Australia has reported its highest number of influenza infections in May on record.
According to the latest data from the national disease surveillance system, 65,770 flu cases were recorded across Australia in May.
It marks an increase of more than 100 percent from the previous May record set in 2019.
As of June 5, 87,989 total influenza cases have been logged in Australia in 2022, according to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS).
Of those, 47,860, or 54 percent, were reported in the two weeks leading up to June 5 as winter set in.
"From mid-April 2022, the weekly number of notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza reported in Australia has exceeded the five year average," the NNDSS update said.
There have been 27 influenza-associated deaths in Australia in 2022 and 733 cases have been treated in hospital, 6 percent of whom were admitted directly to intensive care.
By comparison, there were fewer than 1,000 influenza cases in Australia in 2021 and more than 21,000 in 2020 as a result of restrictions introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Experts have warned that, with restrictions now lifted, Australia is facing an influenza resurgence over winter which, paired with a spike in COVID cases, could put significant pressure on the health system.
Jonathan Anderson, head of Medical Affairs at pharmaceutical company Seqirus, told an industry forum that the rest of the world will be watching how Australia copes with the spike.
"Australia is in a unique position in that we are one of the first countries to face COVID and a simultaneous flu season that is similar to pre-COVID levels," he was quoted by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) as saying on Saturday.
"It's clear that the rest of the world will be watching our flu season closely and learning from our successes or failures."