Gympie caught up in Qld's flu epidemic

IF IT seems like almost everybody you know has the flu or some sort of "bug" right now, it is not surprising.

The Gympie region is caught up in a flu epidemic with the anticipated number of cases across Australia jumping by 47% this winter compared to last year.

And Queensland has a worse case than any other state.

More than 5600 Queenslanders have already tested positive to influenza this year, beating New South Wales' 4077 cases and outstripping other states.

But many more people are laid up with the illness than official stats reveal, with lab-tested cases representing as few as 2% of those battling the virus.

The Courier-Mail reported yesterday that Queensland cases - mostly of influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B - have eclipsed the previous five years. Queensland Health data shows this year's cases are almost double those at the same time last year. Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service public health physician Dr Andrew Langley said Gympie's health region had so far recorded more than double the average number of flue cases for this time of year.

As of last Sunday, July 26, there were 451 cases of influenza notified to Queensland Health for residents of Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie council areas, Dr Langley said.

"This is only the people who go to the doctor and get tested, and is 2.1 times the five-year average at this time of year," he said.

"Four in five (79%) people notified with influenza this year have been for residents of Sunshine Coast Council area, with most of the remaining living in Noosa council area.

"The most recent available data indicates 22 people have been hospitalised with influenza at Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service hospitals this year."



To prevent spreading the flu:

  •  Talk to your doctor about being vaccinated.
  •  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  •  When you are sick, keep your distance from others; stay at home from work, school and avoid other crowded areas.
  •  Wash hands frequently, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  •  Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  •  Dispose of used tissues in a bin and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
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