TWO people in the Wide Bay have lost their lives from the flu this year, but the virus could have contributed to more deaths.

And this year’s record flu numbers show no sign of slowing down, with about 250 laboratory-confirmed cases in just the past two weeks in the Wide Bay.

Entire families are being struck down with flu-like symptoms and parents are being urged to vaccinate young children, House Call Doctor said on Friday.

The organisation said almost half of all calls to the after-hours service in the past few days had been related to children with flu-like symptoms.

Doctors in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay said they had seen nearly 60 children, and in at least 10 of those cases the entire family was sick.

The comments came as Queensland Health’s medical director of the immunisation program, Dr Jonathan Malo, said children under five had a much higher risk of complications from the flu, and contributed to the spread of flu in the community.

Across the state this year there have been 2203 lab-confirmed flu notifications for children younger than five years, including 169 admissions to public hospitals and 10 in ICU.

“We know this age group is particularly susceptible to potentially fatal complications from flu, such as sepsis and pneumonia, because their immune system is still developing and they may lack previous exposure to flu,” Dr Malo said.

“The flu vaccine is free for children aged six months to less than five years and I urge parents, if they haven’t done so already, to book their children in for a flu vaccine.” Wide Bay public health physician Dr Margaret Young was unable to confirm the age of those who had died from influenza in the Wide Bay this year but did confirm the two deaths.

“We are unable to comment on these numbers, and note that it is very likely that influenza has contributed to other deaths, particularly in people with existing chronic conditions,” she said.

Original Source: News Mail | 15 July 2019