Influenza Activity + Surveillance

Surveillance of Influenza activity in Australia & New Zealand

This report provides a summary of surveillance data collected from around Australia and New Zealand. Regional reporting in some areas ceases when flu activity is low (out of season).

Please note that the vast majority of people do not get tested for influenza and that there may also be some delays in reporting confirmed influenza cases. Therefore data presented here maybe underestimating influenza activity.


Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing

There have been a total of 11,346 laboratory confirmed notifications of Influenza in Australia for 2016, at the end of 19th June.

•    QLD:    4,064
•    NSW:   3,607
•    WA:      1,039 
•    SA:          851
•    VIC:      1,433
•    ACT:        120
•    NT:           124
•    TAS:         108

For more national data:  

National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System

Australian Influenza Surveillance Report                                                             

New South Wales

17 June 2016

The influenza season is likely to commence in the next few weeks. 

Influenza activity is increasing but continues to be generally low in most parts of NSW. Influenza A(H3N2) and influenza A(H1N1) strains are circulating at similar levels.

Hospital Surveillance – the rate of influenza like illness (ILI) presentations to selected emergency departments increased and is approaching the trigger level for the flu season.

Laboratory surveillance – the proportion of respiratory samples positive for influenza increased but remained relatively low at 5.3%.

Community surveillance – influenza notifications continue to increase in a number of Sydney local health districts. Data collected from General Practice surveillance systems showed higher levels of ILI activity. One new influenza outbreak was reported in a residential care facility.

For more information: NSW Health - Infectious Diseases Alert


12 June 2016

Recent week onset (6 June to 12 June) there were 121 notifications.
103 (85%) were typed as influenza A and 18 (15%) influenza B 

15 influenza A have been subtyped: five(33%) were A(H1N1)pdm09 and 10 (67%) were A/H3N2 

Subtype is unavailable for 88 influenza A cases.

YTD 2016 (1 January to 12 June) there have been 3,906 notifications.

Influenza A:  3,267 (84%) 

Influenza B:  639 (16%) 

724 influenza A have been subtyped: 509(70%) were A(H1N1)pdm09 and 215 (30%) were A/H3N2 

Subtype is unavailable for 2,543 influenza A cases. 

Notification counts and percentage of positive tests both show fluctuations between weeks five and 14 followed by a decreasing trend to baseline levels. Although the YTD count is 1.9 times the five year mean and 1.2 times the count for the same period in 2015, the overall pattern remains consistent with inter- seasonal activity.

For more information: QLD Health - Preventable Diseases                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

South Australia

11 June 2016

Twenty-three cases of influenza were reported this week, with 13 cases being characterised as influenza A and ten as influenza B. Cases comprised of 14 males and nine females, with a median age of 39 years. There have been 848 cases of influenza notified year-to-date, compared with 1,873 cases reported for the same period last year.

For more information: Communicable Diseases Control Branch


9 May 2016

This report describes flu activity in Tasmania during the first four months of 2016. Available data over this period indicate: 

- Flu activity between January and April 2016 has remained low (baseline).

- The 2016 flu season has not commenced.

- General Practices participating in the surveillance of flu-like illness reported minimal activity during this period.

There have been 65 notifications of flu detected in specimens collected from the start of 2016 up to and including Sunday 24 April 2016. Similar numbers of notifications were received for specimens collected during the identical January-to-April periods of 2014 (65 notifications) and 2015 (63 notifications). 

For more information: Communicable Diseases Prevention - FluTAS


12 June 2016

Measures of influenza-like illness (ILI) from VicSPIN indicate the season is currently slightly below baseline levels. The ILI rate from the National Home Doctor Service has been variable but increased to above baseline levels in the last week.

The number of notified laboratory confirmed influenza cases for the year to 12 June is 19% lower than the same time in 2015. Of the notified influenza cases, 79% have been type A. VicSPIN detected one influenza A(H3N2) during the week.

Overall the data from the influenza and ILI surveillance systems indicate the influenza season is just at or slightly above baseline levels in Victoria.

For more information: Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory

Western Australia

12 June 2016

Indicators of influenza-like illness and influenza either decreased or remained relatively stable this week, indicating that seasonal activity has not yet started.

ILI presentations to general practice, detections of influenza virus, and notifications of influenza cases decreased this week.

Emergency department presentations and admissions remain relatively stable.

Influenza A (both H1 and H3) and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate at low levels, with influenza A/H1 (44%) and influenza B (31%) constituting the majority of detections.

For more information: WA Virus WAtch


Australian Sentinel Practices Research Network (ASPREN)

ASPREN is a national syndromic surveillance program co-ordinated by the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. One of the conditions under surveillance is influenza like illness (ILI). General practitioners participating in the ASPREN program contribute data on the proportion of consultations which are ILI related.

17 April 2016

Influenza-Like-Illness levels remain steady at baseline level. 

Nationally, ILI notifications increased over the period with 66 and 51 notifications in weeks 15 and 16 respectively. ILI rates reported in this period remain steady at 4 cases per 1000 consultations in weeks 15 and 16, compared to 2 and 4 cases per 1000 consultations in weeks 13 and 14 respectively. For the same reporting period in 2015, ILI rates were lower at 2 and 3 cases per 1000 consultations. On a state-by-state basis, it is important to note the increased ILI rate in Urban ACT.

(Baseline ILL < 4 in 1000 consultations, Normal 4< ILL rate <24).

For more information: ASPREN 

Flu Tracking

FluTracking is a pilot online health surveillance system which aims to detect epidemics of influenza. It is a joint initiative of The University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Area Health Service (NSW Health) and Hunter Medical Research Institute. Participation is voluntary and involves the completion of a weekly online survey during the influenza season. Data are collected on basic demographics, symptoms of ILI and absenteeism.

12 June 2016

Low levels of influenza-like illness activity

This survey was sent on Monday, 13 June 2016 at 01:13 AM and by 01:10 PM, Tuesday 14 June we had received 19885 responses (21116 last week) from 12079 people responding for themselves and 7806 household members across Australia.

Across Australia, fever and cough was reported by 1.7% of vaccinated participants and 2.3% of unvaccinated participants. Fever, cough and absence from normal duties was reported by 1.0% of vaccinated participants and 1.3% of unvaccinated participants.

For participants this week, 11727/19885 (59.0 %) have received the seasonal vaccine so far. Of the 3734 participants who identified as working face-to-face with patients, 2937 (78.7%) have received the vaccine.

For more information, or to enrol: Flu Tracking

New Zealand

12 June 2016

During week 23 (6–12 June 2016), influenza activity was very low among consultation-seeking patients nationwide. Influenza activity was also very low among those hospitalised patients in Auckland and Counties Manukau District Health Boards.

Forty-five patients with influenza-like illness consulted sentinel general practices in 20 DHBs. The weekly ILI incidence was 9.4 per 100 000 patient population, below the seasonal threshold of ILI consultations. The ILI related influenza incidence (adjusted) was 0.0 per 100 000 patient population.

During this week, 11 ILI specimens were tested, none were positive for influenza viruses.

For more information:  NZ Flu Surveillance