Bundy flu season not over yet
TEMPERATURES may be warming up but a doctor has warned flu season is far from over in Bundaberg.
GP Links Wide Bay chairman Paul Neeskens said traditionally, Queensland cases of influenza spiked again in the six weeks following the Brisbane Ekka.
“So there’s still a bit of flu around — it’s not over yet,” he said.
He said the flu season in Bundaberg often continued until the end of spring, when warmer weather kicked in.
As well as common flu strains, health authorities have reported a rise in swine flu cases in New Zealand and three recent infections in Cairns, including a man who was transferred to Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital in a critical but stable condition.
Two others, both men in their 50s, remain in Cairns Base Hospital.
Queensland Health infectious disease expert Dr Enzo Binotto said while the H1N1 pandemic was over, recent hospitalisations were a reminder for those at risk of developing complications to stay vigilant.
“We just worry that there is a degree of circulation of the virus in the community and that there are still some vulnerable people out there,” he said.
Dr Neeskens said the H1N1 virus would not cause as much disruption this year as when the pandemic hit last winter.
“Swine flu is just one of the flu strains around,” he said.
“It’s obvious now that swine flu was no more serious than any other flu in terms of the severity of illness — it was a concern last year because of the number of people it affected.”
He said it was not too late for vulnerable people to get a flu jab, which would also cover them against swine flu.
The vaccination is available free of charge for people aged over 65 or those who suffer chronic health conditions that put them at risk.
However, simple health and hygiene precautions are also important.
“Be careful where you cough and sneeze, and make sure you wash your hands frequently,” Dr Neeskens said.
The flu is still spreading through Bundaberg.
The elderly and people with chronic health conditions are encouraged to get vaccinated against seasonal flu.
Three men from the Cairns region have been hospitalised with swine flu in the past few weeks.