A sentinel general practice (GP) program for the surveillance of influenza like illness (ILI) has been conducted in Victoria by the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) and the Department of Health, Victoria since 1993.

VIDRL coordinates the sentinel GP ILI surveillance program and laboratory testing of cases has been conducted at VIDRL since 1998.

VIDRL monitors diagnoses of ILI made by the locum medical practitioners through the Melbourne Medical Deputising Service (MMDS).

The DH coordinates the surveillance of all laboratory confirmed influenza in Victoria, a prescribed group B notifiable disease under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009.

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza provides data on strain typing of influenza isolates or Victorian influenza positive specimens forwarded by VIDRL and two Melbourne hospital laboratories.

The objectives of the influenza surveillance system are to:

  • estimate the protection afforded by seasonal influenza vaccination against GP attendance for an influenza-like illness (ILI) due to laboratory confirmed infection with pandemic and seasonal influenza.

  • monitor the epidemiology of laboratory confirmed influenza in Victoria;

  • identify the onset, duration and relative severity of annual influenza seasons in Victoria;

  • provide samples for the characterisation of circulating influenza strains in the community to assist in the evaluation of the current season's and formulation of the following season's vaccine; and

  • provide a role in early recognition of new influenza viruses and new or emerging respiratory diseases.

  • Contact:
    Melbourne Medical Deputising Service