It's the Flu Season
Already the 2019 flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst years on record, due to the large number of influenza cases already confirmed.
As early as April this year, an unusual increase in influenza activity was identified. The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance Scheme (NNDSS) reported that in the quarter (13 January–12 April 2019) there were 27,537 cases of laboratory confirmed influenza. This is four times the quarterly rolling five-year mean.
Influenza typically affects between 5–10% of the community but in some instances it can be as high as 20%. This places a huge burden on the community in terms of economic losses through increased healthcare utilisation and lost productivity.
While the severity of flu season is unpredictable, vaccination is the most essential measure to prevent individuals from contracting the flu virus.
The influenza virus strains included in the 2019 seasonal influenza vaccines in Australia are:
- A/Michigan/45/2015, (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
- A/Switzerland/8060/2017, (H3N2)-like virus;
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus, Yamagata lineage; and
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus, Victoria lineage.
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