THE number of cases of influenza across NSW are up about “three-fold” since this time last year, prompting health officials to encourage pregnant women to access vaccinations.
Hunter New England Health public health physician Dr David Durrheim said there had been 111 confirmed cases of influenza in the Hunter region so far this year.
“We have certainly seen a large increase in comparison to what we normally see in January,” he said. “Across the southern states, we have seen about a three-fold increase, and we have certainly seen that in Hunter New England as well.”
Dr Durrheim said the new season’s vaccine was not yet available, but vaccination against the flu was recommended for pregnant women, in particular.
“Flu during pregnancy has the potential to be much more severe, so for those women due to give birth before April, we’d encourage them to get a jab. Anyone else at risk should discuss it with their GP,” he said.
Dr Durrheim said the flu vaccine offered protection for four-to-six months.
“If they were vaccinated in April or May last year, that has now waned. But for most people and children, we’d recommend they get jabbed as soon as the new vaccine becomes available.”
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