Flu Research

This message from the U3A Network (sent by email) may be of interest to our website users.

Cold and Flu season is upon us, and while developing a bout of the Flu can have you feeling helpless, your information about it can actually be extremely helpful in tracking Flu trends in your local area.

Flutracking started in 2006 and has grown to become the largest crowdsourcing influenza surveillance system in the world.
Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and run by Hunter New England Health and the University of Newcastle, Flutracking is a nationwide online health surveillance system to track flu like illness across Australia and detect epidemics of influenza.

Developed by Dr Craig Dalton at HNE Health and HMRI. Flutracking works via community members signing up to receive a weekly email survey that takes just 10 seconds to complete.

The survey simply asks whether a respondent has had a cough or fever in the past week and whether they have had the annual flu vaccine.

Currently over 26,000 Australians complete this weekly survey and using this information, researchers can determine the onset of the flu season by region, severity of influenza strains and the effectiveness of current vaccines.

Each week participants are sent a report and interactive map showing flu affected areas.
The over 65 age group is one of the most at-risk and FluTracking would benefit from a greater number of participants in this demographic in order to form a clearer overall picture of influenza trends and hotspots

“Our online survey allows health professionals to see where flu is hitting the hardest, and to check its severity. You can make a real difference in just 10 seconds a week” Dr Dalton said.

To find out more and join up to become a part of the Flutracking community go to www.flutracking.net