AT LEAST 25 Queenslanders have died of the influence so far this year, more than half of the number for all 2018, with the peak of the season still to hit.
Figures obtained from Courier-Mail from the Queensland Health show the deaths from influenza increased by 56% compared to the 16 registered in the same period last year.
With confirmed cases of flu running at more than three times the five-year average in this time of year, Queensland is on track to exceed 2018 total of 43 flu deaths.
Queensland Health usually does not release data on flu-related deaths, but has taken the unusual step of providing numbers this year, following a request for Courier-Mail and encourage people to get an influenza vaccination.
Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer of Queensland, used the data to invite people to get flu shots as soon as possible.
"The flu is a serious viral disease," he said.
"It's not the same as a common cold and these figures clearly show how serious the complications can be: vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu."
So far this year, 10,328 cases of laboratory confirmed influenza have been recorded in Queensland and since the beginning of the year more than 800 people have been admitted to public state hospitals, including 73 who needed it. of intensive care.
The death data were extracted from the Birth, Death and Birth Notification Registry and flu experts say it is "almost certainly" an underestimation of real numbers.
To be included in the data, "influence" must be recorded on a person's death certificate and the virus must have been confirmed in a laboratory.
In a bad year, immunization experts like Professor Paul Van Buynder, of Griffith University, estimate that in the whole of Australia, around 4,000 people die from the flu. Many of them are elderly.
The professor. Van Buynder said the experts were perplexed about the highest number of usual flu infections during this time of year.
"What we do know is that we are seeing a mix of two different influenza viruses circulating and that it is helping to increase the influence notifications because it means that different age groups are being attacked by different flu viruses," he said.
"It is unusual to have both running at the same time, we often see one at the beginning and then the other appears later, but at the moment we are seeing H1N1 and H3N2 in circulation at the same time.
"It is more likely that one has effects on children and young adults and the other on older people, but they are both around so that everyone will have an impact."
The president of the Australian Medical Association, the president of Queensland, Dilip Dhupelia, in particular urged the pregnant woman to get a flu shot.
"They have a precious unborn baby and we need them to be protected," said Dr. Dhupelia.
"Pregnant women are twice as likely to be hospitalized with flu complications than non-pregnant women."
He said that vaccination during pregnancy was estimated to reduce the risk of influenza in children under six months by about half.
The dott. Dhupelia said it was "extremely important" for people with flu symptoms to stay at home and not go to work, putting colleagues' health at risk.
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