Influenza or “the flue” all-time low in Australia


By: Nalin Jayetileke

Next to the common cold, influenza or “the flu” has been reported as the most familiar respiratory infection in the world. In the United States alone, approximately 25 to 50 million people contract influenza each year. The symptoms of the flu are similar to those of the common cold, but tend more difficult snagging sickness to handle. Fever, headache, fatigue, muscle weakness and pain, sore throat, dry cough, and a runny or stuffy nose are common symptoms which sometimes could develop rapidly and even be fatal. According to some of the study reports, Gastrointestinal symptoms associated with influenza are sometimes experienced by children, but for most adults, illnesses that manifest in diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting are not caused by the influenza virus though they are often inaccurately referred to as the “stomach flu.” Studies also have reveled that a number of complications, such as the bronchitis and pneumonia, can also occur in association with influenza and are especially common among the elderly, young children, and anyone with a suppressed immune system.

It has also been reported that Influenza is highly contagious and is more common during the colder months of the year. Contrary to traditional belief, the climate itself is not directly to blame for the increase in incidence, but rather is attributable to the greater amount of time spent indoors in close proximity to other individuals during inclement weather. Thus aligning ours self with what we can see with the Covid 19 issues the world faces right now. Some reports have reveled that even the Corona Virus can get transmitted between people through the Air, something similar to the influenza virus which is chiefly transmitted through airborne respiratory secretions released when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. Incubation typically is from one to two days from the time of infection, However, unlike the Corona virus which needs over 14 days to recover, with influenza most people begin to naturally recover from symptoms within a week. The vast majority of influenza-related deaths are said to be caused by complications of the other illnesses rather than the actual influenza virus. This has a lot of Similarity with what we have also experienced with the Corona Virus where lots of deaths have occurred not mainly due to the Corona Virus but due to other complications. These complications takes place due to one having other illnesses/ ailments in the body for which they have been taking treatment for or Post Covid, not giving enough attention to such ailments and being mindful of whey you are left with after an episode of Covid.

As reported by Melanie Vujkovic of ABC Australia this morning stated “before COVID-19 arrived, the number of influenza cases was reaching some of its highest levels, with 313,033 notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza across Australia in 2019 — 2.7 times higher than the five-year average — and 953 deaths.

In 2020, there were more than 20,000 notifications to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) and 37 deaths. This year, to August 29, just 484 cases were recorded and zero deaths. Perhaps surprisingly, almost half of those were in Queensland, with 235 cases, but experts do not have an answer as to why. Victoria recorded just 75 cases, New South Wales recorded 61 and the next highest was just 31 in the Northern Territory.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza’s deputy director, Professor Ian Barr, said the majority of the cases were detected in quarantine, coming in from overseas, particularly from India.” stated the report on ABC.

The whole influenza world is topsy-turvy at the moment. According to correspondent in Melbourne Australia, in a normal scenario this is the time we should be seeing not a few hundred, a few thousands cases per state and a lot of cases throughout Australia.

It is reveled that fewer-than-usual cases were not just a phenomenon of 2021, it had also occurred last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It can also be seen that as soon as COVID restrictions were enforced with the international borders closed, Australia has seen a decline of influenza cases.

Australia before the pandemic started in 2019, health system has had to face one of the worst flu seasons on record. The number of reported flu cases for 2019 climbed over 300,000, which was 80 per cent higher than 2018 and 17 per cent higher than 2017 – described by experts as the ‘worst ever’. According to influenza reports 8121  people have died from the flu – an increase from 64 people in 2018 and up from at least
804 in 2018 – whilst almost 4,000 people have been hospitalized.

As closing of international borders is seen as the main contributor for the general Influenza t just disappear, the question is how possible it would be to keep the influenzas at bay once the borders open up again and if that has had many sufferings and even deaths, Melbourne with over 66,000 influenza cases in 2019, which is referred to by may as one of the  hot bed for influenza should be looking at an alternative to mitigate such outbakes under normal conditions.

Reports have reveled however, that it has been New South Walls that has had the most amount of affected people with Influenzas in 2019 with the total being over 112,000 cases as reported by the pharmacy guild (

Information courtesy: correspondent in Melbourne/