09 Aug thousands struck down by spikes in flu and gastro
HAVE you been off work recently? Knocking back the Lemsip? Or even wrapped around the toilet bowl?
Well, if you’re a Sydneysider you’re not alone. In fact the whole city is in the midst of an illness crisis with a sharp rise in the number of flu cases over last year and thousands struck down with gastroenteritis in the last week alone.
It’s a city with a collective snotty nose and upset belly.
“There’s a saying that goes ‘if you’ve seen one flu season, you’ve seen one flu season’,” Kim Sampson, CEO of the Immunisation Coalition told news.com.au.
“In terms of flu, in sheer numbers, now it’s NSW”.
It’ll come as no surprise that the chilly winter nights may be partly to blame. What may be more surprising, however, is that this winter’s lack of rain may also have played a role.
Far from soggy conditions helping a virus do its worse, the opposite is true in most parts of Australia. The cold and dry Sydney weather is creating the prefect storm to rev up the virus.
And flu watchers have said it’s not just kids and the elderly that have to watch out, younger, healthier people are being whacked hard this year too.
It could end up being the worst flu season on record.
MARKED INCREASE IN FLU, GASTRO
On Thursday, NSW Health said there was a 34 per cent increase in viral gastroenteritis notifications across the state over the previous year.
More than 1900 people had attended NSW emergency departments with gastro in the past week alone — more than 400 of those admitted to hospital.
Coupled with that, NSW Health has also said there had been a “marked increase” in presentations to emergency departments for pneumonia and influenza-like illnesses including 53 critical care admissions up to 30 July.
More than 11,000 influenza cases were reported in the state in July with a “spike” in aged care facilities, the Government department said.