THE Hunter researchers behind FluTracking hope to help track the coronavirus if there is an outbreak in Australia and New Zealand.
Hunter public health physician and FluTracking coordinator, Dr Craig Dalton, said the national online influenza surveillance system could help health authorities track the severity of influenza and coronavirus within the community. He said coronavirus had similar symptoms to influenza.
The key to differentiating it would be changes in the burden and severity of illness, and the participants' reports of their laboratory results for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
"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," Dr Dalton said.
"We hope to provide useful insight into the severity of coronavirus if it begins spreading here.
"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."