Flu warning for kids amid Melbourne party rumours

Experts are warning of the re-emergence of a common virus barely seen in the past two years, after rumours 50 kids were infected at one party.

Dozens of children have reportedly been left ill after contracting the flu at birthday party in Melbourne.

The mass outbreak which left youngsters “dreadfully” sick was detailed on 3AW’s Rumour File segment and comes as influenza cases spike just ahead of the winter season.

Professor Ian Barr, Deputy director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, told the station it’s the illness’ first major appearance in two years.

“(The resurgence) is likely to affect a lot more kids, that’s for sure, whether it’s any worse or not remains to be seen.

“Certainly been a big upswing of influenza in Melbourne and the east coast of Australia over the past six weeks.

“There’s a difference between this flu and other flus — in young children these symptoms will persist, you’ll have fever, cough, muscle soreness and fatigue.”

It comes as Australia is bracing for a nationwide triple threat this winter with health experts warning residents of a surge in flu, cold and Covid cases.

A new report released this month revealed Australia has recorded almost 3000 influenza cases so far this year – it’s highest number of reports since 2019.

The 2022 influenza report card highlighted the country’s low influenza vaccination rate, representing only 11 per cent of the population.

Infectious disease expert Robert Booy told NCA NewsWire that both influenza and Covid were highly contagious viral infections that could lead to serious illness, hospitalisation or even death.

Professor Booy said community immunity was low following the pandemic, with each influenza season differing in impact.

“We expect that with global travel resuming, influenza strains will also travel and infection rates will rise, so we’re going to get a surge this year,” he said.

“Our community is not used to dealing with flu virus, so their level of immunity has dropped.”

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