Don't underestimate 'lethal' flu, doctor warns
A LEADING doctor is urging all parents to have their children vaccinated as we head into what could be a "lethal" flu season.
Lismore pediatrician Chris Ingall, confirmed two infectious strains are doing the rounds with around 40,000 influenza notifications in Australia for 2019.
As more than 10,000 of which were recorded in NSW, about three times the numbers at the same time last year, Dr Ingall said it is critical people get the vaccination as soon as possible.
"Don't underestimate the flu," he said.
"It's not just a virus, it's lethal."
In 2017, 650 people died from influenza in NSW.
Dr Ingall said families can ensure the safety of their children as there are now vaccination safe for children aged from six months upwards.
"The moist vulnerable to the flu are the very young and the old," he said.
"As a pediatrician it is a critical all children are fully vaccinated now, if we can get our vaccination rates up we can minimise its effect.
"As a doctor I would speak on behalf of all doctors in our region, as vaccination is the highest priority and I urge everyone to go out and have the flu vaccination."
NSW Health reported in the week ending April 28, 2019, 24 people in Northern NSW were found to have the disease, compared to 28 in the previous four weeks.
Of 478 lab-confirmed influenza cases in the week of April 21-27, influenza A strains accounted for over 90 per cent of notifications.
NSW Health many people with influenza in the community do not get tested, so these figures may be higher.
Currently data shows three times as many people have been diagnosed with the virus so far this year, compared to the same period in previous years.
In March, more than 10,000 people were diagnosed with the flu compared to 3173 in March 2018.
North Coast Public Health Unit director Paul Corben said one million flu vaccines have now been delivered across NSW.
He said free flu vaccines are available for pregnant women, Aboriginal people, those aged over 65, and anyone with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.