Fortnight 05: 02 March to 15 March 2019
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Increases in infectious syphilis notifications are attributed to an on-going outbreak occurring in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people residing in northern and central Australia and continued increases among men who have sex with men (MSM) in some urban areas throughout Australia.
Outbreak in remote Australia
In January 2011, an increase of infectious syphilis notifications among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was identified in the North West region of Queensland (QLD), following a steady decline at a national level in remote communities. Subsequent increases in infectious syphilis notifications were reported in the Northern Territory (NT) in 2013, Western Australia (WA) in 2014 and South Australia (SA) in 2016, following sustained periods of low notification rates. The outbreak is of significant public health concern given the: elevated rates of infectious syphilis among women of child-bearing age, increasing the risk and the rate of congenital syphilis; and the concomitant risk of HIV transmission.
For the latest information on the infectious syphilis outbreak, refer to the Department’s website.
Increases among MSM
Since 2010, increases in notifications of infectious syphilis have been reported in MSM, predominately 20-39 years of age, residing in urban areas of Victoria (VIC), Qld and NSW. Since 2015, increases have been reported in MSM in urban areas in South Australia.
Since November 2018, there has been an unusual increase in influenza activity reported by most states and territories. In the past quarter cases of laboratory confirmed influenza reported to National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System are about 3 times the quarterly rolling five year mean.
The Department of Health closely monitors national influenza activity throughout the year, including during the inter-seasonal period. A detailed summary of the 2018 Australian influenza season is available on the Department’s website.
Selected diseases are chosen each fortnight based on either exceeding two standard deviations from the 90 day and/or 365 day five year rolling mean or other disease issues of significance identified during the reporting period. All diseases reported are analysed by notification receive date. Data are extracted each Monday of a CDNA week.
Totals comprise data from all States and Territories. Cumulative figures are subject to retrospective revision so there may be discrepancies between the number of new notifications and the increment in the cumulative figure from the previous period.
- The past quarter (90 day) surveillance period includes the date range 16/12/2018 to 15/03/2019.
- The quarterly (90 day) five year rolling mean is the average of 5 intervals of 90 days up to 15/03/2019. The ratio is the notification activity in the past quarter (90 days) compared with the five year rolling mean for the same period.
- The past year (365 day) surveillance period includes the date range 16/03/2018 to 15/03/2019.
- The yearly (365 day) five year rolling mean is the average of 5 intervals of 365 days up to 15/03/2019. The ratio is the notification activity in the past year (365 days) compared with the five year rolling mean for the same period.
The five year rolling mean and the ratio of notifications compared with the five year rolling mean should be interpreted with caution. Changes in surveillance practice, diagnostic techniques and reporting may contribute to increases or decreases in the total notifications received over a five year period. Ratios are to be taken as a crude measure of current disease activity and may reflect changes in reporting rather than changes in disease activity.top of page