Influenza A outbreak on Sunshine Coast

Thirty residents at the Buderim Views aged care facility have been diagnosed with influenza type A.
Thirty residents at the Buderim Views aged care facility have been diagnosed with influenza type A. Warren Lynam

UP to 30 residents of a Sunshine Coast aged care facility have been put into isolation after an outbreak of influenza type A, often referred to as bird flu.

Queensland Health has just confirmed the outbreak at the Buderim Views Aged Care facility after a member of the public contacted the Daily complaining family members were being prevented from visiting loved ones.

In a statement responding to questions from the Daily, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Public Health Physician Dr Andrew Langley said 30 residents had so far fallen ill.

"The facility has implemented a range of infection control measures to reduce the spread of the influenza in the facility," Dr Langley said.

"These include isolation of unwell residents, increased environmental cleaning and reduction of activities and non-essential visitors.

"Antiviral medication is also being used."

Dr Langley said there had been a surge in the number of influenza cases reported in Queensland, from an average of fewer than 200 per week to more than 600 last week.

On the Sunshine Coast, including the Noosa and Gympie council, there were a total 51 influenza notifications last week.

Dr Langley noted those numbers reflected only those people who went to, and were tested by, a doctor, suggesting the true numbers were likely much higher.

Of the 600 influenza notifications issued last week, Dr Langley said 96% were for type A.

Type A is the most severe of the three categories of flu and the only one able to transmitted between humans and animals - mostly birds.

Dr Langley also noted we were now in the peak flu season, with notifications tending to peak during August.

"This year, 795 Queenslanders have been admitted to public hospitals with influenza, with 27 of these to a Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service facility," he said.

Dr Langley said annual vaccination was the best way to avoid the flu.

If you do fall ill, he recommended:

  • Stay home when you are sick. To protect residents of aged care facilities who can be particularly vulnerable to respiratory and other infections, it is important not to visit while you are unwell.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand gel.
  • Wash your hands prior to touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Use a tissue, or the inside of your arm, when you cough and sneeze.
  • Throw tissues away immediately and wash hands.
  • Don't share items which come into contact with the mouth or nose.
  • Stay at least one metre away from people who have flu-like symptoms.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces regularly, such as door handles, taps, tables, benches and fridge doors.

Topics:  aged care bird flu editors picks flu influenza a queensland health

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