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Hospital-acquired influenza in an Australian sentinel surveillance system

Nosocomial influenza has been associated with significant morbidity, mortality and cost due to increased length of stay. It is likely to be under-recognised because of rapid turnover of patients and delays in diagnosis. Most previous reports of nosocomial influenza have involved known case clusters.1 We aimed to review cases of nosocomial influenza detected in a hospital-based surveillance program.


The Influenza Complications Alert Network (FluCAN) is a sentinel surveillance system that prospectively collects data on adult patients hospitalised with confirmed influenza.2 In 2010, this system involved 15 hospitals in all Australian jurisdictions and, in 2011, eight hospitals in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. Surveillance was performed between April and November of each year.

Influenza was diagnosed using nucleic-acid detection from respiratory samples. Testing was performed at the discretion of treating clinicians but was encouraged for influenza-like illnesses because of infection prevention considerations. Seasonal…