INFLUENZA RISE: Director of CQ Public Health Unit Dr Gulam Khandaker said influenza cases in Central Queensland are four times higher than last year.
INFLUENZA RISE: Director of CQ Public Health Unit Dr Gulam Khandaker said influenza cases in Central Queensland are four times higher than last year. Allan Reinikka ROK310519adengue2

Influenza four times higher in CQ

INFLUENZA has hit hard in Central Queensland with confirmed cases four times higher than last year.

Director Central Queensland Public Health Unit, Dr Gulam Khandaker, said 2449 lab-confirmed cases, were reported up to August 25, more than four times higher than the previous total of 513 in the same period.

"Of course, these are the cases that have been tested and confirmed; there are possibly many more cases in the community who don't present for testing,” he said.

Dr Khandaker said it has been a very busy year for Influenza across the country.

"Unlike previous years, in 2019 we observed more flu cases from February to March,” he said.

Terrywhite Chemmart Emerald owner Robyn Daniels said there was a noticeable increase in local cases in the last three weeks.

She said it was vital for anyone effected or showing symptoms, as well as those avoiding it to keep up good general hygiene.

"It's important to wash your hands regularly and to cover your mouth when you cough,” she said.

"If you do have symptoms, you should stay home, rest, keep up your fluids and try to avoid public spaces.”

Dr Khandaker said it's not too late to vaccinate, with free influenza vaccines available to all Queensland children aged between six months and five years through general practices and other childhood immunisation providers.

"In Australia, the vaccine is provided free for those at risk of complications from flu including pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over and people with certain medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza,” he said.

"This year, people aged 65 years and older have access to a specially formulated enhanced flu vaccine.”