Gympie Hospital .
Gympie Hospital .

For first time in 5 years Gympie’s numbers are 0

THE Gympie region has recorded no flu cases for the month of April for the first time in five years.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service public health unit director Dr Rosie Muller said the data confirmed the introduction and strengthening of physical distancing reduced the number of influenza cases across the region in recent weeks.

“In April, there were zero confirmed cases of influenza reported to Queensland Health for residents of the Gympie Regional Council area,” Dr Muller said.

“For the past five years, there have been between 1 and 4 confirmed cases of influenza reported in April for this region.”

Queensland Health data shows SCHHS’s lab-confirmed influenza cases have been in free fall and the health service reported just nine cases in April for the Sunshine Coast region, which also includes Gympie and Noosa.

Between January and March 31, before distancing rules were strengthened, the region had a total of 359 flu cases, with a peak in February of 136.

While Queensland Health noted that there may have been more testing required for specimens collected in April at the time of publishing, it is still a dramatic decline compared to the 145 cases in the region last April.

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Dr Muller said it was particularly important this year for residents to receive the influenza vaccination.

“We are always concerned about the coming influenza season,” she said.

“Making predictions about flu seasons is challenging.

“This year, we are particularly concerned about how people will fare if they have influenza and Covid at the same or similar time and making sure our health system is ready to respond.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said social distancing meant flu numbers had been low so far but people should plan to get vaccinated ahead of the peak season from June to September.