Australian Influenza Surveillance Report and Activity Updates

The Australian Influenza Surveillance Report and Activity Updates are compiled from a number of data sources, which are used to monitor influenza activity and severity in the community. These data sources include laboratory-confirmed notifications to NNDSS; influenza associated hospitalisations; sentinel influenza-like illness (ILI) reporting from general practitioners and community level surveys; and sentinel laboratory testing results.

Page last updated: 09 November 2016

The Australian Influenza Surveillance Report (AISR) is published on a fortnightly basis during the influenza season, typically between May and October. Influenza activity updates may be published outside of the seasonal period. A more in-depth end-of-season report is also published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence journal.

Australian Influenza Surveillance Report No 11 - 15 October to 28 October 2016

Summary

  • Nationally, influenza activity is returning to baseline levels, however seasonal activity persists in some regions.
  • Nationally, and in most jurisdictions, the seasonal peak of laboratory confirmed notifications of influenza occurred in the fortnight ending 2 September 2016 (week 34 and 35). Notifications peaked two weeks later in South Australia and four weeks later in the Northern Territory. Notifications have decreased this reporting fortnight, however are higher than at the same time in recent years. This is likely driven by a later season onset and persistent regional activity.
  • Throughout the season national indicators of influenza-like illness (ILI) in the community remained on the lower range of activity reported in previous years until late September, when they were at the higher end of the historical range. National indicators of ILI in the community continued to decline this fortnight and have reached baseline levels. Rhinovirus was the primary cause of ILI presentations to sentinel general practitioners this fortnight.
  • The 2016 season was characterised by the dominant circulation of influenza A. Early interseasonal activity was driven by influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, with influenza A(H3N2) predominating throughout the season from July.
  • Notification rates this year to date have been highest in adults aged 75 years or older, with a secondary, smaller peak in the very young, aged less than 5 years. This is consistent with influenza A(H3N2) being typically more prevalent in older age groups.
  • There were fewer admissions with confirmed influenza to sentinel hospitals this year than in the past two years. The overall proportion of patients admitted directly to Intensive Care Units (ICUs) was higher than last year, but consistent with a season of moderate severity. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and pregnant women were identified at greater risk of being admitted to ICU than other admitted patients this season.
  • To date, the seasonal influenza vaccines appear to be a good match for circulating virus strains.
  • This will be the Australian Influenza Surveillance Report for 2016, unless unusual activity becomes apparent over the summer months.

Full Report

Data considerations

The AISR aims to increase awareness of influenza activity in Australia by providing an analysis of the various surveillance data sources throughout Australia. While every care has been taken in preparing this report, the Commonwealth does not accept liability for any injury or loss or damage arising from the use of, or reliance upon, the content of the report. Delays in the reporting of data may cause data to change retrospectively. For further details about information contained in this report please refer to the AISR 2016 Data Consideration:

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Previous Reports and Updates

State and Territory Surveillance Reports

For further information regarding current influenza activity at the jurisdictional level, please refer to the following State and Territory departments of health surveillance reports:

Annual Reports

National Influenza Surveillance Scheme

This paper provides a comprehensive summary and analysis of the National Influenza Surveillance Scheme, including surveillance systems that function outside of the Scheme, in 2015. The Scheme is coordinated by the Australian Government Department of Health and supported by a number of surveillance systems that aim to be nationally representative and monitor important aspects of severity, incidence and virology. Influenza activity monitored through its systems is presented in reports available on this page. Several jurisdictionally based surveillance systems that operate outside of the Scheme are used to inform local influenza activity trends. This paper describes the strengths and limitations of these influenza surveillance systems in terms of the aspects of influenza activity that they inform  and their contribution to the overall monitoring of influenza activity in Australia.

Additionally, a brief overview of the influenza surveillance systems in Australia which formed the National Influenza Surveillance Scheme in 2015, is due to be published in the September 2016 edition of the Communicable Diseases Intelligence journal. This paper describes the systems based on the aspects of influenza activity that they represent as well as their respective strengths and limitations.

Accessibility Issues

Should you encounter issues in accessing the information contained either on this webpage or within the downloadable full reports please email flu (flu@health.gov.au) or contact the Department of Health switchboard on 02 6289 1555 or 1800 020 103.

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