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Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2008 Jul;2(4):139-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2008.00050.x.

Influenza surveillance and immunisation in New Zealand, 1997-2006.

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  • 1The WHO National Influenza Centre, Institute of Environmental Science and Research, New Zealand.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The national influenza surveillance in New Zealand is an essential public health component for assessing and implementing strategies to control influenza.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study is to report the national influenza surveillance data collected during 1997-2006 in terms of the community disease burden, circulating viral strains, hospitalisations, mortality, and immunisation coverage.

METHODS:

The national influenza surveillance system includes sentinel general practice surveillance, laboratory-based surveillance, and hospital admission and mortality surveillance and immunisation coverage. The results obtained during 1997-2006 were analysed.

RESULTS:

When the last 10 years were compared to the previous years, sentinel general practice surveillance recorded a decreasing trend of influenza-like illness rates in the community. Sentinel surveillance also showed that children aged 0-4 years were the most affected. Influenza-related hospitalisation surveillance reported an increasing trend of hospital admissions particularly in children aged 0-19 years. Introduction of routine influenza vaccination among the New Zealand elderly was associated with a significant decrease of influenza-related mortality.

CONCLUSIONS:

This report demonstrates that an integrated virological and epidemiological surveillance system for influenza is essential for monitoring the disease burden, identifying circulating strains, guiding effective vaccination and planning for a potential pandemic.

PMID:
19453466
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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