Three residents in a far north Queensland aged care facility have died during a flu outbreak.
Another 36 residents and 24 staff at Mercy Place in the Cairns suburb of Westcourt have fallen ill with respiratory symptoms since February 14.
The majority of residents and staff were swabbed for common viruses with a significant proportion testing positive for Influenza B.
The majority have since recovered.
Mercy Health Queensland manager Anita Ghose said Mercy Health immediately tried to contain the infection, using medication, ceasing communal activities, cleaning, and limiting non-essential visits to the home.
Extra staff were brought in as well as specialist senior clinicians, who were flown in from Victoria.
“Mercy Health immediately activated its management control procedures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents, families and staff,” Ms Ghose said.
A sign at the facility reads “standard infection control and precautionary measures are in place” as directed by Queensland Health, and all activities have been suspended.
“In accordance with Queensland Tropical Public Health Services’ directions, Mercy Health maintains strict infection control procedures in place until eight days with no further cases, which we anticipate will be in the near future,” Ms Ghose said.
“The health and wellbeing of our residents and staff remains our highest priority at all times.”
Queensland Health said it was working closely with the aged care facility.
Tropical Public Health Services director Dr Richard Gair will address the media later on Monday.
The outbreak comes after seven people died at the Herberton Hospital, south-west of Cairns, this year during a virus outbreak.
One was confirmed to have human metapneumovirus while the others displayed symptoms.