The latest report from NSW health has revealed a significant increase in the number of influenza cases around the state in comparison with recent months despite February not being the peak time for flu outbreaks.
Along with an elevated number of influenza cases, the number of people presenting to NSW emergency departments with respiratory concerns increased and were above the historical range for this time of year, according to the report.
"We think it's because there's a lot more testing, GP's have access to and are using the testing mechanisms and they are getting results within a day," Professor Robert Booy of the Westmead Research Institute said.
In the five-week period to February 2020 there were 2490 notifications of influenza confirmed making the numbers significantly higher than the 2065 influenza cases reported for January 2019, and higher than the number of notifications reported for December 2019 which was 954 for the month.
Influenza notification rates were highest in Northern Sydney with 181 reported cases, followed by South Eastern Sydney with 105 cases.
Prof Booy said it was a timely reminder for people to maintain good hygiene habits
"To start being sensible, about covering your mouth when you're sneezing, don't go to work if you've got a cold," he said.
The recent outbreak of coronavirus around the world has sparked major concern over public health.
Despite widespread coverage and concern over the impacts of the epidemic, influenza remains a far more prevalent illness.
So far, only 15 people have tested positive for the virus within Australia and no one has died however since the beginning of 2020, two people have died from the flu.
In 2019, more than 300 died from influenza, up from 32 deaths the year before in 2018.
For the year to February 2, there have been two influenza deaths identified.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-vs-flu-which-is-worse-nsw-health/d51acba1-324c-4a2d-bd83-cb95e5f5a35d