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Commun Dis Intell Q Rep. 2008 Jun;32(2):208-26.

Annual report of the National Influenza Surveillance Scheme, 2007.

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  • 1Office of Health Protection, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. rhonda.owen@health.gov.au

Abstract

The year 2007 saw the most severe influenza season since national reporting of influenza began in 2001. Early in the season the National Incident Room was activated to provide effective national surveillance, reporting and management of the 2007 seasonal influenza outbreak. A surveillance team were tasked with establishing enhanced surveillance for the 2007 season and investigating unusual events in this outbreak. Key data required to comprehensively describe the number of cases, morbidity, mortality and virology of the influenza outbreak and the possible sources of these data were identified. In 2007 the number of laboratory-confirmed notifications for influenza was 3.1 times higher than the five-year mean. Forty-four per cent of notifications occurred in Queensland. High notification rates were reflected in an increase in presentations with influenza-like illness to sentinel general practices and Emergency Departments. Notifications and notification rates were highest in the 0-4 and 5-9 years age groups, possibly due to a bias towards testing in these age groups. The clinical morbidity of the infection in terms of complications or most affected groups cannot be determined but anecdotal reports indicate this season may have impacted young adults more than is usual. The available data suggest influenza has caused a significant burden on workplaces and the health care system as indicated by data on absenteeism and presentations for health care. The proportion of H1 strains of influenza circulating varied across Australia but was higher than 2006 in most jurisdictions. In 2007, 1,406 influenza isolates from Australia were antigenically analysed at the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne: 58.7% were A(H3N2), 34.4% were A(H1N1) and 6.9% were influenza B viruses. Antigenic drift away from the vaccine strain A/Wisconsin/67/2005 was observed with the A(H3N2) viruses and was also seen with most of the A(H1N1) viruses when compared with the vaccine strain A/New Caledonia/20/99. The small number of influenza B viruses examined were predominately of the B/Yamagata-lineage. Monitoring influenza through the National Incident Room during the 2007 season offered an excellent opportunity to conduct enhanced surveillance under conditions that were real and potentially serious but not an emergency. It enabled the current state of our surveillance systems to be assessed and opportunities for improvement to be identified.

PMID:
18767420
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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