It’s almost inevitable this will come to us.'This is potentially the worst winter since the Hong Kong flu outbreak of 1968.'Lots of people have been very badly affected in Australia and whilst their mortality rates are not out yet we suspect this is a more severe strain than most other years.' Between one and four million people were killed during the Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1968, figures estimate. This is the same strain that caused havoc in Australia during their winter.
The virus was noted for being highly contagious, with it infecting 500,000 people within two weeks of the first case.
The Aussie flu is transforming quickly, but not fast enough for experts to describe it as a shift. Professor Robert Booy, an expert on infectious diseases at the University of Sydney, said the strain will likely reach Britain.
He previously said: 'What we are seeing in Australia at the moment could easily transmit to the UK because of the ease of global travel and tourism.' In 2015, Government figures suggested that the winter flu played a part in more than 16,000 deaths.
Around 3,000 Australians die each year from flu, but figures are yet to confirm how many people have lost their lives to this year's outbreak, but 73 are known to have died.
Last week, Professor Paul Van Buynder, chairman of the Immunisation Coalition, told au: ‘I’m confident this is not just the biggest on record but the largest flu outbreak we’ve seen for some time.’ The elderly with their compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible to the H3N2 strain which has blighted Australia during the country’s winter.
Well Pharmacy charges £9 to £14 (depending on the number of strains in the vaccine), Superdrug from £9.99, Lloyds Pharmacy £10, Boots £12.99, and Tesco £9.But there are concerns the vaccine, made by World Health Organisation scientists, will prove to be ineffective as it will not match the H3N2 strain.Scientists create the vaccines in March, based on which flu strains they expect to be in circulation. Some health experts in Australia have blamed the severe outbreak on the vaccine not matching, with figures suggesting it to have performed poorly, potentially due to it having mutated. Flu viruses are constantly changing proteins on their surface to avoid detection by the body's immune system - making it more deadly.Initial analysis by Public Health England showed it worked in just 3 per cent of cases, this was later revised up to 30 per cent of cases.Normally flu vaccines are effective against two thirds of cases so this was still substantially below average. If you become very ill with it, it can cause complications such as pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle, and kidney failure.