High flu rates expected

Tuesday, 11 July 2017.

AN increase in respiratory illnesses at the University Hospital Geelong Emergency Department is reflecting the latest figures showing a rise in Victorian influenza rates.

The Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) has released surveillance showing the number of notified laboratory confirmed influenza cases for the year to 10 July is 81 per cent higher than the same time in 2016.

The VIDRL data suggest a bigger than average season for flu and respiratory viruses, with the peak of activity expected between in one to four weeks.

Barwon Health Infection Prevention Service Manager Paul Simpson said people with flu-like symptoms should especially consider basic methods of reducing the spread of viruses, including cough etiquette, hand washing, and avoiding visiting the elderly or unwell.

“If you have the flu or gastro-like symptoms, it would be sensible to avoid visiting the hospital or elderly people,” he said.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in respiratory illnesses in general.

“There are early signs of a larger than normal flu season, but there is still time for the vaccination and we encourage people to see their GP about protecting themselves against influenza.”

The flu vaccine produces a short-lived immune response of six to 12 months, making annual vaccinations necessary.

Mr Simpson said those experiencing flu-like symptoms should consult their GP and only attend the hospital in an emergency.

Traditional Owners

We, Barwon Health, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land, the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to the Elders both past and present.