I’ve been searching around trying to answer the question: just how much worse is this than a normal flu season in Australia?
I’ve run across a pretty cool report generator from the Department of Health and Ageing. It will generate a data table for you of any notifiable disease you like: showing monthly notifications of that disease going back to 1991. You can have a look at it here.
So, of course, I ran the report for Influenza. And then I shoved the table in a spreadsheet and graphed it on PowerPoint. I got two really good graphs, see below. The first graph shows the number of lab confirmed Influenza cases (not just Swine Flu, but all flu) notified to the Department of Health and Ageing in the month of May for the last 9 years. The second graph does the same for the month of June.
You’ll see they’re pretty dramatic. Now, I assume that these graphs are wildly misleading. I assume that Australia has dramatically increased its testing this year, compared to previous years. And of course, if you increase testing, you’ll find more. In fact, the health experts seem to be saying that there’s not much more flu about this season, compared to previous seasons (it’s just that 70% of flu cases are now Swine Flu). In other words, the dramatic spike in numbers in these graphs is much more due to us just measuring more cases than anything else. Still – they make for a dramatic picture…