Responding to influenza in South Australia
14 May 2019
Influenza notifications in South Australia are more than 9 times that at the same time last year, with 12,347 notifications and 17 deaths caused by influenza infection.
Medical practitioners are advised to:
- Reinforce community messages on cough etiquette and hand hygiene, and not to attend work, school, childcare and other public events while unwell. Display flu posters and provide surgical masks for symptomatic patients attending general practices, emergency departments and other health facilities. Resources available at: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/WashWipeCover
- Continue to promote annual influenza vaccination for anyone over 6 months of age, especially those in higher-risk groups for whom free vaccination is available. Influenza vaccination is still recommended in those who have already had influenza this season as subsequent infection with a different influenza strain is possible. In these cases, flu vaccine can be given as soon as the person is well enough to be vaccinated. There is currently no recommendation for the ≥65 age group to receive more than one influenza vaccination per year (except if receiving vaccine for the first time after a transplant). The adjuvanted trivalent vaccine Fluad is funded, and has similar effectiveness to the high dose quadrivalent vaccine. For more information on vaccination see: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/flu.
- Offer anti-viral treatment to anyone with confirmed or suspected influenza with established complications, requiring hospital admission for influenza management, or with moderate to severe community acquired pneumonia. Consider anti-viral treatment in those at higher risk of poor outcomes from influenza. See Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic for more details.
- Consider anti-viral prophylaxis for those at higher risk of poor outcomes from influenza who are exposed to influenza during the infectious period (one day before onset of symptoms to up to 7 days after onset of symptoms – longer in children and those who are immunosuppressed). See Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic for more details.
- Consider anti-viral prophylaxis in healthcare settings, and to manage influenza outbreaks in residential care facilities. Persons on prophylaxis who develop an influenza-like illness should move to a treatment regime. Influenza vaccine can be given to persons taking anti-viral medication for treatment or prophylaxis. See the Australian Government Guidelines at and Influenza Kit for Aged care.
- Notify deaths caused by influenza to the Communicable Disease Control Branch, even if the infection has already been notified.
Dr Louise Flood - Director, Communicable Disease Control Branch
For all enquiries please contact the CDCB on 1300 232 272
For public health alerts see: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/HealthAlerts
For information on notification see: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/NotifiableDiseaseReporting
For weekly epidemiology reports see: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/SurveillanceNotifiableConditions