Australian Influenza Surveillance Report - No 02 - week ending 25 April 2021

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: 30 April 2021

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 02- fortnight ending 25 April 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 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.

Activity

  • Following historically low activity levels observed from April 2020 onwards, community influenza-like-illness (ILI) activity in the year to date in 2021 remains at low levels.
  • Notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza have also remained low since April 2020. In the year to date in 2021, there have been 232 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 232 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.

At-risk populations

  • In 2021 to date, adults aged 80-84, adults aged between 60-64 and 65-69, and children under 5 years of age, have the highest influenza notification rates.

Virology

  • To date, 78.9% of notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza to the NNDSS were influenza A, of which 95.1% were influenza A(unsubtyped) and 4.9% were influenza A(H3N2). Influenza B accounted for 17.7% of notifications, 0.9% were influenza A and B co-infection, 0.4% were influenza C, and 2.2% were untyped.

Vaccine match and effectiveness

  • It is too early to assess vaccine match and effectiveness for this season.
  • Of the 5 samples referred to the WHOCC to date, all where characterised as antigenically dissimilar to the corresponding vaccine component.

Full Report

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Previous Reports and Updates

Annual Reports

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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