Senior people and children are more prone to this year's virus
Senior people and children are more prone to this year's virus

Emergency delivery of anti-virals to CQ nursing homes

The anti-viral drug Tamiflu will be rushed to nursing homes through Hospital and Health Services, including Central Queensland, in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly flu virus. 

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said flu notifications in the region were 350 per cent above the long-term average.

"So far this year, we've seen 474 flu notifications across Central Queensland - more than three times higher than the average for the same time across the last five years," Mrs Lauga said.

"That also includes 43 hospitalisations and five admissions to intensive care. 

"Not only does winter bring more flu cases, it brings other respiratory illnesses, higher rates of cardiovascular issues, more complications with existing conditions - just to name a few."

Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government was taking urgent action to protect those most in need.

"Aged care residents are most vulnerable to flu, which is why we're supplying flu antivirals to all aged care facilities where there is an outbreak of flu," Mr O'Rourke said. 

"This medication helps to prevent flu if it's going around and will also help lessen the severity of symptoms for those that catch it. 

"It's something small we can to do further protect those in our community who are hit hardest by flu."

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said too many Queenslanders had been hospitalised for the flu this year already.

"The flu can be deadly for people in high-risk categories, so it's crucial we take this seriously and do what we can to stop its spread," Mr Butcher said.

"Staff in nursing homes do a terrific job of keeping safe and healthy environments for residents.

"But with a horrid flu season like this, we need to ensure residents have all the help they need to fight the flu - and that's exactly what we're doing."  

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said this is shaping up to be one of our worst flu seasons in recent years.

"State-wide, we've seen 16,448 lab-confirmed cases of flu, which includes 1,182 hospitalisations and 110 admissions to intensive care," she said. 

"We're seeing a sharp spike in cases much earlier than we traditionally would: 1,843 flu notifications this past reporting week, compared to 1,419 the previous week and 1,001 the week before that. 

"We would usually see this type of activity around late July as the season heads into the typical peak in August, but this year is taking a very different path."

Dr Young said vaccination is the best protection against flu. 

"If you haven't done so already, now is the time to get vaccinated against flu.

"We've done a few checks and can confirm there is ample stock of vaccine for eligible Queenslanders under the National Immunisation Program. 

"We also understand, from the Pharmacy Guild, that there is no shortage of the flu vaccine in the private market, but stocks may vary between pharmacies so I recommend calling ahead."

Dr Young also urges anyone who is sick to stay home, rest and recover.

"Flu spreads really easily, so if you're sick, don't go to school or uni, don't go to work - stay home, and be sure to wash your hands regularly and cough into a tissue," she said.

Free government-funded vaccines are available to eligible Queenslanders, including

- all children aged six months to less than five years

- pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy

- persons 65 years of age or older

- all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people 6 months of age and older

- persons six months of age or older who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.

All other Queenslanders should purchase the vaccine from their GP or immunisation provider.