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Father of 8-year-old girl who died from flu gives heartbreaking statement

The little girl has been named as Rosie Andersen - her dad is urging other parents to immunise their kids.

By Lorna Gray and Bettina Tyrrell
Rosie Andersen died of flu

Yesterday, The Victorian Health Department tragically revealed that an eight-year-old girl from Melbourne died from the flu in what has been one of the worst flu seasons in Australian history.

The little girl has now been named as Rosie Andersen. Rosie passed away at the Angliss Hospital at Upper Ferntree Gully on Friday. Her father, Christian Brealey, has now given a heartbreaking statement to The Herald Sun following his daughter's death.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful, loving little angel," Mr Brealey said.

"Words cannot describe the depths of our grief. We want to thank our friends and family and the broader community for all the messages of love and compassion. We are so grateful for your support."

He then gave an impassioned plea to other parents:

"We urge everyone to get their kids immunised against the flu and ask only that our privacy is respected and our family given time and space to grieve."

This echoes Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy's warning that people shouldn't dismiss flu symptoms as "simply a cold" or "man flu".

"This is an influenza strain that is able to impact the young, the elderly, the well and the unwell,” Ms Hennessy told 3AW radio, of the devastating flu season.

This particularly deadly strain of flu has killed 94 people in Victorian age-care facilities so far this year and more than 160,000 people have contracted the flu in Australia this year. This figure is made even more frightening when compared to Health Department figures show that 75,818 cases of the flu were recorded for the same time last year.

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

"It’s not too late to get vaccinated," stressed Ms Hennessy.

"Get to the doctor, call Nurse on Call, call an ambulance if you feel someone is very unwell. But don't ignore the flu symptoms.”

"It needs to be taken seriously."

Flu signs and symptoms

According to SA Health, these are the signs and symptoms you might experience if you have contracted the flu:

  • rapid onset of fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • sneezing
  • running nose
  • sore throat
  • a cough

If you think you have the flu, or want more information on the flu and flu vaccinations, contact your trusted GP.

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