Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. There are three main types of influenza virus that cause infection in humans - types A, B and C - and many sub-types or strains. Influenza can occur throughout the year but in NSW influenza activity usually peaks in winter.
Recommending influenza vaccination for patients and staff is an important preventive action, especially for people at increased risk of complications from influenza infection who are eligible for free vaccine. For more information on influenza vaccine recommendations and how to order free vaccine see the NSW Health Immunisation Program.
Influenza and pregnancy guidance for clinicians
See the Influenza and pregnancy - guidance for clinicians fact sheet for specific guidance for health professionals and health facilities on managing pregnant women presenting with suspected or confirmed influenza infections, including considerations in the management of influenza in each trimester, around the time of birth and in the post-natal period.
See the NSW Health Maternal influenza vaccination - evidence review for further information on the safety and efficacy of influenza vaccination during pregnancy, and the research supporting the role influenza vaccination during pregnancy has to protect pregnant women from influenza and its complications in pregnancy, and to protect newborns against influenza during the critical early months of life.
Influenza vaccination and pregnancy information for antenatal care providers
Influenza vaccination during pregnancy should be routine - safety is well established and both maternal and infant benefit is proven.
See the Influenza information for antenatal care providers webpage for updated information on the key messages and measures for flu and pregnancy, links to influenza vaccination advice from RANZCOG and from the Australian Immunisation Handbook (NHMRC), and for links to flu and pregnancy resources for antenatal care providers.
Please contact your local public health unit on 1300 066 055 to report suspected outbreaks of influenza in high-risk settings such as residential aged care facilities, special schools and boarding schools.