CANBERRA: Australia's officially confirmed A(H1N1) flu cases reached 33,179 Friday, with 131 deaths. But experts believe this number is just "the tip of the iceburg".
NSW is the hardest hit with 36 deaths, followed by Queensland with 28 deaths and Victoria with 24. The national capital of Canberra is least affected with only two deaths.
Professor Raina MacIntyre, who is head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales, said on Friday retrospective studies are likely to raise Australia 's death toll from the new flu.
"There will be many more deaths out there that were caused, or precipitated, by this flu that are not diagnosed of it," she said, adding the 30,000 cases would be just the tip of the iceberg.
However, she believed that the more people get infected the more immune they get and so the epidemic will go down.
The vaccination program -- to be rolled out next month and on a scale never before seen in Australia -- is expected to put a significant dent in the future spread of the A(H1N1) virus.
Australia recorded its first case of the flu on May 9 but proof of its community-level transmission was not seen until May 22.
The new flu claimed its first victim on June 19 when a 26-year- old Aboriginal man with a chronic medical condition died from the virus-related complications in Royal Adelaide Hospital.