Date issued: 15 June 2022
Issued by: Associate Professor Deborah Friedman, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease)
Issued to: General Practitioners, respiratory clinics and Primary Health Networks
- Rapid testing for respiratory pathogens is critical in identifying outbreaks in the community and providing timely medical care, particularly for people at high risk of severe illness.
- Many respiratory pathogens can cause similar symptoms early in the course of an illness.
- Distinguishing between influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory pathogens is particularly important in people at high-risk of severe illness as the treatments and public health measures differ.
- Rates of seasonal influenza and other respiratory illnesses are increasing in Victoria.
- In people at high-risk of severe illness presenting with respiratory illness, clinicians are asked to request a respiratory virus PCR panel, which includes influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in addition to COVID-19.
- Clinicians are encouraged to provide influenza and COVID-19 vaccination to all eligible Victorians, and particularly to those at high-risk.
Read the full advisory: Testing for respiratory pathogens