Let's track the flu so we can help you


21 May 2018

The Ministry of Health's Director of Public Health welcomes the introduction of a new way to track influenza online in New Zealand.

This year, the Ministry of Health is working together with Australia in the FluTracking initiative – an online health monitoring system designed to track flu-like symptoms across the country.

While health officials are busily preparing for this year’s influenza season, which includes the distribution of this year’s vaccine to hospitals, pharmacies and general practices around the country, this new online tool will help New Zealanders monitor the spread of the flu.

“Every week during the influenza season, participants will be sent a link to answer a couple of simple flu-related questions,” says Director of Public Health, Dr Caroline McElnay.

“The survey will take less than 10 seconds to complete and will help researchers to determine the onset of flu by region, the effectiveness of the vaccine in New Zealand and the severity of the influenza season. This information will be used to inform planning ahead of future influenza seasons.”

“That’s why it’s crucial that as many people as possible sign up to FluTracking (www.flutracking.net) – the survey takes little to no time to complete but provides invaluable insights to those monitoring flu this year.”

This year’s vaccine protects against four strains of influenza.

“It’s also worth noting that the flu vaccine is free to people aged 65 and older, pregnant women (at any trimester) and people with chronic or serious health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer or severe asthma.”

Dr McElnay acknowledges New Zealand already has a comprehensive surveillance system in place when it comes to monitoring influenza. And she’s keen to reiterate that FluTracking is just one of those programmes –but it is the only one that lets people participate directly.

“Individuals and families can make a real contribution through FluTracking. And as with any new online tool, the more people who participate, the more accurate the data across New Zealand will be.”

What are you waiting for – sign up and track the flu, so we can help you.

Last updated: Monday, May 21, 2018

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