Tuesday in Australia: almost 2,000 new cases

28 07 2009

So, the Department of Health and Ageing caught up with their weekend backlog and published 1,965 new cases in their daily H1N1v update. If it were a real 24 hours worth it would be alarming, but it’s clearly to make up for the under-reporting of the last few days (see yesterday’s post).

With this update the 7 day moving average has snapped back to its steadily increasing trend. It’s now 713 – the largest number yet. Hospitalisations remain steady – at their recent record highs.

7 day move avg australia

aust hospitalisations

You can see these graphs in more detail, as well as some others, at the top of this blog (at “Australian Swine Flu Graphs“, which I try to update daily).




4 responses

29 07 2009

In order to interpret the published case numbers correctly: under what current testing policy are they obtained ? I assume only severe/hospitalized cases are tested by now ?

How do those numbers correlate with the actual number of people infected ? (10,100 times higher ?)

In countries like Australia, that are already in a progressed pandemic phase with widespread sustained community spread, shouldn’t we use other flu surveillance indicators (ILI-percentage, etc.) that do not depend on individual case counts to get a better estmiate of the shape of the true epidemic curve ?

Even here in Germany where we have not yet reached the community transmission phase yet, we have about 1000 cases each day from returning travelers to community-spread countries (mostly from summer vacation in Spain) alone !

So I assume the daily number of cases in a country like Australia with widespread sustained community transmission near its peak winter flu season should be much much higher (which BTW, also puts the CFR and hospitalization rates into a mor reassuring perspective)

29 07 2009

Hi. Yes I agree with you. These numbers are only a small percentage of the actual new cases, I have no doubt. And that does mean that the fatality rates and hospitalisation rates are less alarming than you might otherwise think.

The testing policy is not quite as strict as you suggest (but still nowhere near everyone is tested). A recent NSW Health GP update puts it this way: “Testing is not required to treat patients and is not routinely recommended GPs are requested to only test for influenza in the unusual circumstance where the result will directly change a patient’s clinical management. Testing is not required before commencing treatment in patients with suspected influenza.”

Rates of “Influenza like Illness” presenting to Emergency Departments are a good proxy. I’ve posted the latest figures from NSW, compared to same periods for the last 5 years here.

Thanks for the comment.



29 07 2009
Snake Oil Baron

You should try getting someone who is all-knowing to keep the graph up to date. That way, when data is late or incomplete, they can fill in the correct values. I know some people who feel they are omniscient. I’ll get one of them to e-mail you.

29 07 2009


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