Aussie state prepares for flu season after worst-ever outbreak in 2017

2018-04-09 02:28:41 GMT2018-04-09 10:28:41(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CANBERRA, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The Australian state of Victoria has announced a major funding boost for its hospitals to cope with the upcoming flu season after a horror outbreak in 2017.

More than 48,000 Victorians were diagnosed with the flu in 2017 with hospital emergency departments inundated by patients.

Approximately 4,000 of those cases were children, a rise from 871 in 2016, and eight-year-old Rosie Anderson died in September after contracting the illness.

Jill Hennessy, Victoria's health minister, on Sunday announced that Victorian hospitals would benefit from 50 million Australian dollars (38.3 million U.S. dollars).

the minister said that the money would fund additional doctors, nurses and beds in 17 regions.

"Our hospitals were under challenging times last year with the flu. We saw four times more flu cases last year than ever before," Hennessy told reporters.

Despite the extra funding, Hennessy urged people to get vaccinated.

An audit by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency released in November found that a low staff immunisation rate was responsible for the deaths of 10 residents in one aged care facility in north-east Victoria.

"(We're) not in a position to confirm whether or not we're going to have a horror flu season or not," Hennessy said.

"Increasingly what we're seeing with flu is that it's becoming able to mutate and therefor the flu vaccination, as it was last year, is not as effective as we would like and more frighteningly for some of the mutations they're resistant to antibiotics."

"That's why we saw such high death rates last year."

"What we know is the most effective preparation is for people to get the flu vaccination."

Under an initiative announced by the state government in February, children aged between six months and five years are eligible to receive free flu vaccinations.

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