INFLUENZA outbreaks at Riverina aged care facilities have sparked calls for vigilance against a late winter flu season.
According to laboratory data received by Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), there has been 159 reported cases of influenza so far this month.
This compares with only 288 reported cases during August.
MLHD’s Public Health director Tracey Oakman said the region was experiencing a later flu season than the rest of the state.
Outbreaks had been recorded in aged care facilities, she said.
“We’ve seen a really big peak of flu in that last three week period,” Mrs Oakman said.
“What the data looks like now is that rate is coming down so this may be our peak.”
Those in the workforce formed the highest percentage of reported cases, which could be due to a greater need for doctor’s certificates, Mrs Oakman said.
“The biggest age groups are in the 25 to 44 year olds,” she said.
“The next age is the next group up so the 45 to 60 year olds.”
Wagga general practitioner Max Graffen said he had noticed a spike in cases coming to his practice.
“The past three weeks I’d say we’ve had an outbreak of influenza A,” he said.
“They’re coming through thick and fast.
“In the course of this [Thursday] morning I’ve seen about three or four cases.”
Dr Graffen said influenza symptoms included a cough, headache and general aches and pains which would last for a few days.
It would usually take about a week for a full recovery, but if recovery was taking longer than normal you should seek further medical advice, he said.
Northside Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Kellie Howard said while it was too late for the flu vaccine this year, the current outbreak should serve as a reminder to get the preventative shot next year.
“It’s good for awareness about getting the vaccine,” she said.
“Hygiene is also very important to try and prevent that spread.”