Continued warmer weather has seen a drop of about 2000 flu cases in a week, signalling that the longest flu season since 2009 may be drawing to a close.
NSW Health’s Executive Director of Health Protection Dr Jeremy McAnulty said the Influenza Surveillance Report shows 4,006 cases for the week ending 8 September, down from 6,025 the previous week.
“Influenza activity continues to decrease across the state, except in Western NSW where numbers are stable,” said Dr McAnulty.
“However, even though flu presentations at EDs are down, we remind people to please consider visiting their local GP, medical centre or pharmacy if their illness is not an emergency.
“Also, outbreaks in residential aged care facilities have declined, but continue to be reported, so we remind people to not visit the elderly if they are unwell and to take simple hygiene precautions because the virus can still spread this time of year.”
The yearly total of reported influenza cases is now 101,578. There have been 12 additional deaths reported this week, bringing the total fatalities to 214 for 2019.
Dr McAnulty said while not all patients infected with flu get tested, the number of tests done has more than doubled in recent years in NSW.
Around 2.5 million doses of Government-funded flu vaccines have been distributed across NSW.
People aged 65 and over, pregnant women, Aboriginal people and people with certain medical conditions are eligible for free flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program. The free state-funded vaccine is available to all children aged six months to five years.
The NSW Government will invest about $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines, including $2.6 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.5 million immunisation and influenza awareness campaign.