Healthy, young people not immune from flu complications
Healthy, young people not immune from flu complications

Queensland’s flu danger zones revealed

QUEENSLANDERS in their 20s and 30s are among those who have died from the flu this year.

Demographic data of at least 25 confirmed flu deaths this year show five people aged under 60 were among them, including one in the 20-24-year age bracket and another aged 35 to 39.

Eighteen were in the at-risk elderly age brackets of 65 years and older.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young warned that serious flu complications could occur in people not considered "at risk".

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young urges people to get vaccinated against the flu, saying fit, healthy people are not immune from developing serious complications. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young urges people to get vaccinated against the flu, saying fit, healthy people are not immune from developing serious complications. Picture: Jamie Hanson

"People who are perfectly fit and healthy can also develop complications," Dr Young said.

"It's really important that people go out now and get vaccinated against the flu. It takes two weeks before you get immunity.

"We're not yet into the flu season but we expect that will shortly arrive."

Health Minister Steven Miles backed Dr Young in pushing flu vaccinations, concerned about the danger of a "very bad flu season", with the peak not expected to hit until July-August.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles says he’s concerned 2019 is shaping as “potentially a very bad flu season”. Picture: Darren England
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles says he’s concerned 2019 is shaping as “potentially a very bad flu season”. Picture: Darren England

Queensland Health's latest weekly influenza surveillance report shows that more than 10,400 people have tested positive for the virus so far this year - almost 3.5 times more than what would normally be expected for this time of year.

Of those, 848 have required admission to public hospitals, including 78 treated in intensive care.

The data shows Townsville has been particularly badly hit with five confirmed influenza deaths in 2019 - the same as the Metro North Hospital and Health Service which encompasses a much bigger population.

"We've seen more flu in the northern part of the state," Dr Young said.

"They have flu all year round because they're in the tropics so they don't have that traditional cooler weather that we tend to associate with the flu.''

A map showing the locations of Queensland's flu deaths in 2018.
A map showing the locations of Queensland's flu deaths in 2018.

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