Seven people have died in a Wangaratta nursing home in just two weeks during a dangerous flu outbreak.
Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton confirmed the St John’s Retirement Village residents who died were aged between 70 and 94 and had other conditions that made them particularly susceptible.
The facility had 123 people affected by the influenza outbreak over the past few weeks out of 146 residents and 200 staff.
The Department of Health and Human Services has worked with St John’s to manage the outbreak, ensuring strict infection control measures, and has reported the outbreak is now subsiding.
“We are at the peak of one of the worst flu seasons ever and the elderly are one of highest risk groups,” Dr Sutton said.
“In aged care facilities, the flu can spread quickly.”
“Sadly, for the frail - and people with underlying health conditions - the flu can be very serious.
“About 800 people in Victoria die each year from influenza – the most of any communicable disease.”
He urged visitors to aged-care facilities to use the hand hygiene gel widely available because the flu was a highly contagious viral infection.
“This is a timely reminder to all visitors that washing their hands with soap before visiting loved ones in aged care or hospital is extremely important and if you are sick you should avoid visiting loved ones in an aged care facility or hospital,” he said.