WITH an extremely high number of flu cases being reported this year, and the confirmation of eight deaths caused by an influenza outbreak at the St John’s Retirement Village in Wangaratta, the Department of Health and Human Services is urging the community to watch their health and hygiene to help prevent the spread.
So far in 2017, there have been more than 11,800 confirmed cases of influenza in Victoria with many more notifications still expected.
Flu outbreaks, particularly in aged care facilities, are at very high levels. There have been 222 respiratory outbreaks this year compared with 117 for the same period last year.
Victoria’s acting chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton said the department is continuing to monitor the facility (at Wangaratta) and is providing support to manage the outbreak.”
Dr Sutton said flu is a highly contagious viral infection, spread by contact with fluids from coughs and sneezes.
“Good hand hygiene is strongly recommended to visitors to assist in controlling any spread of flu,” Dr Sutton said.
“This is a timely reminder to all visitors that washing their hands with soap or hand gel before visiting loved ones in aged care or hospital is extremely important.
“And if you are sick you should avoid visiting loved ones in an aged care facility or hospital.
“If you are unwell with a cough or a cold, remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put the tissue straight in the bin.
“You should always wash your hands immediately after sneezing, coughing or going to the toilet with soap and running water and dry your hands thoroughly,” Dr Sutton said.