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It is 'too early' to know if killer 'Aussie flu' will make its way to the UK, Public Health England says

Public Health England and the NHS have urged all eligible people to get the flu jab

A flu outbreak has affected thousands in Australia - but Public Health England argued it is "too early" to know if the killer epidemic will head towards the UK this winter.

The outbreak in Australia has allegedly caused the death of Ben Ihlow, who passed away after a week-long battle with the flu, leaving behind his wife, Samantha and 10-month-old son, Andrew.

It has also been reported that Jennifer Thew, a medical receptionist in Camberra, died after contracting the virus alongside her daughter Estella.

Over 137,500 cases have been confirmed in Australia so far, the Mirror said .

The worst affected have been elderly people over 80-years-old and children between ages five to nine.

Even though it has been claimed the bug will spread to the UK, Public Health England has said that it is not correct to conclude the UK will be hit by the same strain of flu that occurred in Australia.

Paul Cosford, Medical Director, Public Health England explained: “The strains of flu circulating in Australia this past winter have led to a significant increase in cases but it’s too early to know which will be the dominant strains of flu to circulate in England.

“Each year the World Health Organization reviews the circulating strains of flu and recommends which flu strains should go in the vaccine.

"It’s really important that as many eligible people as possible get their jab which is the best way to protect everyone from flu."

Health expert says we should "prepared, alert and flexible"(Image: Getty Images)

Professor Robert Dingwall, a public health expert at Nottingham Trent University, told the Daily Express that this could be the most serious flu outbreak since the 1968 pandemic that started in Hong Kong.

The professor said: "Based on the Australian experience, public health officials need to meet and urgently review emergency planning procedures," he said.

"Public Health England should be working with local authorities and local health services to ensure more hospital beds are freed up.

"We need to be prepared, alert and flexible."

Children between ages five to nine have been one of the most affected groups(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Two weeks ago NHS bosses revealed that they want 3,000 extra beds made available before the flu season hits - and have given hospitals eight weeks to free up those taken by so-called 'bed blockers'.

NHS chief Simon Stevens said at the time: “The signs from Australia and New Zealand, who are just coming out of winter, are that it has been a heavy flu season and many of the hospitals have struggled.

"In some parts of this country there are real pressures so we are using the next six to eight weeks to really be clear what the plan needs to be.

“Part of this is ensuring that we see further improvement in delayed discharges before November.

NHS urges everyone to get the flu jab(Image: PA)

"The plan to free up 2,000 to 3,000 beds relies on significant improvement in that area.”

The NHS has urged all eligible Brits - some 21 million people - to get a flu jab.

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