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Influenza deaths triple in just one year because of a bad season: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Deaths from the flu have tripled in just one year following an outbreak of the contagious respiratory virus across Australia. 

Influenza fatalities surged from 464 in 2016 to 1,255 last year because of a ‘bad flu season’, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed. 

‘Elderly Australians and those with weakened immune systems, living in the eastern states were most likely to be affected by this increase,’ it said.

Deaths from the flu have tripled in just one year following an outbreak of the contagious respiratory virus – surging from 464 in 2016 to 1,255 last year because of a ‘bad flu season’

An updated map showing flu activity was still widespread particularly in New South Wales and Perth during the winter of 2018

An updated map showing flu activity was still widespread particularly in New South Wales and Perth during the winter of 2018

In winter last year, the federal Department of Health issued a scary map showing the flu was widespread right across Australia in every state and territory, and getting worse.

An updated map this month showed flu activity was still widespread during the winter of 2018, particularly in Sydney, regional New South Wales and Perth.

Heart disease continued to the leading cause of death last year, followed by dementia, stroke, respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

Cancers accounted for 30 per cent of deaths in 2017, with bowel, lymphoma, prostate, pancreatic and breast cancers also making it in the top 20 list.

Heart disease continued to the leading cause of death last year, followed by dementia, stroke, respiratory diseases and lung cancer

Heart disease continued to the leading cause of death last year, followed by dementia, stroke, respiratory diseases and lung cancer

Breast cancer was the sixth most frequent cause of women dying while prostate cancer was the sixth most likely cause of death for men. 

Suicide was the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44 and the leading cause of premature mortality in Australia, despite being the 13th most common fatality overall. 

The median age of people taking their own lives was 44.5, significantly less than the top four leading causes of death, where people died at a median age in their eighties.

Alcohol was still a major factor in deaths resulting from an injury, with 4,186 registered fatalities in 2017.

Women had the highest rate of alcohol-related death in 20 years at seven for every 100,000 people. 

Lung cancer, often linked to smoking, was the fifth most common cause of death in 2017

Lung cancer, often linked to smoking, was the fifth most common cause of death in 2017

ABS program manager of health and disability, Justine Boland, said older men were still more likely to die from alcohol-related activity, 

‘There were 1,366 alcohol-induced deaths in 2017, with those deaths most commonly occurring in males aged in their early 60s and caused by alcoholic liver diseases,’ she said. 

Last year, 160,909 people died in Australia, a ratio of 5.3 per 1,000 people.

The infant mortality rate was even lower at 3.3 deaths for every 1,000 babies born.  

Leading causes of death

 1. Heart disease

2. Dementia and Alzheimers

3. Stroke 

4.  Respiratory diseases

5. Lung cancer

6. Bowel cancer

7. Diabetes

8. Lymphoma blood cancer

9. Influenza

10. Urinary tract disease

 11. Heart failure

12. Prostate cancer

13. Suicide

14. Pancreatic cancer

15. Breast cancer

16. Accidental falls

17. Cardiac arrest

18. Hypertension

19. Skin cancer

20. Unknown 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 

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