Influenza epidemiology in patients admitted to sentinel Australian hospitals in 2017: the Influenza Complications Alert Network (FluCAN)

Commun Dis Intell (2018). 2019 Sep 16:43. doi: 10.33321/cdi.2019.43.39.


The Influenza Complications Alert Network (FluCAN) is a sentinel-hospital-based surveillance program that operates at sites in all jurisdictions in Australia. This report summarises the epidemiology of hospitalisations with laboratory-confirmed influenza during the 2017 influenza season. In this observational surveillance system, cases were defined as patients admitted to any of the 17 sentinel hospitals with influenza confirmed by nucleic acid detection. Data are also collected on a frequency-matched control group of influenza-negative patients admitted with acute respiratory infection. During the period 3 April to 31 October 2017 (the 2017 influenza season), 4,359 patients were admitted with confirmed influenza to one of 17 FluCAN sentinel hospitals. Of these, 52% were elderly (≥65 years), 14% were children (<16 years), 6.5% were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, 1.6% were pregnant and 78% had chronic comorbidities. A significant proportion were due to influenza B (31%). Estimated vaccine coverage was 72% in the elderly (≥65 years), 50% in non-elderly adults with medical comorbidities and 24% in children (<16 years) with medical comorbidities. The estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) in the target population was 23% (95% CI: 7%, 36%). There were a large number of hospital admissions detected with confirmed influenza in this national observational surveillance system in 2017, with case numbers more than twice that reported in 2016.

Keywords: Influenza; influenza vaccines; public health surveillance; vaccination coverage; vaccine effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Influenza B virus / classification
  • Influenza B virus / genetics
  • Influenza B virus / immunology*
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / ethnology
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • Pregnancy
  • Sentinel Surveillance
  • Vaccination
  • Young Adult


  • Influenza Vaccines