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Epidemiology of viral respiratory infections in Australian working-age adults (20–64 years): 2010–2013

  • B. M. Varghese (a1), E. Dent (a1) (a2), M. Chilver (a3), S. Cameron (a1) and N. P. Stocks (a3)...

Abstract

Acute respiratory infections cause significant morbidity and mortality accounting for 5.8 million deaths worldwide. In Australia, influenza-like illness (ILI), defined as cough, fever and fatigue is a common presentation in general practice and results in reduced productivity and lost working days. Little is known about the epidemiology of ILI in working-age adults. Using data from the ASPREN influenza surveillance network in Australia (2010–2013) we found that working-age adults made up 45.2% of all ILI notifications with 55% of samples positive for at least one respiratory virus. Viruses most commonly detected in our study included influenza A (20.6%), rhinovirus (18.6%), influenza B (6.2%), human meta-pneumovirus (3.4%), respiratory syncytial virus (3.1%), para-influenza virus (2.6%) and adenovirus (1.3%). We also demonstrated that influenza A is the predominant virus that increases ILI (by 1.2% per month for every positive influenza A case) in working-age adults during autumn–winter months while other viruses are active throughout the year. Understanding the epidemiology of viral respiratory infections through a year will help clinicians make informed decisions about testing, antibiotic and antiviral prescribing and when the beginning of the ‘flu season’ can be more confidently predicted.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: N. P. Stocks, E-mail: nigel.stocks@adelaide.edu.au

References

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Epidemiology of viral respiratory infections in Australian working-age adults (20–64 years): 2010–2013

  • B. M. Varghese (a1), E. Dent (a1) (a2), M. Chilver (a3), S. Cameron (a1) and N. P. Stocks (a3)...

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