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Protect vulnerable people as flu cases rise: NSW Health
NSW Health's Director Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said when flu was introduced to aged care facilities it was difficult to control as flu vaccination was not as effective in the elderly. "Nevertheless, as older people are particularly susceptible to contracting the flu it's important they have the vaccination every year to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death," Dr Sheppeard said. "So far this year we've had 79 outbreaks in residential aged care facilities, affecting around 942 staff and residents, with 45 associated deaths reported in elderly residents with significant underlying illness. It's important that friends and family who may have the flu stay away from these facilities while they are unwell to help prevent the spread of the virus." Dr Sheppeard said all pregnant women were also strongly advised to have the influenza vaccination to reduce the health risks to themselves and their babies. "Pregnant women who get influenza are at greater risk of developing serious complications, such as pneumonia, which may result in their hospitalisation," Dr Sheppeard said. "Children born to vaccinated mothers also have a reduced risk of contracting influenza in the first six months of life. Dr Sheppeard said while influenza presentations at emergency departments continue to increase each week, the NSW Health system was well prepared to manage the cases. "The NSW Ministry of Health, Local Health Districts and NSW Ambulance work together to manage surges in demand and improve the transfer of care times for patients during peak periods at hospital emergency departments," Dr Sheppeard said.
"Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing, and is one of the most contagious infections known," Dr Sheppeard said.
"The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically between two and 10 days, so people who were exposed could have symptoms already or develop them over the next week," Dr Sheppeard said.
"The bacteria that cause Legionnaires' disease live in water and can multiply in the water used to cool air conditioning systems, so infection is prevented by routinely maintaining and treating these systems.
"People outside can be exposed to the bacteria when a water cooling system emits contaminated water particles into the air.
"People who develop this disease are diagnosed by chest X-ray and a urine test, and usually require antibiotic treatment in hospital," Dr Sheppeard said.
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