Flu season 2019: Influenza outbreak sends people flooding to hospitals

400% SPIKE: Region faces worst flu season in recent years

A SPIKE in the number of influenza cases across the state and the Darling Downs has health authorities fearing they could be facing one of the worst flu seasons in recent years.

The State Government is rushing anti-viral drug Tamiflu to nursing homes across the Darling Downs in a bit to stop the virus' spread, as the number of cases across the region hits 410 per cent above the long-term average.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said there had been 757 flu notifications across the region so far this year - four times higher than the average for the same time across the last five years.

So far, 21 people have been hospitalised and one person was admitted to intensive care.

State Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said this was shaping up to be one of the worst flu seasons in recent years.

"State-wide, we've seen 16,448 lab-confirmed cases of flu, which includes 1182 hospitalisations and 110 admissions to intensive care," she said.

"We're seeing a sharp spike in cases much earlier than we traditionally would."

Dr Young said there were 1843 flu notifications the past reporting week, compared to 1419 the previous week and 1001 the week before that.

"We would usually see this type of activity around late July as the season heads into the typical peak in August, but this year is taking a very different path," Dr Young said.

Mr Miles said the State Government was supplying flu antivirals to all aged care facilities across the state because their residents were most vulnerable.

"This medication helps to prevent flu if it's going around, and will also help lessen the severity of symptoms for those that catch it," he said.

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"It's something small we can to do further protect those in our community who are hit hardest by flu."

Dr Young urged those who hadn't done so already to get vaccinated.

"We've done a few checks and can confirm there is ample stock of vaccine for eligible Queenslanders under the National Immunisation Program," she said.

"We also understand, from the Pharmacy Guild, that there is no shortage of the flu vaccine in the private market, but stocks may vary between pharmacies."

Dr Young also said anyone who was sick should stay home, rest and recover.

"Flu spreads really easily,so if you're sick, don't go to school or uni, don't go to work - stay home, and be sure to wash your hands regularly and cough into a tissue," she said.

The NIP covers children aged six months to five years, pregnant women, people over the age of 65, all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders over six months and people with certain medical conditions.

All other Queenslanders can purchase the vaccine from their GP or pharmacy.