CQ centre sent into lockdown after flu cases

RESIDENTS of Biloela’s Wahroonga Retirement Living and Aged Care were on lockdown for the past week after four residents were diagnosed with confirmed cases of influenza A following an outbreak.

Yesterday morning, the area that was in lockdown was reopened, but some residents remained in isolation after the latest confirmed case on September 19.

Central Queensland Public Health Unit Director Dr Gulam Khandaker said the Lutheran Services-operated retirement home was advised by his organisation to implement strong infection control measures, including isolation of those individuals diagnosed with influenza.

“If there are no new cases before Friday September 27 the outbreak will be declared over,” Dr Khandaker said.

“Influenza outbreaks in aged care facilities can be quite serious because of the vulnerability of residents.”

CQ Public Health Unit provided the centre with a supply of the prophylactic antiviral Tamiflu to treat the affected residents and to contain the outbreak.

Dr Khandaker advised people exhibiting symptoms of influenza to stay away from public places, and avoid contact with high risk individuals including the elderly, infants, people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women.

Lutheran Services’ Executive Lead of Aged Care Services Rose Plater said lockdowns typically last for one to three weeks and there must be a 72-hour clearance from the last person showing any symptoms.

“In accordance with public health guidance, one area was in lockdown for seven days and managemnt can confirm these precautions were lifted on September 25,” Ms Plater said.

This year has seen one of the worst flu seasons in years, with 3609 cases of influenza A reported up until the week ending September 16.

This year, people aged 65 and older have received free access to a specially formulated enhanced flu vaccine.

Despite vaccination serving as the best defence against the virus, Dr Khandaker also advised people to use hand sanitiser, cover their mouths when coughing and ensure they dispose of used tissues in the rubbish.

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