Flu numbers continue to drop

Source: Livelight Clinic

This year’s influenza season – one of the longest on record – is continuing to wane, with NSW Health recording another drop in flu cases over the past week.

The NSW Health Influenza Surveillance Report shows 2,405 cases for the week ending 22 September, down from 3,090 the previous week.

NSW Health’s Executive Director of Health Protection, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, said presentations to emergency departments for the flu have finally stabilised to the usual levels for this time of year.

“Although both influenza A and B strains continue to decline and we’re now seeing lower hospital admissions, the overall rate of diagnosed influenza cases remains above the seasonal threshold,” Dr McAnulty said.

“However, it is important to note the flu season is not over and people still need to take precautions to stop it spreading.

“Outbreaks in residential aged care facilities continue to be reported but are declining, with eight incidents in the last week.”

The total number of influenza cases reported this year to date is 107,682. There have been 23 additional deaths reported during the week ending 22 September, bringing the total fatalities to 258 for 2019.

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 is investing about $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

These include $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.