Urgent flu warning as more than 600 people DIE from the illness this year – and doctors say the virus is still spreading
- More than 50,000 people have been diagnosed with the flu in Victoria this year
- The figures also show that more than 100 Victorians have died from influenza
- The flu warning from VIC Health comes days after NSW Health issues an alert
- NSW has the highest recorded quarterly flu patient numbers on record
More than 600 people have died from the flu so far in 2019 and health experts warn the numbers will continue to climb as the virus spreads.
An Australian Health Department spokesman told Daily Mail Australia 666 people have died from the flu as of September 13 with a case fatality rate of 0.24% from 275,088 notifications.
The number of deaths dwarfed the five year average of 290 and health experts have warned the virus will continue to spread and likely take more lives.
In Victoria more than 100 people, including eight children, have died from influenza so far this year.
More than 50,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus across Victoria alone.
Victorian health department data shows 105 people who died from the flu were living in residential aged care.
More than 100 Victorians, including eight children, have died from influenza so far this year
Of the other 20 living in the broader community, 12 were adults and eight were children under the age of 15.
The figures run up to August 31 and compare with data from the start of that month showing there had been at least 75 flu-related deaths and 40,000 cases of the virus.
The department says the flu is still spreading with the Hume region in the north of the state has seen a nine per cent increase in cases.
The week ending September 24 saw a sharp drop off in reported numbers of influenza patients before spiking rapidly over the following two weeks.
‘It is timely to remind Victorians to remain vigilant and protect themselves and others from spreading the virus through cough etiquette, hand hygiene and staying home if ill,’ a Victoria Health spokesman said in a statement.
The same warning extends to every other part of the country where influenza notification numbers have increased compared to 2018.
NSW Health Acting Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Wood said they had recorded the highest patient numbers of any other quarter on record for the state.
Public hospitals across NSW saw almost 755,000 patients attend emergency departments in April, May, and June, an increase of 8.2 per cent, or around 57,000 more than the same quarter of last year.
The deaths come as more than 50,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus across Victoria in 2019 (stock image)
Meanwhile in Queensland there has been 2,603 hospitalisations for influenza so far in 2019 with a total of 83 patients dying as a result.
South Australia experienced a massive spike of cases with 23,736 notifications as of September 8 which is up from only 2,118 cases reported for the same period last year with more than 100 deaths by the start of September.
Tasmania has avoided the huge patient numbers being experienced by other states having only recorded 1,926 cases of influenza from January to the beginning of August.
Between the start of January and the beginning of September ACT Health recorded 3,402 notifications of influenza, the worst flu season in the territories history, which has already claimed the lives of ten people.