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Thousands of Queenslanders struck down by flu

Queenslanders are being urged to protect themselves against the flu after more than 3500 were struck down in the past week alone.

There were 10,831 people diagnosed between January and early August 2017. In the week to Thursday that number climbed by 3624 to 14,455.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said it was the second highest number of reported flu notifications in the state’s history. “It’s a one-third increase in the total flu numbers in Queensland this year,” he said.

The health minister urged people to protect themselves against the flu by practising good hygiene and getting vaccinated. But he also repeated his request for patients, particularly those with the flu, to reconsider their need to go to hospital and instead see their GP.

It followed a 5.9 per cent increase in the number of patients visiting emergency departments in July 2017, compared to the same time last year.

Dick said it equated to an additional 8,399 people presenting to hospital. “If you do have the flu consider your emergency and think of going to the GP and not the ED,” he said.

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