ESR | Keeping people safe and healthy through science


SHIVERS project

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The ESR led SHIVERS (Southern Hemisphere Influenza and Vaccine Effectiveness, Research and Surveillance) project is a five year multi-million dollar project funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It aims to increase understanding of the burden of influenza and how to prevent its spread around the world.

Every year flu travels around the world following the winter season, mutating as it goes. By the time it comes back south for the next winter it’s often in the form of an entirely new strain, and could be resistant to last year’s treatment. That’s why it’s vital we try and accurately identify the disease in all its forms, from mild infection through to hospitalisation and even death.

Our flu season often predicts what will happen in the northern hemisphere so along with our highly computerised health system and close working relationships, New Zealand is an ideal location to collect, collate and analyse high quality data to share with health agencies around the world.

The SHIVERS project established two enhanced population-based surveillance systems (one hospital based and one community based) covering 838,000 residents in the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) and Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) regions. The project evaluates influenza disease burden, epidemiology, aetiology, risk factors and immunology, as well as measuring the effectiveness of prevention strategies such as influenza vaccination.

The results of the study will have global significance and impact on the way influenza is managed in the future.

Funding: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grant No: 5U01IP000480

SHIVERS serosurvey

2015 saw the introduction of a new study component, the SHIVERS serosurvey, to help us understand the immunity or protection people in the community have against influenza. This study took place between February and November 2015 and involved about 1500 participants, both adults and children (aged 0-15 years), randomly selected from participating general practices in Auckland.

 This study helped us find out if participants:

  • developed immunity to flu by the end of the winter
  • had flu during the winter, and
  • contribute to understanding about flu infection in the community

To find out more about the SHIVERS project, read the SHIVERS findings to date, or contact the SHIVERS Project Office:

Tel: +64 4 529 0600 or email us: