More than 840,000 Kiwis caught the flu last year, but three quarters of them would never have known they had contracted the highly contagious virus.
Dramatic findings from a multimillion dollar study, revealed today, have pointed to a “hidden iceberg” of flu carriers in New Zealand who spread the virus among their family, co-workers and classmates without ever realising it.
The findings show that one-in-five people in New Zealand – and one-in-three Kiwis under 19 – were infected with influenza last year.
Yet more than 70 per cent of them didn’t have symptoms, and of those who felt sick, 80 per cent didn’t bother visiting a GP.
The data came from the Southern Hemisphere Influenza and Vaccine Effectiveness Research and Surveillance (SHIVERS) study, which analysed 2500 adults and children randomly selected from general practices in Auckland.