A flu outbreak has killed seven elderly residents at an aged care home in regional Victoria, leaving more than 120 ill and the complex in lock-down.
The St John’s Retirement Village in Wangaratta houses 146 residents and employs 200 staff, with 123 people affected by flu during the outbreak over the past few weeks, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The residents, aged between 70 to 94, died at the aged care facility during the fortnight up until Wednesday.
“We are at the peak of one of the worst flu seasons ever and the elderly are one of highest-risk groups,” Victorian chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton said on Friday, confirming the deaths.
The facility, the largest in Wangaratta, was in lock-down on Friday, according to the local newspaper The Wangaratta Chronicle.
The residents who died had other conditions that made them particularly susceptible, Dr Sutton added.
Another 123 people – residents and staff – at the retirement village were also sick with the flu.
“Sadly, for the frail – and people with underlying health conditions – the flu can be very serious,” Dr Sutton said.
In Victoria in 2017 there have been more than 11,300 cases of influenza, with more expected over the next few weeks, with notification rates highest in adults aged 80 years or more, with a secondary peak in young children aged between 5 to 9 years old, according to the health department’s latest flu report.
About 800 people die of the flu each year in Victoria, according to the health department.
— with AAP