Wollongong a flu hotspot: Roy Morgan survey

Wollongong is one of the nation's top 10 flu hot spots, a new survey shows.

More than 27 per cent of Wollongong residents aged over 14 reported having had the flu in 2013 according to the Roy Morgan survey, which compared to the national average of 23.3 per cent.

Wollongong came in seventh on the list of flu hot spots with Newcastle gaining the dubious honour of the flu capital of the country, with nearly 32 per cent of Novocastrians claiming they'd had the flu in the 12-month period.

South-western Sydney (31.8 per cent), Townsville (31 per cent), non-metro coastal Queensland (30.4) and Western Sydney rounded out the year's top five.

Despite being in the top 10, the self-reported flu rates for Wollongong have plummeted since 2012 when the city took the No 1 spot with 39.7 per cent of residents claiming to have had the flu.

Wollongong also headed the national list in 2009, with 35.8 per cent of residents who responded to the survey having suffered (or at least believing they'd suffered) the flu.

Roy Morgan Research spokeswoman Angela Smith said it was interesting that people living in warmer climes such as Townsville and Queensland reported higher rates of flu than some inhabiting colder climates.

For instance, Adelaide has been the capital city with the lowest self-reported rate of flu for the past five years, while Sydney and Perth have taken turns as Australia's metropolitan flu capital.

She said Australia's top five influenza zones (in 2013) are all more northern than the five regions with the lowest proportion of residents reporting the illness, and it may be possible that tropical residents were over-diagnosing a sniffle.

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