Seven elderly residents from an aged care facility in Victoria have died following this year’s deadly flu outbreak, the state’s health and human services department reports.
The residents were from the St John’s Retirement Village in Wangaratta.
The department says the retirement village had 146 residents and 200 staff, with 123 people affected by flu during an outbreak over the past few weeks.
The seven residents who died were aged between 70 and 94 and had health condition that made them susceptible to the flu.
“We are at the peak of one of the worst flu seasons ever and the elderly are one of highest risk groups. In aged care facilities, the flu can spread quickly,” Dr Sutton said.
“Sadly, for the frail – and people with underlying health conditions – the flu can be very serious. “About 800 people in Victoria die each year from influenza – the most of any communicable disease.”
He warned that people visiting family members in aged care facilities should take particular care to wash their hands and uphold hygiene standards.
“Good hand hygiene is strongly recommended to visitors to assist in controlling any spread of flu,” he said in a statement.
“This is a timely reminder to all visitors that washing their hands with soap before visiting loved ones in aged care or hospital is extremely important.”
This winter has been one of the worst flu seasons on record in Australia and is expected to surpass the deadly flu outbreak of 2015 that saw close to 40,000 reported cases.