A severe flu strain has arrived on the east coast of Australia and is likely to reach WA soon, the Australian Medical Association says.

Western Australia could face one of the worst flu seasons in recent years, doctors warn.

A “very serious” flu strain has already arrived from overseas on the east coast of Australia, and it is likely the potentially deadly strain will reach WA soon, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) says.

AMA WA president Richard Choong said recent data from Queensland Health showed hospital admissions from influenza had doubled compared to last year’s figures, with most of the flu notifications appearing to be the H1N1 swine flu strain.

“A particularly dry summer has been the main reason WA hasn’t been hit hard by influenza this year,” Dr Choong said.

“However, any traveller arriving in WA could be a carrier, and it’s only a matter of time before we see hospital admissions related to influenza rise.”

The AMA says Australia has already seen an increase in flu infections that are about five times the norm for this time of the year.

Dr Choong said the flu usually killed about 2800 Australians every year, especially high-risk groups such as the elderly.

“We urge all West Australians, particularly those in high-risk groups, to be proactive this flu season and get their flu shots when possible,” he said.