A POTENTIALLY deadly strain of flu is heading here from Down Under – meaning Britain could have it worst flu season in 50 years.
But what is Aussie flu, and how is it different from the normal winter bug? Here’s what we know…
Getty – Contributor Aussie flu is a potentially deadly strain of the winter bug
What is Aussie flu?
Around 170,000 cases of flu have been reported in Australia this season, which is two and a half times more than last year.
The strain of flu is called H3N2, and public health expert Professor Robert Dingwall, from Nottingham Trent University, told BT.com it’s “almost inevitable” the winter bug will hit Britain this winter.
He added: “The reports from Australia suggest the UK might be in for the worst winter flu season for many years.”
The number of flu deaths in Australia over their winter has not yet been released, but it’s thought to be the worst in many years.
Alamy Professor Robert Dingwall, from Nottingham Trent University, told BT.com it’s ‘almost inevitable’ the winter bug will hit Britain this winter
Professor Dingall told the Daily Express that this is the most serious flu epidemic since the 1968 pandemic that started in Hong Kong – and killed a million people worldwide.
H3N2 is a mutated strain of flu, meaning the vaccine in Australia has been less effective than hoped.
Mum-of-two Jennifer Thew, who’s originally from Germany, was one of those to die from flu in Australia in September.
She died from acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by flu – even though she worked as a medical receptionist and had been vaccinated against it.
Speaking on This Morning, Dr Chris Steele warned that the winter virus could be a huge strain on the NHS, if hospitals aren’t properly prepared.
Getty – Contributor If you don’t recover after a week, it could be a sign that you know a more serious strain of flu
What are the symptoms of Aussie flu?
Symptoms of Aussie flu are similar to those caused by normal flu, but they are more severe. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Sore throat and cough
- Muscle ache
- Runny nose and sneezing
People should recover from normal flu within a week so, although the cough and fatigue may last longer.
So if you’re still really ill after seven days, it’s a good indication of something more serious.
Aussie flu can lead to pneumonia and other potentially fatal complications.