Health Department data shows 20 confirmed cases of flu last week, with cases increasing in the Eastern States.
Associate Professor Chris Blyth, from The University of Western Australia’s School of Paediatrics and Child Health, is a flu expert. He said the virus traditionally moves from the east to the west coast within a few weeks.
“For those people who have forgotten to get their flu shot, it’s important that they make this a priority now if they want to be protected before the flu season really hits,” Associate Professor Blyth said.
“The vaccine usually takes around two weeks to provide good protection, and this is particularly important for those most at risk, such as the elderly, children under five and people with chronic illness.”
An infectious diseases researcher with the UWA affiliate, the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Associate Professor Blyth said there had been an encouraging response from parents of young children.
“We’ve had almost double the number of young children vaccinated against ‘flu this year compared with last year,” he said.
“With our new monitoring program in place, we can confidently say there has been no unexpected reaction to this year’s vaccine.”
Associate Professor Blyth said there were no indication of the likely severity of this ‘flu season and that the best preparation to avoid severe illness and pressure on hospitals was vaccination.
Tammy Gibbs (TICHR) (+61 8) 9489 7963 / (+61 4) 08 946 698