HEALTH CRISIS: Doctors are now urging locals to get the flu jab following 51 flu-related deaths recorded in the state.
HEALTH CRISIS: Doctors are now urging locals to get the flu jab following 51 flu-related deaths recorded in the state. PETER CARRUTHERS

Flu crisis escalates after death in Darling Downs

A DEATH in the Darling Downs has sent ripples of fear through the community as the state's flu crisis continues.

Darling Downs Public Health Unit Acting Director Dr Katie Panaretto confirmed there had been one death attributed to flu in the Darling Downs Health area between January 1 and July 9 this year.

"For the period from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019 Dalby Hospital had eight patients discharged after treatment for influenza, and Chinchilla Hospital had one patient discharged after treatment for influenza," she said.

Across Queensland there has been 23,947 confirmed flu cases. This is almost five times higher than the five-year average for this time of year, according to Medical Director of Queensland's Immunisation Program, Dr Jonathan Malo.

Dr Malo expressed his concern at the staggering number of flu cases, which include 1,493 hospitalisations, 145 admissions into the ICU, and 51 deaths in Queensland.

Health professionals are urging locals to seek medical assistance if they are exhibiting any symptoms.

Doctors are particularly encouraging people to vaccinate against the "life-threatening" disease.

"The vaccine is safe and one of the best ways to protect children from flu," Dr Malo said.

"So far this year, immunisation providers have ordered almost 1.3 million doses of influenza vaccine, including more than 109,000 paediatric flu vaccines, so there is vaccine available. "The flu vaccine is free for children aged six months to less than five years and I urge parents, if they haven't done so already, to book their children in for a flu vaccine."

"If people suspect they have either condition, it is best to follow up with their GP in the first instance," Dr Panaretto said.

"The confidential phone service, 13 Health is also another option for people who may be unsure of their symptoms and most appropriate course of action."


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