Severe flu cases reported in NSW
NSW Health today reported a rise in the number of severe flu cases requiring intensive care in the last few days.
Communicable Diseases branch director, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, said in the last few days NSW Health had received several reports of severe cases of influenza due to H1N1, the strain that caused last year's pandemic.
“Seven confirmed and one suspected case of severe influenza have so far been reported in the last half of July,” Dr McAnulty said.
The eight patients range in age from 25 to 58 years, with four men and four women, two of whom are pregnant although in one case the infection has not been confirmed.
While the cases are still under investigation, not all are known to have underlying medical conditions.
“Monitoring is indicating that while influenza activity is still at reasonably low levels the trend is increasing and these cases serve as a warning for us all to get prepared,” Dr McAnulty said.
To prevent flu:
- Get vaccinated against influenza, especially if you are at risk of severe disease or care for people who are at risk.
Other simple steps that can help keep you and your family healthier this winter include:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water;
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze;
- Avoid close contact with sick people;
- Stay at home if you are sick and keep sick children at home from school and other activities.
You are at risk of severe disease if you:
- Are pregnant;
- Have an underlying chronic medical condition, such as heart and lung disease; cancer, HIV, asthma or diabetes;
- Are morbidly obese;
- Are Aboriginal.
Parents of children under five who have underlying medical conditions should discuss the benefit of flu vaccination with their doctor.
For a range of health information about flu and how to prevent it, go online to www.health.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/flu/index.asp