TWO people have been confirmed with the potentially fatal swine flu at Lismore Base Hospital, Northern NSW Local Health Network said yesterday.
A spokesperson told The Northern Star there had be “a sharp rise” in notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza, including H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, over the last two months.
“There have been 30 cases notified cases of influenza (on the North Coast) in the first two weeks of July, while a total of 29 cases were reported in June,” the spokesperson said.
The person said the true number could be much higher as cases had to be tested in a laboratory before they are added to the tally.
Nationally, the number of influenza cases is four times higher than a year ago.
Health experts believe the rise is linked to the wet weather and floods earlier this year when there was an unusually high number of flu cases recorded.
Particularly high rates of influenza have hit NSW, Queensland and South Australia with Swine flu and influenza B the most common strains.
Young children, the elderly and those with underlying health problems are most susceptible.
In 2009, seasonal flu was eclipsed by the fear instilled when swine flu rapidly spread across the globe, eventually killing almost 14,000 people, including numerous people on the North Coast.
Described as pandemic by the World Health Organisation, swine flu had faded away by early last year, and in August last year the WHO declared swine flu was “post-pandemic”, the last phase of any pandemic.
However, swine flu is still making people sick, even killing some patients around the world. The local health spokesperson said it was not too late to be vaccinated against influenza and swine flu.
Swine flu symptoms
Flu-like, including fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.
Many people may also experience diarrhoea and vomiting.