The Australian Influenza Surveillance Report (AISR) is published on a fortnightly basis during the influenza season, typically between May and October. Influenza activity updates may be published outside of the seasonal period.
Australian Influenza Surveillance Report - 2020 Influenza Season in Australia
Australian Influenza Surveillance Report – 2020 National Influenza Season Summary
It is important to note that due to the COVID-19 epidemic in Australia, data reported from the various influenza surveillance systems may not accurately reflect 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 physical 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. During 2020, COVID-19 related public health measures and the community’s adherence to public health messages are also likely to have had an effect on transmission of acute respiratory infections, including influenza.
- Activity – Following a high start to the 2020 interseasonal period, influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI) activity levels were lower than average across all systems. At the national level, notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza substantially decreased in mid-March and remained low since.
- Impact – 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.
- Severity – There is no indication of the potential severity during the 2020 season. 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).
- At-risk populations: Children younger than 10 years of age had the highest influenza notification rate, while the notification rate among those aged 65 years or older was lower compared to other age groups.
- Virology – In the year to date in 2020, the majority of nationally reported laboratory-confirmed influenza cases were influenza A (87.1%).
- Vaccine match and effectiveness – The low case numbers of influenza across all systems during the 2020 season precludes meaningful analysis to estimate vaccine effectiveness. Of the samples referred to the WHOCC, there was reasonable matching between influenza subtype and lineage, and the corresponding vaccine component.
The AISR aims to increase awareness of influenza activity in Australia by providing an analysis of the various surveillance data sources throughout Australia. While every care has been taken in preparing this report, the Commonwealth does not accept liability for any injury or loss or damage arising from the use of, or reliance upon, the content of the report. Delays in the reporting of data may cause data to change retrospectively. For further details about information contained in this report please refer to the AISR 2020 Data Consideration:
Influenza vaccine efficacy, effectiveness and impact explained
There are three general terms that are used to describe how well a vaccine works in any given influenza season: vaccine efficacy, vaccine effectiveness and vaccine impact. This document provides a general explanation of each of these terms as well as information specific to influenza vaccines.
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Previous Reports and Updates
State and Territory Surveillance Reports
For further information regarding current influenza activity at the jurisdictional level, please refer to the following State and Territory departments of health surveillance reports:
National Influenza Surveillance Scheme
This paper provides a comprehensive summary and analysis of the National Influenza Surveillance Scheme, including surveillance systems that function outside of the Scheme, in 2015. The Scheme is coordinated by the Australian Government Department of Health and supported by a number of surveillance systems that aim to be nationally representative and monitor important aspects of severity, incidence and virology. Influenza activity monitored through its systems is presented in reports available on this page. Several jurisdictionally based surveillance systems that operate outside of the Scheme are used to inform local influenza activity trends. This paper describes the strengths and limitations of these influenza surveillance systems in terms of the aspects of influenza activity that they inform and their contribution to the overall monitoring of influenza activity in Australia.
Should you encounter issues in accessing the information contained either on this webpage or within the downloadable full reports please email flu (email@example.com) or contact the Department of Health switchboard on 02 6289 1555 or 1800 020 103.
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