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Australian Virus In Europe

  • December 9th, 2008
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

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Health alerts against the so called “Australian flu” have spread throughout Europe this month.

The potentially deadly virus is believed to be a strain linked to the one which caused the death of several people in Australia last year.

WINTER STRAIN ON EUROPE

Medical authorities from London, Rome, Madrid and Paris have warned the virus is the worst of its kind in 20 years, and is expected to spread throughout Europe this Northern Winter.

The fear of the virus claiming dozens of lives has led to a major ant-flu jab campaign, already begun in at least three countries.

Health officials in Spain are urging those with weak immune systems, such as the very young, old and sick, to take the new vaccine.

A CASE OF THE FLU IN ITALY

Three cases of “Australian flu” have been reported in Italy by the National Influenza Centre in Rome.

A spokesperson for the centre said a five-year-old boy, a 35-year-old woman and her two-year-old son had contracted the virus.

“The upcoming season is notable in the sense that among the three new vaccine strains there is one that has proved to be very virulent in Australia,” a spokesman for the centre said.

BRISBANE H3N2 STRAIN

The virus is specifically known as the “Brisbane H3N2” as most of the cases of the virus came from Queensland last year.

Around August last year, Australia was in the grip of a flu epidemic.

The virus claimed the lives of six children in four states and led to the biggest number of reported cases of flu in years.

There were 4,422 notifications of people having the virus, Queensland being the worst hit with 2,197 cases according to a federal health report.

Reference:

World Health Organisation, www.who.int, (9.12.08).

Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing, Communicable Diseases Intelligence, Vol, 32 No.2, June 2008, Annual report of the National Influenza Surveillance Scheme, 2007, www.health.gov.au, (9.12.08).
Herald-Sun, Sydney,‘Europe braced for Australian flu Brisbane H3N2’, 3.12.08, www.heraldsun.com.au, (9.12.08).

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