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Influenza Season Strikes Early in Australia

By 

René F. Najera, DrPH

May 31, 2019

While we in the United States are enjoying warm temperatures this summer, Australians are entering their winter season. Just like with us in the northern hemisphere, influenza and other respiratory conditions appear in South America, Australia and New Zealand in May and remain through October, when spring arrives in the southern hemisphere. Additionally, influenza vaccine strains for the northern hemisphere are chosen based on what is seen in the southern hemisphere's flu season, and vice-versa. According to , influenza activity is localized, regional or widespread in 7 of the eight territories (states). Laboratory-confirmed influenza cases are already on the rise, something not usually seen in May:
As you can see from the graph above, it's not until late June and July that laboratory-confirmed cases are usually reported. This year, there was a bump in April (lots of type B influenza, from the report), and now a steady increase through May. Because of this, news outlets are and . Vulnerable populations, like the homeless, in an attempt to lower the burden of the disease. Like in the United States, influenza vaccination in Australia , with groups most at risk for complications being especially targeted for immunization.

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