Stay home from work and school if sick

South Western Times
Three kids blowing their noses simultaneously in a dusty room filled with sunlight. All are looking seriously into the camera, the closest boy is in focus, two other kids are out of focus.
Camera IconThree kids blowing their noses simultaneously in a dusty room filled with sunlight. All are looking seriously into the camera, the closest boy is in focus, two other kids are out of focus. Credit: Getty Images

The Department of Health has reiterated a message for people to stay away from work or school if showing respiratory symptoms as it attempts to deal with an unprecedented influenza season.

A department spokesman said WA’s peak influenza season was normally from July to September.

“The department cannot predict if these numbers will remain high for the duration of the usual season, or if we have seen an early peak and that they’ll subside,” he said.

“Some of these numbers would reflect that more people than in previous years are getting tested.

“Therefore we need to look at the trends, not the numbers – other surveillance indicators are not as stark.”

As of last week there had been 933 lab confirmed cases of the flu throughout the South West.

The spokesman said that while the number of confirmed cases of the flu was “several-fold higher” than previous years the proportion of those hospitalised was lower than it had been for a decade.

“Data available through to July 1 indicates that 11 per cent of confirmed influenza cases have been hospitalised compared to an average of 23 per cent of cases in the previous 10 years,” he said.

“The case fatality rate this year to July 1 is 0.3 per cent compared to an average of 0.7 per cent for the previous 10 influenza seasons.”

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