Influenza Activity Surveillance 2020
This report provides a summary of surveillance data collected from around Australia and New Zealand. Regional reporting in some areas ceases when flu activity is low (out of season). Please note that many people do not get tested for influenza and that there may also be some delays in reporting confirmed influenza cases.
Therefore data presented here may be underestimating influenza activity.
Click above for an up to date PDF of Australian Influenza Statistics from the NNDSS.
National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS)
There have been a total of 20,823 laboratory confirmed notifications of Influenza in Australia for 2020, at the start of 13 July.
- ACT: 189
- NSW: 7,105
- NT: 277
- QLD: 5,876
- SA: 1,513
- TAS: 159
- VIC: 4,531
- WA: 1,173
For more national data: National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS)
The weekly flu report has currently been suspended due to the COVID response, however weekly influenza information is available in the COVID-19 weekly surveillance report.
March Influenza Report 2020
- Influenza activity was low for this time of year and has continued to decrease throughout the month.
- Influenza A(H1N1) remained the predominant circulating influenza strain.
- Respiratory presentations to NSW emergency departments decreased but were above the historical range for this time of year.
- Influenza activity continue to decrease throughout March and remained within inter-seasonal levels.
- Influenza A strains, particularly influenza A (H1N1), remained predominant over influenza B strains, with an overall influenza percent positive rate of 2.1%.
- Respiratory testing was increased overall, likely reflecting the on-going COVID-19 outbreak.
- Influenza activity was low across all local health districts. Rates were highest in the Hunter New England LHD.
- Presentations to emergency departments for respiratory illnesses and influenza-like illness were above the usual historical ranges for this time of year.
- Three influenza outbreaks were reported from residential aged care facilities, all caused by influenza A.
For more information: NSW Health – Infectious Diseases Alert
Week ending 5 July 2020
Recent week 29 June – 5 July 2020:
3 x Influenza A notifications for the week: 0 x A (H1N1); 0 x A (H3N2); 3 x subtype unavailable.
3 x Influenza B notifications for the week: 0 x Victoria; 0 x Yamagata; 3 x lineage unavailable.
Total influenza notifications for the week: 6
All influenza notifications to date: 5,866
This includes: Influenza A: 5,201 and Influenza B: 665
For more information: QLD Health – Preventable Diseases
28 June – 4 July 2020
Six cases of influenza were reported this week with one case being characterised as influenza A and five cases characterised as influenza B. Cases comprised of three males and three females, with a median age of 32 years. There have been 1,537 cases of influenza notified year-to-date, compared with 20,677 cases reported for the same period last year.
For more information: Communicable Diseases Control Branch
Week ending 5 July 2020
Number of laboratory confirmed flu notifications for this week: 0
Total influenza cases YTD: 158 [138 Influenza A and 20 influenza B]
FluTAS 2020 Report 2
2020 summary to date: 1 January to 31 May
- There have been 156 laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications in Tasmania to date this year.
- There were relatively high notifications at the beginning of the year compared to previous years before declining in March and decreasing to only three cases in April and five cases in May.
- This decline in notifications coincides with the physical distancing policies, implemented by the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments during March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A similar decline in influenza notifications has been observed by other States and Territories.
- Influenza A was the predominant circulating influenza virus with 138 notifications (88%).
- 5 704 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for influenza have been conducted to date due to COVID-19 response activity.
- Despite this increase in testing only four per cent of tests have been positive for influenza so far this year.
Notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza to Public Health Services
There were 156 laboratory confirmed notifications of influenza in Tasmania from1 January to 31 May 2020 (week 22), 21 per cent higher than the 2016-2018 average of 124 notifications. In contrast, notifications were 84 per cent lower than the 995 notifications received during the same period in 2019 which was characterised by an early start to the influenza season.
Monthly influenza case numbers decreased steadily from January to March and dropped to three cases in April and five cases in May. This decline coincided with the social distancing policies, implemented by the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments during March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A similar decline in influenza notifications has been observed nationally.
There has been an increase in laboratory testing this year due to COVID-19 response activity. There were 5 704 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for influenza conducted between 1 January and Sunday 31 May 2020. Influenza testing increased dramatically in March and peaked in early May with 648 tests conducted in week 19.
Proportion of tests positive for influenza
Despite the increase in testing, the average weekly proportion of tests positive for influenza to date is four per cent, with a range of 0 to 14 per cent. The percentage of positive tests peaked in week 2 at 14 per cent and week 5 at 13 per cent before gradually declining to no positive tests in week 14. There have been no positive PCR tests in Tasmania since March 29.
For more information: Communicable Diseases Prevention – FluTAS
Week ending 5 July 2020
- Influenza-like illness (ILI) is lower than last week and remains below the average activity threshold.
- The total ILI proportion measured by VicSPIN is 1.0 ILI per 1000 patients seen.
- The number of notified cases of laboratory confirmed influenza is 84% lower than the number notified by the same time in 2019.
- The majority of notified cases over the season have been type A (88.4%), and type A cases are older than type B cases.
- One swab was received from VicSPIN this week which was negative for influenza. No other respiratory viruses were detected.
For more information: Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory or Victorian State Health Department
Week ending 28 June 2020
INFLUENZA AND INFLUENZA-LIKE ILLNESSES (ILI)
- Indicators of influenza activity remain at or below interseasonal levels.
- ILI activity at sentinel GPs and EDs remains below levels usually seen at this time of year.
- There were no influenza detections from PathWest this week.
For more information: WA Virus WAtch
ASPREN is a national syndromic surveillance program co-ordinated by the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. One of the conditions under surveillance is influenza like illness (ILI). General practitioners participating in the ASPREN program contribute data on the proportion of consultations which are ILI related.
1 – 14 June 2020
- 0 Cases of influenza have been detected in this reporting period:
0 x Influenza A
0 x Influenza B
- 0% Influenza positivity during the reporting period.
- 21 Cases of influenza have been detected this year:
19 x Influenza A
2 x Influenza B
Reports were received from 250 reporters from 8 states and territories during the reporting period. During weeks 23 and 24 reporters saw a total of 39,223 patients.
Nationally, ILI notifications increased during the period with 81 notifications being reported in weeks 23—24. ILI rates reported in this period slightly increased to 2 and 3 cases per 1000 consultations (weighted). This was similar to the previous fortnight where rates were 2 cases per 1000 consultations in weeks 21 and 22. For the same reporting period in 2019, ILI rates were higher at 13 and 12 cases per 1000 consultations for weeks 21 and 22 respectively.
(Baseline ILL < 3 & 4 in 1000 consultations, Normal 4< ILL rate <24).
For more information: ASPREN
FluTracking is an online health surveillance system which aims to detect epidemics of influenza. It is a joint initiative of The University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Area Health Service (NSW Health) and Hunter Medical Research Institute. Participation is voluntary and involves the completion of a weekly online survey during the influenza season. Data are collected on basic demographics, symptoms of ILI and absenteeism.
Week ending 5 July 2020
This week influenza-like illness activity is low.
(Data received up to 09:00AM, Thursday 9 July)
Influenza-like illness activity:
Fever and cough: 0.5% this week (flu-like illness activity is historically low)
Influenza-like illness severity:
56.6% of participants with fever and cough sought medical advice this week
70,301 participants (71,798 last week)
Vaccination rates: 81.4% overall
For more information, or to enrol: Flu Tracking
In recent weeks, ILI-related call rates to HealthLine have increased and are higher than the historical mean for this time of year. This increase is most evident in those aged under 1 year and 1-4 years.
ILI consultation rates reported by HealthStat have also increased in recent weeks but are lower than the historical mean for this time of year. Similar to ILI-related call rates to HealthLine, this increase is most evident in those aged 0-4 years.
An increase in ILI-associated rates was to be expected following the easing of physical distancing restrictions and the start of the winter season.
For more information: NZ Flu Surveillance