Influenza cases soar in Wyndham

By Esther Lauaki

Influenza cases in Wyndham soared to nearly 3000 in the past year to December – more than five times the number recorded 12 months earlier, new data shows.
The health department’s latest infectious diseases report states there were 2992 instances of flu within the municipality last year, up from just 585 in 2018.
In August, Point Cook seven-year-old Calista was admitted to Werribee Mercy Hospital with a severe and life-threatening case of influenza.
Parents Mark and JunJie Aves said they rushed Calista to the emergency department after midnight and within three hours her condition had deteriorated and she went into cardiorespiratory arrest.
“We were told that she was showing symptoms of pneumonia and further infection, but we weren’t prepared for the frightening events that were soon to follow,” Mr Aves said.
“After going into cardiac arrest, the doctors performed chest compressions for 28 minutes and her heart stopped beating twice during that time.
“The teams at Werribee Mercy Hospital definitely saved her precious life.”
Calista returned to the hospital with her mum, dad and baby brother Zachary in December to thank the various team members.
Werribee Mercy Hospital perioperative and specialist services director Melissa McDonald said the hospital was well placed to deal with the influx of patients over the record flu season of last year.
Ms McDonald said the health department also ordered record vaccinations to ensure it was available for all in need.
“Werribee Mercy emergency department possesses a rapid flu test, known as an auto reader, which allows for quick and early detection of patients with influenza so they can be cared for appropriately to reduce the spread of infection to other patients,” she said.
Ms McDonald said 84 per cent of staff were immunised to ensure they were protected and able to care for patients.
“We will continue to provide updates to our various communities within the Mercy Health catchment areas concerning the availability and locations for immunisations as well as other advice to lessen the risk of contracting infection during the months ahead,” she said.
The report showed influenza cases topped the list of infectious diseases detected in Wyndham, followed by chlamydia with 723 cases recorded (down from 814) and 274 cases of campylobacter commonly known as “gastro”.