Flu cases 50% higher than last year

THE number of people struck down with the flu across the nation is up more than 50% on this time last year.

There have been 4064 flu cases reported in Queensland, 2847 in New South Wales, 2696 in South Australia and 2457 in Victoria so far this year.

Almost 2000 cases have been reported in the past week alone.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley urged people to get their flu shots are we move into the most common time of year for catching the flu.

She said vaccination was the single most effective way to protect against the flu which contributed to more than 3000 Australian deaths annually.

"Last year's flu season was one of the worst on record and we have already seen a 50% increase or almost 5000 additional cases across Australia so far this year," she said.

"The more people who are vaccinated, the less chance the illness spreads throughout the rest of the community.

"This is particularly true for those Australians who are ill, vulnerable, pregnant or elderly.

"The message is simple - get your flu shot before the flu gets you this winter."