Girl latest 'horror' Vic flu season victim

Sarah and Robert Hawthorn's son was born through emergency six weeks early to give Mrs Hawthorn a fighting chance to survive

Rosie's tragic death from the flu follows that of 30-year-old father Ben Ihlow on Father's Day.

Australia's chief health officer Dr Brendan Murphy on Wednesday made a plea to pregnant women, all of whom are eligible for a free vaccine.

The new mum is the latest victim in this year's unforgiving flu season where there has already been more than 170,000 confirmed cases.

Sarah Hawthorn, from Cobram in country Victoria, is fighting for her life in a Melbourne hospital after contracting the flu in the later stages of her pregnancy.

Elective surgeries have been cancelled at some hospitals, cubicles have been taken over in emergency departments and private hospitals have been used by public patients.

Hospitals have embarked on active social media campaigning to encourage people with less severe injuries and illnesses to seek advice and treatment through their family doctor, a pharmacist - including Victoria's 24/7 Supercare Pharmacies - or NURSE-ON-CALL.

Sarah Hawthorn remains in an induced coma, unaware she's given birth to a baby boy.

Between 2000 and 3000 people die of the flu Australia-wide annually, the Victorian Department of Health says, with an estimated 800 deaths in Victoria each year.

Dr Van Buynder told the AJP that the flu season has finally peaked, with a decline in numbers this week.

Rhiannon Gillespie, the mother of four-year-old Savannah Gillespie who almost died of influenza A and a bacterial infection, has urged parents to vaccinate their children against the disease.

"I think all of us feel a great degree of compassion and sympathy to her family and it is just yet another sign that it is a horror flu season".

And following a meeting of health industry leaders, Victoria's target of flu vaccinations for 75 per cent of health workers has been lifted to 90 per cent within five years.

Rosie death is one of 10 caused by the flu in just over a month.

"It can hit the old, or the young, it can hit the healthy or the unhealthy", Minister Hennessy said.

"So if they're coming in for diabetes medication, if they're coming in for asthma medication, pharmacists should make the effort to make sure they've had their flu shot".



Other news