Health experts say now is the time to a flu shot.
Health experts say now is the time to a flu shot. AAP

Flu jabs plea as young adults hit hard

AS THE flu cycle spreads Down Under from the Northern Hemisphere, health experts are warning adults aged between 24 and 64 will be the hardest hit by seasonal influenza this year.

The H1N1 strain has contributed to a record number of hospitalisations among younger patients around the world.

Influenza specialist group chairman Dr Alan Hampson said people were encouraged to take up the 2014 vaccine from this week, which targeted the pandemic H1N1 strain and the Texas A H3N2 and B Massachusetts strains.

"The H1N1 pandemic virus has consistently had its greatest impact in the younger adult group," DrHampson warned.

In the United States, more than 60% of influenza-associated hospitalisations were reported in those aged 18-64, up from just 18% last season.

A survey conducted last November found that while almost 80% of people over 65 years received the vaccine annually, people under 65 were not as willing.

The ISG says so far this year there have been close to 2500 laboratory-confirmed notifications of influenza in Australia.

The majority of those cases have been in Queensland with 853 cases, followed by NSW with 471, Victoria with 365 and SA with 298.