WON’T HURT: Dr Rod Day gives The Gympie Times deputy editor Shelley Strachan a flu shot.
WON’T HURT: Dr Rod Day gives The Gympie Times deputy editor Shelley Strachan a flu shot. Craig Warhurst

Flu cases up 50%, Gympie spared so far

GYMPIE has so far been spared the influenza outbreak which has federal authorities worried.

But it is early days yet, according to Gympie Regional Council medical officer Rod Day.

He was responding to news yesterday from Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley, who says flu cases are up more than 50% so far this season, compared to the same period in 2014.

Dr Day said he had heard the news and questioned it, because the figures do not seem to have been reflected in Gympie.

"We haven't seen any influenza outbreak," he said.

But it is not Brisbane Ekka time yet "and that does seem to be a mixing ground for the bugs".

Ms Ley said 14,124 flu cases had been reported so far this year across Australia, compared to 9258 cases at the same time in 2014.

This figure included nearly 2000 cases reported in the past week.

"We've had nose colds and sniffles, runny nose, congestion, a bit of a cough, which people do sometimes tend to call 'the flu.'

"But we haven't had any reports of the true influenza at all at our three practices."

One possible reason, he said was that Gympie might be reaping the rewards of an above average uptake of influenza vaccine.

"We've had very good uptake of the vaccine.

"It would be lovely to think that we've got some sort of protection from that," he said.

Ms Ley indicated she would like the rest of the country to follow that sort of example.

She said vaccination was the single most effective way to protect against the flu, which contributed to more than 3000 Australian deaths annually.

"Last year's flu season was one of the worst on record and we have already seen a 50% increase or almost 5000 extra cases," she said. "The more people who are vaccinated, the less chance of it spreading."


National flu figures up 50%

Number in Gympie - zero or close to it

Flu contributes to 3000 deaths in Australia each year

Peak period August to September