Jun 2019

Killer Flu is Killing Children Across Australia at an Alarming Rate

Published in News on June 06, 2019

In Victoria, Australia, 26 people have died from a killer flu season, three of which were children aged three, six and eleven. This early start to the flu season in Victoria has led to many concerns about others in the area being affected. This is because many of the flu-related death cases have been people who were in an aged-care residency.

Chief Health Officer Angie Bone stated to 3AW radio that "it's certainly not showing any signs of tapering off, but it's not showing any signs of suddenly taking off with a massive increase”. It is currently unknown if the early arrival of the flu season in Victoria will lead to an equally early end. Dr. Bone said that so far, 10,683 confirmed flu cases have been reported since the current season started late last year.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos believes that the early start to the flu season has been caused by people traveling along the northern hemisphere when the flu has been at an all-time high for the year in that area. These people then return home, spreading the flu to other people.

Ms. Mikakos stated that "We are seeing a lot of communicable diseases spread through overseas travel, that's certainly been the case in terms of measles cases and flu cases. We have seen a very significant summer flu season this year as a result of people coming back from the northern hemisphere with the flu and that spreading in the community".

Also according to Ms. Mikakos, the death of three children in the state of Victoria from flu-related causes are highly peculiar. She said that "(Juvenile flu deaths) do tend to be associated with situations where there might be other illnesses and vulnerabilities involved with those children’.

With the early rise of flu contributing to the death of 26 people, the Victorian federal government is running a programme to assist those in need to get their flu shots and allow children five years of age and younger to receive their urgently needed shots for free. Ms. Mikakos stated that "we have put in an order for a record number of flu vaccines this year, two million flu vaccines for Victorians are available".

The Royal Children’s hospital and Monash Medical Centre provide immunisation services for their in-patient and out-patients in the hospital.