Monday, 9 July 2012The NT Centre for Disease Control is urging Territorians not yet vaccinated against influenza 2012 to take this opportunity to do so as the number of influenza cases being notified locally continues to increase.
"So far in 2012 there have been 181 cases of confirmed influenza, 60 cases have been reported in Darwin, and just over half (33) of these cases required hospitalisation, some in intensive care," CDC Director Dr Vicki Krause said.
"Influenza, commonly known as the flu, may sound minor, and it is often regarded as similar to the common cold. But flu really is of a higher order, with unpleasant symptoms such as fever, sore throat and muscle aches that develop suddenly and may last up to two weeks."
Dr Krause said influenza is caused by a virus which spreads easily from person to person through respiratory secretions that are produced during coughing or sneezing.
"It can affect anyone, especially people with underlying medical conditions, amongst whom it can have serious impacts."
These important steps they can take to protect people from influenza infection -
· Get vaccinated every year. Vaccination offers the best protection against the flu.
· Cough or sneeze into your upper arm to prevent the spread of infected droplets.
· Do not go to work, school or community functions when you are experiencing influenza like symptoms.
· Wash your hands frequently with either soap and water or gel to prevent the spread of infected droplets
The influenza vaccine is safe and effective in preventing severe influenza illness and it must be given every year. People most at risk of the complications from influenza can receive a free vaccine by visiting their GP, Community Care Centre or Aboriginal Medical Service. They include:
Everyone 65 years and over; all Indigenous people 15 years and over; all pregnant women (safe to be given in all stages of pregnancy); and anybody over 6 months of age with impaired immunity such as those with chronic illnesses.
Those in close contact with people at high risk of influenza complications should also be vaccinated. These include health care workers, nursing home staff and household members of those in high-risk groups.
For more information visit: http://www.health.nt.gov.au/Flu/Vaccination/index.aspx
Media inquiries: Judith Hughey 89 992 751