HEALTH STATS: Cases of flu almost triple in region

STATISTICS made available by Queensland Health reveal our region's hospitals were bombarded with cases of influenza over the past year.

In total, the Darling Downs Health and Hospital Service responded to almost three times as many cases of lab-confirmed influenza in 2017 than it did the year prior.

DDHHS confirmed 5313 cases were reported in 2017, up from just 1864 in 2016.

That equates to one in 45 people across the Darling Downs hospitalised as a result of influenza.

In light of these statistics, Queensland Health confirmed it is investing $1.3 million in technology that will help clinicians diagnose flu and other infections faster.

But there were other areas of diseases on the rise in 2017.

Statistics show there was also a significant increase in cases of gonorrhoea, infectious syphilis, and rotavirus in the past 12 months.

GET VACCINATED: Dr Roland Owen wants Toowoomba residents to protect themselves against this year’s flu.
GET VACCINATED: Dr Roland Owen wants Toowoomba residents to protect themselves against this year’s flu. Kevin Farmer

Rotavirus is described by Queensland Health as: "a group of viruses that can cause severe viral gastroenteritis in infants and young children".

Sexually transmitted infections was one of the key areas to spike in 2017, but rotavirus presentations on the Darling Downs soared, with a 150 per cent increase on 2016's figures.

Cases of gonorrhoea in the region rose from just 50 in 2016 to 127, and infectious syphilis reports climbed from 11 to 23 in the same period - prompting a warning from DDHHS.

"While this is of concern, the local trend follows what is being seen state-wide and nationally," DDHS Director of Public Medicine Dr John Hooper said.

"Young, sexually active people who have unprotected sex, often with multiple partners, are the most at-risk group to contract sexually-transmitted infections.

"Increased notification rates can often be attributed to a combination of more testing for STIs and a higher prevalence of the infections."

Topics:  darling downs hospital and health service influenza toowoomba

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