A surge in influenza cases in Queensland prompts doctors to issue vaccine warning for children and vulnerable groups

Experts have sounded a warning about this year’s flu season, with concerns young children will be particularly vulnerable to life-threatening complications.

Queensland flu notifications for the year have skyrocketed in the past week, increasing from 1,848 to 4,282 – a jump of more than 130 per cent in seven days.

Since the start of April, 457 people have been admitted to Queensland public hospitals with flu, including 30 who have required intensive care.

Queensland Health data shows 180 people have been diagnosed with the double whammy of having COVID-19 and flu at the same time in 2022.

Almost half of Queenslanders with so-called “flurona” have been aged between 10 and 29.

A graph showing influenza case notifications in Queensland, week and month of onset, 2017-2022.  In April 2022 line peaking
Influenza cases jumped 130 per cent in one week, leading to some predicting a big flu season. (Supplied: Queensland Health)

Queensland Children’s Hospital infectious disease physician Angela Berkhout said children aged two and under had low levels of natural immunity to flu as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 public health directions kept flu numbers down in 2020 and 2021, but they have already rebounded this year with the relaxation of restrictions and reopening of borders.

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