Health alert after measles case on northern beaches


Source: Julie Cross, Manly Daily

The northern beaches has seen a spike in people getting the flu. Picture: iStock

The northern beaches has seen a spike in people getting the flu. Picture: iStock

Northern beaches hospitals see 200 per cent rise in people with flu

THE number of people arriving at Manly and Mona Vale hospitals with flu-like symptoms this winter was up 200 per cent on last year, making it the worst flu season on record, according to health bosses.

Figures revealed by the Northern Sydney Local Health District show 110 people sought help at the emergency department for flu-like symptoms, compared with 33 last year.

There were 160,000 flu cases confirmed national this year. Picture: iStock

A spokesman said the figures did not include all those diagnosed by their GP or anyone who stayed at home and did not seek medical help.

Nationally there have been 160,000 confirmed flu cases this year causing dozens of deaths, including an eight-year-old girl in Melbourne this month.

Northern Beaches Health Service general manager Frank Bazik said the northern beaches had not gone unscathed and praised hospital staff for their “outstanding commitment during the demanding winter period”.

“Our staff provided a tremendous service to the community despite the significant challenges presented by the busiest flu season on record,” Mr Bazik said.

There were 110 people who showed up at emergency departments on the northern beaches for the flu. Picture: Damian Shaw

He said staff maintained high clinical standards at Mona Vale and Manly and treated patients within recommended times.

Emergency department doctor Tony Bernard said the influx put a great deal of pressure on all the staff.

“Our teams worked really hard and coped well with the demand,” he said.

Dee Why Family Medical Practice nurse manager Caroline Dwyer said it was the busiest year for flu cases she had seen.

Manly Hospital also had people present at its emergency department with the flu. But others who were diagnosed by doctors are not counted in the official figures. Picture: Annika Enderborg

“In the last few weeks I sent four or five of our flu patients straight to emergency due to respiratory distress,” she said.

“It seems to be affecting not just the immunocompromised, the elderly and the young but also normal, healthy fit people. We’ve also noticed that some of those who have had the flu jab have still come back positive for influenza A.”

Northern Sydney public health director Michael Staff said this year there were four strains of the virus and he would not know how effective the vaccine had been until statistics were collated.

Dr Staff said some early data suggested the jab had been very good at protecting three of the strains.


Flu season more 'severe this year'

He said cases peaked around three weeks ago but the flu season was not expected to be officially over until early October.

A thank you barbecue was held for staff at Mona Vale Hospital last week, while Manly staff will enjoy one this week.


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