QUEENSLAND is in the grip of peak influenza season, with more than 1300 people struck down by the flu in the past week.
Flu season usually occurs between May and October, and with more than 1100 hospital admissions this year alone, the acting executive director of communicable diseases, Dr Heidi Carroll, said flu season in Queensland is “well underway”.
“Typically the elderly, young children, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions are more severely affected,” Dr Carroll said.
The flu surge has forced Toowoomba’s all-girls school Fairholme College to close today to cope with an outbreak of influenza affecting almost 1000 students.
Experts have urged people who missed their flu vaccination to book in now as “full protection against influenza is usually achieved within 10 to 14 days”.
Metro North Hospital and Health Service’s director of critical care, Dr Colin Myers, said emergency departments were struggling to cope with the number of flu cases crowding the corridors, and he urged people to go to hospital during “emergencies only”.
“This is a timely reminder for the community to use emergency departments for emergencies only,” Dr Myers said.
According to Queensland Health, influenza A has accounted for 90 per cent of cases this year, with the less severe influenza B accounting for 10 per cent.
Cases are expected to rise markedly over the next few weeks, with GPs preparing for an influx of patients.
Southeast Queensland has recorded the state’s highest number of flu cases – almost 7 per cent more than central Queensland, and more than 10 per cent more than the state’s tropics. Women aged between 30 and 39 have accounted for the highest number of flu cases so far.