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"Killer" Virus Sweeping Western Sydney, Health Experts Warn

A mutant strain of flu has been found in more than half of western Sydney patients diagnosed with influenza A, the local health district has revealed.

Known as the "killer flu", the influenza A H3N2 strain has been held responsible for almost all of the 300 deaths in elderly patients across the east coast.

Even more worryingly, about 60 per cent of the 8,300 flu samples taken in western Sydney tested positive for the mutation.

This is despite the fact that it was included in this year's flu jab.

"Across NSW, between 50-70 per cent of flu tests in patients during this period were positive for flu A," Western Sydney Local Health District Population Health director Professor Stephen Corbett said.

"Only a proportion of flu A tests are further subtypes, and of these around two-thirds were influenza A(H3N3)."

It seems that the virus strain began to mutate between the manufacture and release of the vaccine in April this year, although experts have stressed that continuing to receive immunisation will help slow the spread of the "killer flu".

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