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Flu Season in New South Wales Tracked to be Worst On Record

New South Wales looks set for its worst flu season on record, with half-year figures showing confirmed cases are 21 per cent higher than the previous worst year.

More than 5,600 cases have already been confirmed in the state so far this year — well over the 4,477 cases confirmed from January 1 to June 30 in 2009.

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said having large amounts of people sick puts a strain on the community.

“It has an impact on emergency departments with people going to emergency departments when they’re sick,” he said.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to get a flu shot, there’s still time.”

Doctor Vicky Sheppeard from NSW Health said it is definitely the highest number of flu notifications at this stage of the year.

“Some of that is due to increased testing, other data also shows us that the season has started and it started a bit earlier.”

In most of Australia, the peak flu season usually runs from August to September but this year NSW Health is expecting peak season to hit by the end of July.

“If people haven’t already had their flu shot then now is the time to get it done,” Doctor Sheppeard said.

“Certain groups in the community like pregnant women and people with underlying health problems are eligible for a free flu vaccine each year but everyone else is recommended to get it and they can get it from their GP or their pharmacy.”

The flu vaccine produces a relatively short-lived immune response of about 6-12 months after vaccination so people need to update their flu shot every year.

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