Swine Flu Returns to Australia, Affecting Children and Young Mothers

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By Afza Fathima | August 12, 2014 1:25 PM EST

Experts said that this year, there has been a rise in those affected by the H1N1 virus or swine flu.

It has been noted by the Influenza Specialist Group that from 15,400 reported cases of influenza in August 2013, the number has risen to more than 21,000 this year with about 8,000 of those cases being of young adults between the ages of 20 and 49. 25 per cent more women seem to be suffering from it in comparison to the men.

Sample figures by the World Health Organization reflected that apart from a quarter of the reported influenza cases, the rest were for the H1N1 strain.

It is being said by the ISG chairman, Dr. Alan Hampson, that the reason why the flu season has been severe this year is because of the outbreak of the swine flu. He added that the factors that the season depends on are the strains of virus and climatic conditions among other things. 

The swine flu was last seen in 2009 and now it seems to have returned. Dr. Hampson has noted that last winter, it had entered the northern hemisphere, affecting those particularly in North America, and was a severe outbreak. This is one of the predominate viruses of this year.

Queensland has about 6,800 cases of flu cases which is the highest in the country, ahead of New South Wales with about 200. The numbers are expected to rise in Victoria as the season hasn't reached its peak yet with just about 2,700 cases. Dr. Hampson has estimated that in the next four to eight weeks, the number of those affected by the flu will rise in Victoria. 

Dr. Michael Nissen, the infection specialist at the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane has said that young mothers are at a high risk for it as the children have a high rate of influenza, which is likely to spread, hence affecting the mothers as well. Having the flu needle, avoiding big crowds and maintaining good hygiene by keeping one's hands clean is important for preventing the flu, he added. 

Dr. Nissen, on the use of over-the-counter medication, said that is was just suppressing symptoms, not really creating an impact on the body. He added that one can get vaccinated against it, and it is never too late but these vaccinations, currently, may not be as effective.

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