New strain of flu threatens elderly

New strain of flu threatens elderly.

Photo: New strain of flu threatens elderly.

The elderly and chronically ill are being warned of a new strain of flu from the northern hemisphere which is likely to spread through Australia this winter.

New South Wales authorities say the new flu strain (H3N2) is likely to replace swine flu that emerged in 2009 as the dominant strain.

Centre for Health Protection director, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, tells AAP older age groups may be particularly at risk.

“We are already seeing a rise in activity… so now is the time to get vaccinated,” he says.

Free flu shots are available for people aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, people with chronic illness as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Healthdirect nurses are available to give advice 24 hours a day on 1800 022 222.