Australian Influenza Surveillance Report and Activity Updates

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-surveil-ozflu-flucurr.htm

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Australian Influenza Surveillance Report – 2021 Influenza Season in Australia

Australian Influenza Surveillance Report No 07 – fortnight ending 04 July 2021

Key Messages

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 influenza activity data from April 2020 onwards 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.

Activity

  • While influenza-like-illness (ILI) activity in the community remains at historically low levels, it has continued to gradually increase since January 2021.
  • Notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza have remained low since April 2020. In the year to date in 2021, there have been 388 notifications to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) in Australia, of which 25 notifications had a diagnosis date this fortnight.

Severity

  • There is no indication of the potential severity of the 2021 season at this time.
  • In the year to date, of the 388 notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza, no influenza-associated deaths have been notified to the NNDSS.
  • There have been no hospital admissions due to influenza reported across sentinel hospitals sites since commencement of surveillance in April 2021.

Impact

  • Given the low number of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications, low community ILI activity, and no hospitalisations due to influenza at sentinel hospital sites, it is likely there is minimal impact on society due to influenza in 2021 to date.

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