Why has 2018 seen a dramatic increase?

As the mercury falls across Queensland and the flu season proper strikes, it’s been revealed there has been a 256 per cent increase in the number of flu cases in 2018, compared to five years ago.

This jump has come as a surprise to many, including experts, despite the unprecedented demand for influenza vaccines across the nation.

So, why has there been such a dramatic increase in flu cases? Here’s what you need to know.

The comparison

Given the coverage of the flu season so far and the shortage of vaccines across the nation, it’s not surprising 2018 was predicted to be one of the worst years for the flu yet.

Though, exactly how big is the jump in confirmed cases?

Between January 1 to June 6, experts discovered:

  • In 2013, there were just 3,919 confirmed cases of the flu, while;
  • In 2018, there are already 13,972 confirmed cases this year.

This period was specifically chosen as it runs before the ‘official’ flu season in Australia, which typically starts in July.

What is the reason behind this jump?

According to some experts, the shocking increase of flu cases is a clear indication the virus is on the rise and is being brought to Australia by travellers in early months of the year.

However, others believe the increase in confirmed cases may simply be a result of doctors ordering a higher number of tests to confirm flu in patients than they did five years ago.

As of the beginning of June, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has released 9.6 million doses of flu vaccines across Australia. Meanwhile, only 8.3 million doses of the vaccine were released in 2017.

Many experts, including Pharmacy Guild of Queensland vice-president Chris Owen, believe the record demand for the vaccine is because of last year’s flu season.

2017 saw more than 1,100 deaths across Australia as a result of the flu season and reinforced the importance of getting immunised.

As well as the flu vaccine, alternative tips to preventing the flu can be seen below.

Have you already suffered from the flu this season?