By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au
IT came late, but this year's influenza has been no less debilitating for hundreds of Gladstone people.
The threat of bird flu may be the big concern of the medical profession at this date, but in the streets and in the workplace the talk is more often about the the headaches, the coughs and the sore throats of the ordinary garden variety.
Australian Medical Association spokesman Dr John Bird said the flu this year, in terms of severity and prevalence, was probably much the same as last year.
'It's a bit later this year, though because it normally starts in the last week of July and into August,' he said.
Dr Bird said there were other chest viruses around at this time that sometimes were mistaken for the flu.
Central District Health Unit Network's Dr Margaret Young confirmed this year's flu 'is reasonably typical'.
She said the week before last there were 50 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza for Queensland. There were only two notifications from Gladstone for the whole year.
However, she said the confirmed cases were only the tip of the iceberg.
'It's assumed only a small number of people go to the doctor (because of the flu) and fewer still are actually tested and these make up the confirmed cases.'