The flu kills three Victorian children, 23 others
A three-year-old is the youngest of 26 people whose death is due to Victoria's early flu season this year.
The adolescent, along with two others aged six and eleven, was reported to the health department a few weeks ago, Acting Chief Health Officer Angie Bone confirmed on Tuesday.
The majority of the cases were geriatric nurses, but there could also be others who died from the flu and had other illnesses, as the department isn't informed of all deaths, she said.
So far, 10,683 confirmed flu cases have been reported since the current season started late last year, said Dr. Bone.
"It certainly shows no signs of a decrease, but it shows no signs of a sudden start with a massive surge," she told 3AW Radio about the flu season.
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos blamed the travelers for the early season when the flu in the northern hemisphere peaked.
"We see a lot of communicable diseases that spread through trips abroad. This is certainly the case with measles and flu cases," Ms. Mikakos told reporters.
"We have had a very significant summer flu season this year because people with the flu have returned from the northern hemisphere and are spreading throughout the community."
Ms. Mikakos said the death of three children was unusual.
"(Juvenile flu deaths) are usually associated with situations where other diseases and vulnerabilities can occur in these children," she said.
The authorities are asking the Victorians to get flu shots.
The federal government has a flu vaccine program for vulnerable people that has been expanded by the state government and is free for children under the age of five.
"We ordered a record number of flu vaccines this year. Two million flu vaccines for Victorians are available," said Mikakos.
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