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Victorian flu season: 26 dead, fivefold increase in confirmed cases

A deadly flu season is underway, with five times the number of confirmed flu cases this year as there were at the same time last year.

Acting Victorian Chief Health Officer Dr Angie Bone told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell “we’ve certainly got an unusual flu season”.

“I wouldn’t go so far to calling it a crisis, but it is certainly unusual,” she said.

In the last five months there have been 10,683 confirmed cases of the flu across the state.

Last year the total for the entire year was 11,607.

At least 26 people, including three children, have already died of the flu this year.

Dr Bone said the true flu death toll is likely to be higher.

“This is probably just a small representation of the actual number of deaths that happen from the flu,” she said.

At this time last year there had not been any flu deaths.

Dr Bone urged people to take protective measures including frequent hand washing, not going to work or school while unwell, and getting the flu vaccine to stop the disease spreading.

Press PLAY below to hear Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Angie Bone on air with Neil Mitchell.