CHART: Flu cases in Australia are up 50% this winter

Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

If you think a lot of people seem to be sick with the flu this year, figures from the Department of Health reveal a record number of Australians have come down with the flu this winter.

The 2015 figures are up 50% on last year and at 14,124 – 2000 last week alone – more than double the five-year average. Queensland has been hardest hit, with more than 4000 cases, 1200 more than NSW.

Federal health minister Sussan Ley is urging people to get a flu vaccination as protection against the illness, which leads to around 3,000 Australian deaths annually.

“Last year’s flu season was one of the worst on record and we have already seen a 50 per cent increase or almost 5,000 additional cases across Australia so far this year,” Ley said.

“The vaccine not only reduces the chance of getting the flu, but it also minimises the severity, complications and hospitalisations if you do.”

The flu vaccine is free for at-risk groups such as anyone 65 and over, pregnant women and anyone aged six months and over with certain chronic conditions.

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