Faster detection key to improving flu response

Published Wednesday, 18 October, 2017 at 06:30 AM

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Cameron Dick

The State Government will invest $1.3 million in technology to diagnose influenza and other infections faster and make future flu seasons easier for Queensland hospitals to manage.

Speaking ahead of today’s Queensland Flu Summit in Brisbane, Health Minister Cameron Dick said $600,000 would be allocated for rapid point-of-care testing and $700,000 for automated blood culture machines.

Mr Dick said the Government would roll out point-of-care testing for flu in 15 of the state’s largest public hospitals next year.

“Point-of-care tests screen for influenza A and B strains and can provide results within 30 minutes,” Mr Dick said.

“This testing is very efficient and will greatly assist hospitals in the early diagnosis and management of people with flu.

“They will also help hospitals manage admission and care for those who need it most.”

The Minister said the Government would also invest in automated blood culture machines to replace the current systems next year.

“These machines quickly detect infections that are spreading through the blood stream,” he said.

“This improved technology will lead to more efficient and timely diagnosis and management of bacterial infections secondary to influenza.”

The Minister said the flu summit brought together health experts, including representatives of the World Health Organisation and other leading institutes, to develop further strategies for managing future flu seasons.

“Queensland has endured one of its worst flu seasons in recent years,” Mr Dick said.

“More than 52,000 laboratory-confirmed cases have been recorded so far this year and more than 5500 of these have required hospitalisation.

“That’s why an event such as today’s flu summit is so important.

“Unfortunately influenza cannot be totally eradicated so we need to continue finding ways of protecting the community from this debilitating virus.

“The summit is intended to garner some great ideas from very knowledgeable people and we will explore strategies used in other regions.

Rapid point-of-care testing is already in place at five Queensland public hospitals – the Princess Alexandra, Toowoomba, Cairns, Ipswich and Lady Cilento Children’s hospitals. In 2018, it will be rolled out in: 

  • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
  • Gold Coast University Hospital
  • Townsville Hospital
  • Rockhampton Hospital
  • The Prince Charles Hospital
  • Logan Hospital
  • Redland Hospital
  • Redcliffe Hospital
  • Caboolture Hospital
  • QEII Hospital
  • Mackay Hospital
  • Bundaberg Hospital
  • Hervey Bay Hospital
  • Mount Isa Hospital and
  • Robina Hospital.


Media contact: Joe Begley 0437 443 404