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Post Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:50 pm
Stephanie Scoundrel

Posts: 65
Australians Warned Of Killer Flu Season - July 11, 2012, 11:31 am

Australian doctors are warning people to protect themselves against a potentially deadly flu virus which has killed seven people and put dozens in hospital.

Doctors have warned the predominant H3N2 strain is associated with increased mortality.

And authorities are concerned not enough people are being vaccinated against it, with 8,000 people already diagnosed with the flu this winter.

Dr Alan Hampson, chairman of the Influenza Specialist Group, says Australia could be set for a severe flu season.

"Compared with last year we've seen about double the number of reported cases at this time of the year, which is pretty early in the season," Dr Hampson said.

"So that could well be indicative that we are running into a fairly severe year with flu.

Dr Hampson says mortality rates could be higher this year than in previous seasons.

"It is just typically that when we get a major outbreak of H3N2 virus in the population, that we do see what we refer to as excess mortality," he said.

"Whether it just means we are having an early season or whether it is going to continue to rise, we can never be completely sure.

"But probably because we've got two different strains in the population compared with the last two or three years, it probably will continue to rise.

The World Health Organisation's Ian Barr says on average only one in five Australians receive a flu vaccination.

"Only 20 per cent of people get vaccinated in any one year," Mr Barr said.

"This year will be no different, so the majority of people are not vaccinated against influenza and they are relying on their previous exposures for their immunity, or they're just prepared to take that chance."

Director of Respiratory Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Professor Lou Irving, says there are measures people can take to avoid contracting the flu.

"The warning is worth heeding in terms of precautionary measures such as making sure that the at risk people have been vaccinated and avoiding people who have got influenza," Professor Irving said.

"And if an individual develops influenza symptoms, they should see their doctor because there is an antiviral treatment that is safe and effective."
Doctors say it can take up to three days for the H3N2 vaccine to take effect and up to two weeks for it to adequately protect someone from the flu.

Post Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:21 am
Hector User avatar

Posts: 388
Location: The Tardis
Slogan: Are you my Mummy?
They never vaccinate you for the one thats doing the rounds anyway so theres no point paying all that money for a vaccination.

“Jews should get the hell out of Palestine. They should go home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else.”

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