Influenza claims lives of at least 27 West Australians this winter

Stock image.
Stock image.

AT least 27 people in WA died from influenza, down from 50 last year due to a milder flu season and warmer weather.

Influenza and pneumonia is the twelfth leading cause of death in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, killing more people than skin cancer, breast cancer suicide.

The figures underestimate the true impact of influenza infection on mortality, as the disease contributes to deaths that are attributed to other causes.

The total number of reported cases of flu to October 17 was 5079.

Last year, notified cases reached 7926 with 50 people reported as dying due to influenza.

WA experienced a milder flu season than the past two years, sheltered from the eastern seaboard and South Australia which has unusually high levels of flu activity this year.

The weather could have delayed the onset of WA’s flu season and lessened its magnitude compared to the eastern states, with an unusually dry and warm autumn and start to winter.

September was the peak of this year’s season when 1779 cases were recorded.

Department of Health statistics show the distribution of influenza types was similar across the nation though, with about 70 to 80 per cent of detections being of the A/H3N2 strain.

About 10 per cent was the A/H1N1 variety, and another 10 per cent was the influenza B virus.

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