ECHUCA hospital has experienced one of its busiest flu seasons.
Echuca Regional Health chief executive Michael Delahunty said there had been 14 confirmed cases of influenza since early July, compared to none last year.
‘‘ERH has had an increase in the number of patients presenting to the emergency department with flu-like symptoms however all presentations are not confirmed cases of influenza,’’ he said.
Mr Delahunty said the number of confirmed cases was in line with what Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy described as ‘‘one of our busiest-ever flu seasons’’.
‘‘This figure does not take into account those patients who may have been discharged home from the emergency department or those who have been seen and diagnosed by their GP,’’ he said.
So far this year, there have been more than 13,000 confirmed cases of influenza in Victoria — with many more notifications still expected — compared to 7365 at the same time last year.
And with about 800 people in Victoria dying each year from influenza – the most of any communicable disease — Mr Delahunty has again encouraged people who have not yet had a flu vaccine this year to see their GP and get one.
‘‘This is especially important for those in the high risk categories such as the elderly, pregnant women and those with other medical conditions,’’ he said.
‘‘Practising good hand hygiene is essential to help reduce the spread of influenza.
‘‘We encourage people who are feeling unwell to seek medical advice from their GP, pharmacist, health service or contact Nurse-On-Call on 1300606024.’’
The state’s six Primary Health Networks, GPs, pharmacists and key phone advice lines are also collaborating to support public hospital emergency departments and Ambulance Victoria to manage surging demand due to the current spike in flu notifications.
Experts still cannot confirm if the peak of the flu season has been reached as yet, so Victorians are reminded it is not too late to get the flu shot.