ESR health scientists have launched a new “dashboard”, providing up-to-date information on how influenza is tracking as well as its severity.
In a first for flu surveillance, the new “one stop shop” will on a near real-time basis give a measure of the impact of the flu through the season.
The environmental health science agency, which manages the national influenza surveillance programme on behalf of the Ministry of Health, says the dashboard has been developed to help the health sector’s management of the flu.
While it is aimed at health professionals, it will also provide a guide to members of the public who want to find out how flu is tracking through the season.
The ESR dashboard includes information on flu activity, flu severity and which viruses are circulating this season. This information is gathered as part of the national influenza surveillance programme from a range of sources including laboratories, intensive care units, emergency departments, GPs and Healthline.
ESR’s manager of Strategic Health Intelligence, Lisa Oakley, says the new system will also be extremely useful in the event of a flu pandemic.
“Multiple flu viruses circulate in a season; some are worse than others, some parts of the community are more vulnerable, and in some years a flu virus is worse than previously experienced.”
With this year’s flu season just beginning, Dr Oakley says the near real-time information provided on the ESR website will be of great value.