Australian Influenza Surveillance Report - week ending 18 August 2017 (#07/2017)

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; ILI-related community level surveys; and sentinel laboratory testing results.

Page last updated: 29 August 2017

The Australian Influenza Surveillance Report is published on a fortnightly basis during the influenza season, typically between May and October. Influenza activity updates will be published outside of the seasonal period.

Australian Influenza Surveillance Report No 07 - week ending 18 August 2017

Summary

  • Influenza activity at the national level continued to increase this reporting fortnight with many surveillance systems at levels comparable to or exceeding the peak of the 2016 season.
  • High levels of influenza activity in the community are likely to continue for the next few weeks.
  • There has been almost two and a half times the number of laboratory confirmed notifications of influenza reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System this year when compared with the same period last year. An earlier season onset and introduction of rapid testing have contributed, in part, to this increase.
  • Influenza-like illness (ILI) is increasing nationally. Influenza was the most common cause of ILI presentations to sentinel general practitioners this fortnight, with more than half of all patients presenting to sentinel general practitioners with ILI and tested were positive for influenza.
  • Influenza A(H3N2) is currently the predominant circulating influenza A virus nationally, though the number of notifications has decreased this reporting period. Influenza B viruses also continue to circulate.
  • Notification rates this year to date have been highest in adults aged 80 years or older, with a secondary peak in young children, aged 5 to 9 years.
  • Hospitalisations with confirmed influenza have increased overall this reporting fortnight, but have declined in the most recent week.
  • Clinical severity for the season to date, as measured through the proportion of patients admitted directly to ICU and deaths attributed to pneumonia or influenza, is low.
  • To date, based on antigenic characterisation of circulating influenza viruses, the seasonal influenza vaccines appear to be a moderate to good match for circulating virus strains, depending on the strain. Vaccine effectiveness estimates, which provide an indication of how well the vaccine provides protection against influenza, are only available towards the end of the influenza season.

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