AN EIGHT-year-old girl has died of the flu in Melbourne's outer east.

The young girl died at the Angliss Hospital in Upper Ferntree Gully on Friday.

The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the girl's death this morning, but had not been aware of further serious cases of the flu at schools.

The Department of Education has been contacted.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy has urged Victorians to be alert to symptoms of the illness.

She told 3AW's Neil Mitchell the death of the young girl was "one of the other very sad cases that we've seen this flu season".

"We're having a horrific flu season right up and down the entire eastern seaboard both in QLD and NSW and Victoria, Western Australia seems to be less affected than what we are but we know we've had double the number of people with flu - flu notifications," she told 3AW.

"This is an influenza strain that is able to impact the young, the elderly, the well and the unwell and people should be really attentive to any symptoms of the flu that they might have."

The state's hospitals are under severe stress as they deal with a rise in the number of flu cases.

Elective surgeries have been cancelled at some hospitals, cubicles have been taken over in emergency departments and private hospitals have been used by public patients.

People with less severe illnesses are being urged to stay away from hospitals.

Ms Hennessy said many health workers were also being impacted by the flu despite being vaccinated.

"We are dealing with a horror flu season and we're not quite sure when and where it will finish," Ms Hennessy told the radio station.

Young father Ben Ihlow died on his first Father's Day two weeks ago.

The 30-year-old was supposed to spend the day with his wife Samantha and 10-month-old son Andrew, but died six days after complaining of a bug.

News Corp Australia


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