The week it peaked over here?

9 08 2009

After a week away, I’ve just updated the 7 day moving average graph to last Friday (latest available date). We’ve seen a fall in the 7 day moving average of reported new cases from 712 to 469 in Australia. Here’s the graph:

7 day move avg australiaDoes last week mark the peak of Swine Flu over here – the crest of the “pandemic wave”?

I doubt it. I’m sure we’re just testing fewer people.

Why am I sounding so certain? Well, apart from being an innate pessimist (what other personality type is going to start a blog about swine flu?), flu seasons just don’t seem to peak at this time of year – it seems a few weeks too early. In addition, the number of hospitalisations hasn’t declined. Here’s the graph:

aust hospitalisationsSo, let’s wait and see. While I think about other measures besides the confirmed new cases from the Department of Health and Ageing that might give us some indication of when the peak does actually arrive.

I’ve updated these two graphs on the Australian Graphs page. As always, you can double click on these graphs to blow them up and take a close look.

And it’s good to be back blogging. No excuses for not updating, apart from a very busy week: lots of travel for work and almost every night something on. Thanks for all the comments – it was really nice to be missed!

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1st August update

1 08 2009

The Department of Health and Ageing’s figures for today put the new cases at 84 (a low figure because of the weekend). This takes the 7 day moving average of confirmed new daily cases to 712. See graphs below.  As always, 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). You can also, by the way, double-click on any of these graphs and that should blow them up for you to get a better look.

7 day move avg australia

aust hospitalisations





31st July update

1 08 2009

The Department of Health and Ageing’s figures for today put the new cases at 980. This takes the 7 day moving average of confirmed new daily cases to 729. See graphs below.  As always, 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). You can also, by the way, double-click on any of these graphs and that should blow them up for you to get a better look.

7 day move avg australia

aust hospitalisations





July 30 – Department of Health and Ageing made a mistake yesterday

30 07 2009

The Department of Health and Ageing figures for today are 20,688 confirmed cases. Yesterday they posted 21,109. Given that these numbers can’t go backwards (like the kangaroo and emu on our coat of arms), I assume the Department meant (not that they’ve said anything) 20,109 yesterday, ie 1,000 fewer cases. That still means that the increase yesterday was 1,083. And the increase to today’s number is 579. Nonetheless, this readjustment brings the 7 day moving average (of new daily confirmed cases) down from the 900s to 712.

There seems to be no mistake with yesterday’s hospitalisation figures. Figures today have moved around a bit – total number of people in hospital slightly down, total number in ICU up.

The graphs below tell the story. As always, 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). You can also, by the way, double-click on any of these graphs and that should blow them up for you to get a better look.

7 day move avg australiaaust hospitalisations





NSW Health weekly epidemiology report – 29th July

29 07 2009

NSW Health has just released its Weekly Influenza Epidemiology Report, as at 29th July. This is a fascinating report looking at the surveillance results for influenza in NSW over the past week. The full report is available here. As we did last week, we’ll pull some interesting graphs from it.

Historically high numbers continue to present at Emergency Departments

Firstly, let’s look at the number of people presenting each week to NSW Emergency Departments with “Influenza-like Illness”. The 52 weeks ended yesterday is the black line. Equivalent periods for the past 5 years are the other coloured lines.

As you can see, despite the fall in the last week, the number of people presenting to Emergency Departments is still much higher than for the same period in any of the last 5 years.

ed counts 220709

What age groups are getting most affected?

And now, let’s look at how different age groups are being affected by this virus compared to a “normal” seasonal influenza. This graph shows the age distribution of those people admitted to hospital with confirmed H1N1 (09), compared to the average age distribution of those people admitted to hospital over the last five years with “normal” seasonal influenza. In the words of this week’s report:

There is a shift towards young and middle-aged adults in those admitted to hospital with H1N1 influenza 09, compared to those admitted to hospital with normal seasonal influenza over the previous 5 years.

age distribution hospital admissions





Wednesday update: 2,000 new cases for the second day running

29 07 2009

UPDATE AS AT JULY 30: It seems the Department of Health and Ageing made a mistake with the total cumulative figure in this update of 29th July. They wrote 21,109 total cases. It’s pretty clear now (as at July 30) that they meant 20,109. See my July 30 post.I’ve left my original July 29 post, with the Department’s mistake, standing here:

So, now it’s a bit more concerning. The Department of Health and Ageing have reported another 2,000 new cases today (2,083 to be precise). This takes the 7 day moving average of new daily cases to 915. That’s right – we have averaged 915 confirmed new cases of Swine Flu every day for the last 7 days.

So, what’s behind this? I guess it’s that we are approaching the peak (flu usually peaks here in August). But, as one of the commenters last night implied, it’s as much about how much testing you choose to do as anything else. There are better ways of seeing the spread of the pandemic (eg hospitalisations etc). Nonetheless, I think this new daily cases figure is not a bad proxy for the current spread of the virus: in as much as, I expect the 7 day moving average will trend down as we come off the peak (hopefully in a few weeks). So, it remains worth watching.

The graphs below tell the story. As always, 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).

7 day move avg australiaaust hospitalisations





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).