Current Aussie flu sitiuation? 8/07

I’ve been following the reports of this year’s flu season in Australia with concern - the reportof the healthcare worker who died Tuesday after first becoming sick on Saturday and now the reportof the doctor in intensive care. This is sounding like a serious flu season indeed.

I’m wondering if some of our Aussie posters could say: has been in any change in operations at local dialysis units? Also are you routinely vaccinated against seasonal influenza? Is the population generally?

I would think you are providing we in the Northern Hemisphere a preview of our flu season.

Really?! In tomorrow’s (8/19) Sydney Morning Herald here “Six children from four states, a 48-year-old South Australian woman and a 37-year-old Queensland man are reported by health authorities to have died from influenza. Hundreds more, mainly elderly people, have died from complications, with the virus exacerbating underlying cardiac and respiratory problems.” Are dialyzors included in the “hundreds more”?

Hundreds more seems to me like a very large number to toss out in a country of 20 million people.

Hi Bill
Sorry, I have been away for a week and just read your questions.

I always thought that our flu season followed yours, not came before?

As a school teacher I am always being faced with snotty nosed kids wanting to share things with me so I try to be careful but short of wearing a mask and wiping everything I touch with anti bacterial wipes, it is a battle. (and as you know from Miranda’s article Aussies are pretty slack when it comes to looking after themselves and staying home when they are sick). I have had a flu vax provided free to me ever since I was diagnosed with FSGS, as do others with chronic illnesses and the elderly, however most teachers don’t and love coming to school sick, bit of a martyr ethic amongst some. Health workers I believe get the flu vax provided as well. So far, the immunity to kids germs from 30 years of teaching and the vax has kept me flu free but…

I was not aware that hundreds of mainly elderly had died from complications, my goodness! I know there was quite a bit on the news a week or so ago but I have just been to see family near Sydney who commute by trains who don’t seem concerned. The neice had one day off work sick with flu like symptoms and was back at work the next day with some Echinacea and a Panadol! It doesn’t seem to be worrying too many city folk down there, the place was as mad and busy as ever.

I dialysed in a major hospital whilst I was there and noticed no difference in procedures, in fact a couple of staff had or were recovering from colds. I would say that if they had a bad flu they would have hopefully stayed at home. Machines are cleaned thoroughly and gloves are used but that is the norm.

Nobody at the airports seemed to be wearing masks, but things may be different on the West Coast of Australia. I will find out more.


This could be an example of the internet magnifying normal occurrences. The thing I need to remember is that there are a lot of people in the world and many die every day, sometimes because of influenza.

Looking at the United States (I would guess that Australia is proportionately the same) over 2.4 million people die every day. Which means over 6,500 death per day on average. If you then look at CDC data on the average percent of deaths caused by influenza and pneumonia you see that on any given day between 6 and 8% of all mortality is caused by I & P, between 400 and 530 deaths a day.

If the numbers are proportionately the same in Australia then that would explain the “hundreds more”.

However, just as with influenza cases in the United States the gene sequences in Australia should be collected and released. Gene sequences are the sort of hard facts that one can rely on and their subtleties are a rich source of information.

Yeah Bill, here in Brisbane, I’m told a couple of the wards in several of the hospitals have been isolated. Mind you, I actually caught my last chest infection in an isolated ward!! And old-age homes &c have restricted visiting. One of my wife’s friends had to totally gown’n’mask up to visit here mother in one.
I personally don’t have flu shots.
I’m living life on the edge anyway, after nearly 10 months on permacaths, one infected. I’m currently getting antibiotics on virtually every dx run, “prophylactically” apparently, while I’m on my trans-lumbar 'cath.
Global travel being what it is, I don’t think there’s any particular sequence or season for these pandemics now, is there Bill?

I’ve been following your story Bear - I wish I had something to tell you that would help. I hate hearing about situations like yours but I can tell you that I have heard stories of people who have had years of access difficulties and then had it sorted out for years of access stability. I hope you get yours sorted out soon.

For straight away dialysis support have you tried the Dialysis_Support listserv? Cheers.