HNECC March Communicable Diseases report

Influenza and respiratory infection

High levels of influenza activity have been reported from the northern hemisphere. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus is predominant in Canada and USA while in northern Europe, influenza B virus detections are increasing. In South East Asia, influenza activity is ongoing with increasing levels of influenza B virus.

Communicable Diseases Report

March 2016

Annual influenza vaccination

Pertussis activity continues

Sexually transmitted infections – MSM annual screen

In Australia, Influenza A and B strains are circulating at higher levels than is usual for this time of year, with influenza A(H1N1) the most prevalent strain.

Currently, picornavirus and RSV are the most commonly identified respiratory viruses in NSW.

Pertussis: Activity remains high with over 230 notifications being received each week across NSW.

Zika virus: Women who are pregnant or who are considering pregnancy should delay their travel to areas with active outbreaks of Zika. Evidence suggests sexual transmission is possible so males returning from affected countries should take preventive measures to avoid the potential of transmission to their partners. See the NSW Health website for details, including a list of affected countries.

Sexually transmitted infections: Asymptomatic men-who-have-sex-with-men should be comprehensively screened for STIs at least annually. Tests should include pharyngeal and anorectal swabs for chlamydial/gonococcal PCR, first void urine for chlamydial PCR and serology for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

An education session Undiagnosed HIV: not in my practice?’ providing support and updates for GPs and practice staff will be held in Maitland - Wednesday 25 May 2016 @ 6:30pm

Hepatitis B and HIV disclosure. Under the Public Health Amendment (Contact Tracing) Regulation 2015 which came into effect on 18 September 2015, a doctor is able to disclose the Hepatitis B and HIV positive status to partners who may have been exposed without stating who is responsible for the exposure (the source of the exposure may be obvious in some situations). Consent from the person with the notifiable condition is not required but is preferred. Should he/she withhold consent it is prudent to let them know that you can now disclose and intend to do so.

Tuberculosis: In Australia, more than 1200 people are diagnosed with Tuberculosis every year. Maintain a high index of suspicion when patients present with persistent (>3 weeks) cough, weight loss, night sweats and fever; and for people who were born in or have spent time in a high TB endemic country

Meningococcal disease: Since 2013 there has been an increase in notifications of invasive serogroup W meningococcal disease (MenW) in Australia, with 12 cases (8% of all invasive meningococcal disease cases) in 2013, 17 cases (10% of all IMD) in 2014, and 34 cases (19% of all IMD) in 2015. As of 18

February 2016, there have been 9 notifications of MenW in Australia accounting for 36% of all IMD, more than serogroup B notifications for this year.

Immunisation News

Two quadrivalent influenza vaccines will be available under the National Immunisation Program– Fluarix Tetra® for eligible individuals 3 years of age and older and FluQuadri™ Junior, for eligible children 6-35 months of age. The National Influenza Vaccination Program offers free vaccine to the following people:

  • All people aged 65 years and over
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza, including cardiac disease, chronic respiratory conditions, impaired immunity, diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure and haemaglobinopathies.

 

Communicable disease notifications

Table 1. Summary of selected notifiable conditions (YTD* by year), 2012 – 15 March 2016

    Hunter New England   Central Coast
 

 

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

 

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

Cryptosporidiosis  

34

52

27

63

31

 

17

11

6

10

11

Salmonellosis

 

212

139

144

104

106

 

42

62

75

44

54

Chlamydia infection

 

798

656

696

728

740

 

225

151

303

228

310

Gonorrhoea

 

83

71

68

37

72

 

17

34

23

25

14

Syphilis

 

7

9

11

15

5

 

<5

10

10

5

6

Influenza

 

81

68

43

23

2

 

10

6

9

<5

6

Meningococcal disease

 

2

1

0

2

0

 

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

Pertussis

 

388

195

67

55

188

 

195

27

6

18

85

Ross River virus

 

37

131

29

25

58

 

10

33

5

6

<5

 

 *YTD Year to date for each year (reporting delays may result in changes to 2016 figures)

† Note, a more stringent RRV case definition was introduced in January 2016

Population Health contact details (note, 1300 066 055 will find your local PHU)

Hunter New England Wallsend Office 4924 6477
Tamworth Office 6764 8000
Central Coast Public Health Unit Gosford Office 4320 9730

This Communicable Disease Report and previous editions are available on the internet

Report prepared by Keith Eastwood Keith.Eastwood@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au