The Winter chill is setting in but influenza remains at bay, with the latest weekly tally of confirmed flu cases across NSW only a third of what it was 12 months ago.
Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Director Health Protection NSW Health, said the latest Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report shows just 82 confirmed flu cases for the week ending 27 May, compared to 255 this time last year, and lower than last week’s tally of 91.
“We’re off to a good start to Winter but it’s important people maintain healthy hygiene habits – coughing and sneezing into their elbow, washing hands regularly and saying home when sick – to ward of flu and other viruses,” Dr McAnulty said.
“If you’re yet to have your flu shot please call ahead to your GP to check they have the right vaccine for you.”
The NSW Government is spending a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs in 2017-18. This includes $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.75 million immunisation and influenza prevention campaign.
Dr McAnulty said Commonwealth supply of vaccines under the National Immunisation Program remains tight but NSW Health is continuing to closely manage the distribution of Commonwealth vaccines across the state so they can be given to those who need them.
“We’re pleased the Commonwealth Government has sourced additional vaccines from overseas and we expect some will arrive in NSW shortly.
“Our State supply of vaccines for children under five years is available state-wide and we encourage parents to take up this offer for a free vaccine.
“Children in this age group are particularly susceptible to the flu and are at greater risk of being hospitalised so it’s very important they have their flu shot,” Dr McAnulty said.
NSW Health will continue to closely monitor flu case numbers and will issue an Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report every Friday to keep the community up to date on influenza activity.
The following good hygiene habits help prevent the spread of influenza and other infections:
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow
- Clean your hands regularly
- Stay home when sick.
The Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report can be viewed on the NSW Health website.