Published Date: 2011-10-20 02:24:39
Subject: PRO/EDR> Influenza (59): Australia (QL)
Archive Number: 20111020.3125
INFLUENZA (59): AUSTRALIA (QUEENSLAND)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 19 Oct 2011
Source: ABC News ILLawara [edited]
Doctors have reported a spike in influenza cases across Australia,
with 25 000 confirmed cases reported to state and territory health
authorities to the end of September . It is the highest number
this decade apart from the swine flu epidemic 2 years ago.
Queensland is the worst-affected state with more than 10 000 cases,
while New South Wales was next with half that number. Per-capita
infection rates have been highest in Queensland, South Australia, and
the Northern Territory.
15 per cent of all flu cases reported nationally this year  have
been in children younger than 4, the highest rate in any age group.
Queensland Health spokeswoman Dr Christine Selvey says her state's
large number of infections is a result of a rigorous testing regime.
"What we do know is that there's always more influenza than is ever
diagnosed, and so it's really related to how much testing will
determine how many notifications we get in many ways," she said.
[byline: Kim Lyell]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
[According to the WHO Influenza global update 144, released on 7 Oct
2011, influenza transmission rates have remained consistent through
week 39 in Australia, although the weekly number of laboratory
confirmed influenza notifications has continued to decline in
Queensland, New South Wales (NSW), and most other states except the
Overall, the peak of influenza notifications seems to have been in
early August 2011, which was above the peak frequency experienced in
previous years except 2009. The majority of states and territories
have reported mostly influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 with co-circulation of
influenza B; except in Tasmania and NSW, where influenza B
predominates, and Western Australia reporting a mix of influenza
A(H1N1)pdm09, A(H3N2) and very little influenza B.
>From 1 May to 22 Sep 2011, there were 155 influenza hospitalizations
(including 20 ICU admissions) in Victoria, South Australia, Western
Australia, and the Australia Capital Territory. About 53 per cent of
the hospitalizations and 60 per cent of the ICU admissions were
associated with influenza A(H1N1)2009; the mean age of the
hospitalized patients was 49 years.
This apparent discrepancy needs to be resolved. It may be that the
perceived spike of cases in Queensland, reported in the above ABC
report, is a consequence of enhanced surveillance and case-finding
rather than a relative increase in the number of influenza virus
infections. It will be interesting to observe whether this perceived
increase in case numbers is carried through to the next WHO global
influenza virus report.
A map of the states of Australia can be accessed at