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Aged Care Home In Lockdown After Deadly Flu Outbreak

A whopping 57 people have died this year from the flu and Australia's elderly continue to suffer the most.

Seven more fatalities occurred in the past week of people over the age of 60 in NSW.

NSW Health has warned flu outbreaks in aged-care facilities continue to rise, prompting a warning for people to get vaccinated before visiting the elderly and to stay home if they are ill.

The warning comes as the Marco Polo Aged Care Centre at Unanderra, near Wollongong on the NSW south coast, remains in lockdown following a flu outbreak.

Fifteen residents have contracted the virus in the past three weeks, four of whom have subsequently died, the Nine Network reports.

Nursing Home
More than 15 people have been diagnosed with the infection in just one week at the Unanderra facility. Photo: Getty Images.

NSW Health Director of Communicable Disease Dr. Vicky Sheppeard said that there have been 87 confirmed influenza outbreaks in aged-care facilities, 12 of which were reported last week.

"The elderly are highly vulnerable to influenza and the flu jab is critical to reducing the risk of visitors catching the virus and bringing it into aged-care homes," Sheppeard said.

Western Australia Also Recorded Horror Week

On the other side of the nation, Western Australia recorded 41 flu-related deaths this year compared to four at the same time last year.

Flu
Elderly people continue to suffer the worst from the flu this season. Photo: Getty Images

That includes five deaths last week, the WA Health Department says.

According to the latest figures released on Tuesday, there have been 15,214 laboratory-confirmed infections so far this year, which is a huge spike from 1,654 at this time last year.

There have been 1,711 hospitalisations compared to 313 for the same period last year.

READ MORE: 'Healthy' Father The Latest Victim Of Horror Flu Season

The flu season started about two months earlier this year than it did in 2018, which increased the risk of people falling ill. The flu is highly contagious, according to the Australia Government Department of Health and is spread by body fluids.

Getting The Flu Shot Best Way To Avoid Infection

Getting the flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the disease.

Getting the flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the infection. Photo: Getty Images.

"The flu strains constantly change so you need a new vaccine every year to make sure you stay protected," the Health Department website reads.

It's also recommended people who are unwell stay clear of vulnerable populations. These include older people and children, especially babies.

READ MORE: Australia Gets Big Flu Vaccine Boost As Stocks Run Low

While mild-level flu gets better without any treatment, more severe cases need to be managed. This treatment includes resting, drinking fluids like water, taking paracetamol to reduce pain and fever and using decongestant medicines.

Antibiotics should not be used because the flu is a viral, not a bacterial infection.

With AAP.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au