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.

Australia

Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing

There have been a total of 9,246 laboratory confirmed notifications of Influenza in Australia for 2016, at the end of 22nd May.

•    QLD:    3,511
•    NSW:   2,675
•    WA:         805
•    SA:          771
•    VIC:      1,203
•    ACT:          91
•    NT:           109
•    TAS:          81

For more national data:  

National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System

Australian Influenza Surveillance Report                                                             

New South Wales

15 May 2016

The influenza season has not yet started and it is unlikely to start in the next four weeks.

Although higher than the usual inter-seasonal average, influenza activity continued to be low across NSW, with influenza A(H1N1) viruses the most common strain identified.

Influenza A and B strains are continuing to circulate at levels slightly higher than is usual for this time of year but activity is not consistent with an early start to the winter influenza season.

The rate of influenza like illness (ILI) presentations to selected emergency departments was low and consistent with inter-seasonal activity.

The rate of ILI consultations at sentinel general practices was low.

The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza remained low.

Influenza activity in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased. Influenza B has been the predominant influenza virus strain circulating.

For more information: NSW Health - Infectious Diseases Alert

Queensland

15 May 2016

The statewide percentage of positive tests (public laboratories) in the most recent week was 3.2%, which is consistent with inter-seasonal influenza activity in the community.

Recent week onset (9 May to 15 May) there were 114 notifications.
93 (82%) were typed as influenza A and 21 (18%) influenza B. 

14 influenza A have been subtyped: five(36%) were A(H1N1)pdm09 and nine (64%) were A/H3N2.

Subtype is unavailable for 79 influenza A cases. 

YTD 2016 (1 January to 15 May) there have been 3,341 notifications.
2,811 (84%) were typed as influenza A and 530 (16%) influenza B. 

599 influenza A have been subtyped: 443(74%) were A(H1N1)pdm09 and 156 (26%) were A/H3N2. 

Subtype is unavailable for 2,212 influenza A cases. 

Although the YTD count is 2.2 times the five year mean and 1.4 times the count for the same period in 2015, the overall pattern is consistent with inter-seasonal activity. 

For more information: QLD Health - Preventable Diseases                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

South Australia

7 May 2016

Fifty-three cases of influenza were reported this week, with 43 cases being characterised as influenza A and ten as influenza B. Cases comprised of 20 males and 33 females, with a median age of 27 years. There have been 733 cases of influenza notified year-to-date, compared with 1,314 cases reported for the same period last year.

For more information: Communicable Diseases Control Branch

Tasmania

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

Victoria

8 May 2016

Measures of influenza‐like illness (ILI) from VicSPIN indicate the season is currently at baseline levels. ILI from the National Home Doctor Service is slightly elevated compared to the same time in previous years but variable. 

The number of notified laboratory confirmed influenza cases for the year to 8 May is similar to the same time in 2015. Of the notified influenza cases, a majority (~80%) have been type A. Both influenza A subtypes (H1N1)pdm09 and H3N2 have been detected by VicSPIN, as well as parainfluenza virus and picornavirus. 

Overall the data from the influenza and ILI surveillance systems indicate the influenza season is yet to start in Victoria.

For more information: Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory

Western Australia

15 May 2016

Some indicators of influenza-like illness activity increased this week, but overall, indicators remain at inter-seasonal levels.

There were modest increases in ILI presentations to sentinel emergency departments (EDs), notifications of influenza to the WA Health Department, and detections of influenza virus by sentinel general practitioners (GPs) this week.

Other indicators of influenza activity remain low, including routine detections of influenza virus.

Influenza A (both H1 and H3) and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate at low levels, with influenza B (43%) constituting the majority of detections.

For more information: WA Virus WAtch

Nationally

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.

15 May 2016

Low levels of influenza-like illness activity 

This survey was sent on Monday, 16 May 2016 at 01:13 AM and by 09:00 AM, Thursday 19 May we had received 22856 responses (22057 last week) from 13749 people responding for themselves and 9107 household members across Australia.

Across Australia, fever and cough was reported by 2.0% of vaccinated participants and 1.9% of unvaccinated participants. Fever, cough and absence from normal duties was reported by 1.5% of vaccinated participants and 1.4% of unvaccinated participants.

For participants this week, 9206/22856 (40.3 %) have received the seasonal vaccine so far. Of the 4413 participants who identified as working face-to-face with patients, 2629 (59.6%) have received the vaccine.

For more information, or to enrol: Flu Tracking

New Zealand

15 May 2016

During week 19 (9–15 May 2016), influenza activity was very low among those consultation-seeking patients nationwide. Influenza activity was also very low among those hospitalised patients in Auckland and Counties Manukau District Health Boards. 

ILI surveillance:  Thirty-seven patients with influenza-like illness consulted sentinel general practices in 20 DHBs. The weekly ILI incidence was 8.7 per 100 000 patient population, below the seasonal threshold of ILI consultations. The ILI related influenza incidence was 0.4 per 100 000 patient population.

For more information:  NZ Flu Surveillance