KeepHealthCare.ORG – Flu warning for NSW as child dies
If you can, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue before you sneeze.
Seventeen of them contracted influenza A (H1N1), which authorities say is emerging as the predominant strain this year.
While child vaccination rates in NSW have climbed to record levels, some parents in the anti-vaccination heartlands, which include some of Sydney’s wealthier areas, are still resisting, Fairfax Media has reported.
Northern NSW had the lowest vaccination rates at all three milestones, with 87.8 per cent of one-year-olds fully vaccinated, close to 9 per cent lower than the local health district with the highest rates, Far West Local Health District.
There were 256 confirmed flu cases for the week ending July 8, which is markedly less than the 6449 cases reported in the same week in 2017, but higher than the previous week’s tally of 178, according to the latest surveillance figures.
“Almost all of the 256 confirmed flu cases contracted influenza A (H1N1) … which first emerged as pandemic influenza in 2009,” Dr Chant said.
“While confirmed cases represent only a proportion of influenza activity in the community, this is an indication that the start of the flu season will occur later this year.”
Australia experienced one of the worst flu seasons last year since 2009 and in NSW more than 650 people died from complications associated with flu, with many more hospitalised.
Dr Chant said the NSW Government was spending $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs to minimise the spread of flu this season.
This included $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.75 million immunisation and influenza prevention campaign.
“It’s not too late to vaccinate and we’re encouraging everyone, particularly pregnant women and the parents of young children, to arrange the flu shot before the season starts,” she said.
“The free flu shots for children under five will save parents up to $50 per child (as two doses are required in the first year of vaccination).”
While vaccination is the best protection against the flu, she said everyone could help prevent the spread of the flu by coughing and sneezing into their elbow, cleaning their hands, and staying home when they’re sick.
Esther Han is a health reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald. She has previously been consumer affairs editor and also covered food and wine.
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