Aged care home in lockdown amid influenza outbreak

BREAKING: An aged care home has been locked down as an influenza outbreak grips the region with more than 800 cases reported so far this month.

A unit at Dalby's Karingal Residential Aged Care Facility, housing 39 residents, has been locked down after a confirmed case of the highly contagious influenza A virus.

Several other residents in the unit have reported flu-like symptoms prompting the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service to place them in isolation for the short term.

"There are 39 residents in the affected unit, with next of kin advised that visitors are not able to come to the facility in the short term as there is a risk of spreading the highly contagious illness," the DDHHS spokeswoman said.

"Standard infection control measures have been put in place to manage the outbreak including increased cleaning, hand hygiene, and reinforcement of coughing and sneezing etiquette."

The lockdown follows the temporary closure of Toowoomba's Fairholme College last month after 20% of its student body was diagnosed with the virus, and four nursing homes isolated as a result of influenza A.

The spokeswoman said 171 influenza A cases had been confirmed on the Darling Downs in the past week, and about 800 in the past month.

"The spike in influenza notifications across the Darling Downs has prompted calls for residents to be vigilant about not spreading the highly contagious virus," she said.

Influenza A symptoms include fevers, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and a stuffy nose.

The DDHHS spokeswoman said vaccinations were the best protection against the contagious virus, and any residents showing flu symptoms were urged to stay at home.

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