Join FluTracking survey to monitor potential coronavirus outbreak in Australia.

FluTracking, the national online influenza surveillance system, will start today to track the potential coronavirus outbreak in Australia and New Zealand.

University of Newcastle (UoN) is a partner in the research and virus tracking system.

The FluTracking system provides a snapshot of the spread of respiratory virus illnesses at the community level and will help health authorities track and understand the severity of influenza or coronavirus within the community.

Coronavirus has very similar symptoms to influenza and other respiratory viruses. The key to differentiating it from influenza will be both changes in the burden and the severity of illness and the participants reports of their laboratory results for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

There were over 40,000 participants in FluTracking in 2019 and we are hoping to have over 50,000 people in 2020. Participants receive a weekly report on the findings and a map showing the latest FluTracking activity,” Dr Dalton said.

We are asking for people to join FluTracking and tag your friends to join it as well. Anyone can join and it only takes 10 seconds per week to do the survey. We particularly need parents with young children and people living in rural and remote areas but welcome more people from the larger cities.

FluTracking was particularly useful during the 2009 influenza pandemic as it showed that we experienced an average attack rate, but people were much sicker than usual. We hope to provide useful insight into the severity of coronavirus if it begins spreading here.”