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Influenza in Australia

13 Aug 2014

There have been 20 979 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza reported this flu season in Australia. This is more than double the number of cases in 2013, and generally there is an increase in cases during September.

The main virus detected is reported to be influenza A(H1N1).

Many influenza cases go unreported in Australia as only the serious cases are laboratory confirmed, therefore the actual number of influenza cases will be much higher. There are around 6 weeks left of the flu season in Australia

The majority of recorded cases of influenza have been in Queensland, with 5959 confirmed cases. New South Wales 5375 cases, Victoria 2473, South Australia 1797, Western Australia 1722, Northern Territory 331, Tasmania 197 and the Australian capital Territory 284.

The uptake of influenza vaccine has been relatively low even among at-risk groups this flu season.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers in an influenza high risk group who plan to travel from one hemisphere to the other shortly before or during the destination country's influenza season, should ensure that they have received seasonal influenza vaccine in the UK. At times, the composition of the influenza vaccine is the same or very similar for both hemispheres and the UK vaccine may provide protection. Influenza A(H1N1) virus was included in the vaccine for both hemispheres for the 2013/14 flu seasons.

Vaccine for travellers to the opposite hemisphere may not be obtainable in the UK prior to travel. At risk travellers may wish to arrange for vaccination after arriving at their destination