Preparing for out‐of‐season influenza epidemics when international travel resumes

Sheena G Sullivan
Med J Aust 2022; 216 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51340
Published online: 22 November 2021

Influenza vaccination for travellers and the resources mobilised during the COVID‐19 pandemic could mitigate the effects of an influenza resurgence

In this issue of the MJA, Marsh and colleagues1 report that inter‐seasonal influenza activity in New South Wales was unusually high during the 2018–19 summer, and provide compelling evidence for the role of international travel in seeding local influenza epidemics. During December 2018 – March 2019, people with notified influenza infections were 3.7 times as likely to report recent overseas travel as other people; however, the odds were almost seven times as high for people with infections identified during the first two months of summer, suggesting that some of these cases initiated local outbreaks, with subsequent community transmission.1

  • Sheena G Sullivan

  • WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza (Royal Melbourne Hospital) at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, VIC


The WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza is supported by the Australian Department of Health. We thank Arseniy Khvorov for his technical assistance with the figure, and Ian Barr for his helpful comments on the draft manuscript.

Competing interests:

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza receives funding from the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, and Seqiris, for the development of influenza candidate vaccine viruses.


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