Influenza – Preparation for 2018

Kate Turner1, Fiona Wilson1, Annie Wells1, Juanita Mayne1, Nicola Mulcahy1, Angela Russell1, Faline Howes1

1Public Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services

There have been three times as many influenza notifications in Tasmania in 2017 as in 2016, and over twice as many nationally. The season started earlier than usual in late June, and notifications had a sustained peak from mid-August to mid-September, before declining. Influenza has affected all age groups, with the highest age-specific notification rates among elderly adults and children. Two-thirds of Tasmanian notifications were influenza A (predominantly the H3N2 strain) and one-third influenza B. Influenza A/H3N2 tends to cause relatively more severe illness among the elderly. To 10 October 2017, 44 institutional outbreaks of influenza-like illness (ILI) had been reported to Public Health Services.

This presentation will provide an overview of the 2017 influenza season, the essentials of outbreak management in an aged care facility and illustrate with examples of best practice management.

Kate Turner is a Registered Nurse with over 25 years nursing experience in a variety of healthcare settings including acute care, remote area health and international humanitarian aid. Kate holds a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and for the past 13 years has worked in the role of Clinical Nurse Consultant with Public Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services. Her position is a state-wide role and functions as an advanced clinical practitioner within the Communicable Diseases Prevention Unit providing information and guidance in relation to communicable disease prevention and control in Tasmania.  Kate participated in the Public Health response to pandemic influenza in 2009 and regularly provides guidance to residential care facilities in relation to influenza outbreak management.

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