I mentioned yesterday how I’d found a great report generator buried in the Department of Health and Ageing website. It has all the notifications of Influenza back to 1993, listed by month.
Anyway, I had another play with the generator and PowerPoint again tonight – looking again at the monthly figures – and I’ve created this graph. It shows the monthly notifications for all types of influenza in Australia for 2007, 2008 and so far (to today) for 2009:
As you can see, it tells an interesting story. Note a few points:
- 2007 was one of the worst influenza seasons in Oz in at least a decade and a half: and yet this year we are already twice the notifications for July and we still have half the month to go.
- The peak in August 2007 was double the July 2007 figure. We can expect August 2009 to be very big.
- The peak in 2008 didn’t come until September – we’ve all been expecting our season to peak in August – why are we so sure?
- There were still significant cases of flu in October in both 2008 and 2007.
In short, this flu season is very far from over, if past seasons are any guide.
Remember, please, all the caveats on these notification figures that I gave last time here. Including the fact that the comparison with 2007 is overstated (I have no doubt) because we are testing a whole lot more people this year than we did then.