AISR fortnightly report no. 17 – 16 November to 29 November 2020
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The Australian Influenza Surveillance Report (AISR) is compiled from several data sources 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
- sentinel laboratory testing results.
The AISR is published fortnightly during the influenza season, typically between May and October. Influenza activity updates may be published outside of the seasonal period.
It is important to note that due to the COVID-19 epidemic in Australia, data reported from the various influenza surveillance systems may not represent an accurate reflection of influenza activity. Results should be interpreted with caution, especially where comparisons are made to previous influenza seasons. Interpretation of 2020 influenza activity data should take into account, but are not limited to, the impact of social distancing measures, likely changes in health seeking behaviour of the community including access to alternative streams of acute respiratory infection specific health services, and focussed testing for COVID-19 response activities. Current COVID-19 related public health measures and the community’s adherence to public health messages are also likely having an effect on transmission of acute respiratory infections, including influenza.
Following a high start to the 2020 interseasonal period, currently, influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI) activity levels are lower than average across all systems. At the national level, notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza have substantially decreased since mid-March and remain low.
Given low case numbers of laboratory-confirmed notifications for influenza, it is likely that there is minimal impact on society due to influenza circulation in the 2020 season.
There is no indication of the potential severity of the 2020 season at this time. In the year to date, of the 21,266 notifications of laboratory confirmed influenza, 37 (0.17%) laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated deaths have been notified to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS).
In the year to date, the majority of nationally reported laboratory-confirmed influenza cases were influenza A (87.1%).
Vaccine match and effectiveness
Given low case numbers of influenza in 2020, it is currently was difficult to assess vaccine match and effectiveness.