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One confirmed ‘summer flu’ death as startling Victorian statistics emerge

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A child has died as Victoria endures a massive spike in summer flu.

More than 2865 cases of influenza have been reported in Victoria during the first ten weeks of the year, a 122 per cent surge on the same period last year.

Victorian Acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton, told Neil Mitchell that the summer flu outbreak has claimed the life of a Victorian child.

“It’s a reminder to all of us that we’re not just protecting ourselves when we get the vaccine, we’re helping to protect those who are at risk, including children,” he said.

March and April are usually the months with the lowest number of flu cases.

“It’s definitely one of the biggest summer seasons we’ve seen,” Dr Sutton said.

Last year there were around 11,000 reported cases of influenza, while in 2017 there were a bumper 50,000 cases.

Dr Sutton said that a high number of flu cases in summer doesn’t necessarily mean a higher than average winter.

“We’re tracking much higher this year, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to have a bumper year of flu,” he said.

Dr Sutton urged pregnant women to get vaccinated over the summer period, but said the general population should hold off on getting the vaccine until mid-April.