Here’s the current state of flu in Australia

Spread of flu across the country remains at generally low levels, although government says it’s too early to call potential severity of the season

The geographic spread of influenza activity has so far been localised in New South Wales and Victoria, and sporadic in all other reporting regions.

According to the Department of Health, a total of 12,269 notifications of laboratory confirmed influenza have been reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) for the year to 24 June 2016:

  • 4,273 in Queensland
  • 3,967 in New South Wales
  • 1,611 in Victoria
  • 1,160 in Western Australia
  • 883 in South Australia
  • 129 in the Australian Capital Territory
  • 127 in the Northern Territory
  • 119 in Tasmania


Flu surveillance in map of Australia as at 26 June 2016.
Source: FluTracking Project

FluTracking, a national online system for collecting data on influenza-like illness in the community, indicates that rates among participants so far this year have been on the lower range of recent seasons.

Since seasonal surveillance commenced through the Influenza Complications Alert Network (FluCAN) sentinel hospital surveillance system on 1 April 2016, a total of 111 people have been admitted with confirmed influenza.

Approximately 13% of influenza patients have been admitted directly to ICU and the majority of influenza admissions have been due to influenza A (86%).

The seasonal influenza vaccines appear to be a good match for circulating virus strains to date, says the Department of Health.

The influenza virus strains included in the 2016 seasonal influenza vaccines in Australia are:

  • A/California/7/2009, (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014, (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus, Victoria lineage
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus, Yamagata lineage (Quadrivalent influenza vaccine only)

The Influenza Specialist Group points out that the vast majority of people do not get tested for influenza and the data presented here may underestimate the full picture of influenza activity.

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