Journal article

Where has all the influenza gone? The impact of COVID-19 on the circulation of influenza and other respiratory viruses, Australia, March to September 2020

Sheena G Sullivan, Sandra Carlson, Allen C Cheng, Monique BN Chilver, Dominic E Dwyer, Melissa Irwin, Jen Kok, Kristine Macartney, Jennifer MacLachlan, Cara Minney-Smith, David Smith, Nigel Stocks, Janette Taylor, Ian G Barr



The coronavirus disease pandemic was declared in March 2020, as the southern hemisphere's winter approached. Australia expected co-circulation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, influenza and other seasonal respiratory viruses. However, influenza notifications were 7,029 (March-September) compared with an average 149,832 for the same period in 2015-2019 [corrected], despite substantial testing. Restrictions on movement within and into Australia may have temporarily eliminated influenza. Other respiratory pathogens also showed remarkably changed activity in 2020.


Funding Acknowledgements

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, the Australian Sentinel Practices Research Network, the Influenza Complications Alert Network and FluTracking are all supported by the Australian Government Department of Health. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department.