
A BLUEWATER grandmother has photographed one of Australia’s rarest avian spectacles, a black kookaburra.
Bonzenka “Bonnie” Steff spotted the rare black bird ( above) in her backyard on Monday morning and on her front gate later that afternoon.
“We have lived here for 22 years and have never seen one,” she said.
“At first my husband thought it was a black crow. It didn’t seem shy at all, staying around for about 20 minutes as I took photographs.
“My husband got a video of it sitting on the gate with its mother.”
The young bird’s mother had the usual markings of a kookaburra.
Thuringowa Bird Club president Kel Viddle said the sighting of a black kookaburra was rare.
“They are extremely rare — second only to an albino kookaburra,” he said.
“They are not meant to be black so it is most likely a melanistic mutation.
“When people hear mutation they assume the bird is deformed but the actual physical attributes aren’t usually affected.”
Mr Viddle said he believed the condition may affect about one in 10,000 kookaburras.
He said he could not recall any other sightings in Townsville during his decade with the bird club. “It is a special sighting,” he said. It is understood a wildlife carer, who also lives in Bluewater, may have spotted the same bird in recent weeks. TOWNSVILLE appears to be immune to Queensland’s flu outbreak with less cases recorded in 2015 than this time last year.
Statewide the number of people coming down with the flu has risen by 25 per cent while flu cases in Townsville have decreased compared with 2014.
In 2014 between January 1 and June 30, 253 people caught the flu in Townsville compared with 237 so far this year.
Townsville Public Health Unit director Dr Steven Donohue said vaccination was the best way to prevent catching the flu.
“The best way to protect yourself again influenza is to get your annual vaccination. There is still time for people to
“When it was sitting on the fence in the afternoon we were actually showing the photographs to our grandchildren,” she said.
“Then my husband called out that it was back so the children actually got to see it with their own eyes.
“They were rapt.”
Influenza vaccine, protecting against
the three top circulating strains, is recommended for everyone from six months of age
DR STEVEN DONOHUE
benefit from influenza vaccine because the seasonal outbreak has not really taken off in North Queensland,” he said.
“Influenza vaccine, protecting against the three top circulating strains, is recommended for everyone from six months of age.”
Statewide 3940 have been diagnosed with the flu compared with 2958 this time last year while there have been 34 reported flu- related deaths across the country. So far this year, 21 people in Townsville have been hospitalised for influenza.
The very young or old, pregnant women, indigenous people and those with chronic diseases are most at risk of contracting the flu.
Dr Donohue said it was important people displaying symptoms stay home from work or school.
“Influenza is usually spread through infected people coughing and sneezing, which temporarily contaminates the surrounding air and surfaces with infected droplets,” he said.
“The symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, muscle and joint pain, tiredness/ extreme exhaustion, headache, sore throat.”
To receive a flu vaccination visit a doctor or immunisation provider.
For more information, visit conditions. health. qld. gov. au.