Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021) Data update: Short-term health impacts of the 2019–20 Australian bushfires., AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 29 January 2022
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Data update: Short-term health impacts of the 2019–20 Australian bushfires. Retrieved from https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/environment-and-health/data-update-health-impacts-2019-20-bushfires
Data update: Short-term health impacts of the 2019–20 Australian bushfires. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 12 November 2021, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/environment-and-health/data-update-health-impacts-2019-20-bushfires
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Data update: Short-term health impacts of the 2019–20 Australian bushfires [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2022 Jan. 29]. Available from: https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/environment-and-health/data-update-health-impacts-2019-20-bushfires
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Data update: Short-term health impacts of the 2019–20 Australian bushfires, viewed 29 January 2022, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/environment-and-health/data-update-health-impacts-2019-20-bushfires
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Because of the association between air pollution from bushfires and respiratory conditions, hospitalisations with a principal diagnosis of abnormalities of breathing (ICD-10-AM codes R06.0–R06.8), henceforth referred to as breathing difficulties, were analysed.
Analyses did not identify a consistent pattern in relation to impacts from bushfires and hospitalisations due to breathing difficulties.
Nationally, there were increases in the hospitalisation rate for breathing difficulties across each week of the 2019—20 bushfire season. The greatest increase during times of increased fires, was 41% in the week beginning 19 January 2020—3.5 per 100,000 persons (about 890 hospitalisations), compared with the previous 5-year average of 2.5 per 100,000 (an average of 610 hospitalisations).
To explore national data and data for states and territories, see interactive data visualisations below (for data tables see Supplementary table S1).
This combined chart shows the crude rate of admitted patient hospitalisations (per 100,000 persons) for breathing difficulties for the periods 2019–20 and the previous 5-year average, and the percentage change in crude rate between the two periods. Data are presented by jurisdiction and by week, for the period 1 September to 29 February/1 March, which correspond to the bushfire season. The chart shows that nationally, compared with the previous 5-year average, there were increases in the hospitalisation rate across each week of the 2019—20 bushfire season. There were also variations at the jurisdictional level.
At the state and territory level, examples of large increases in the hospitalisation rate for breathing difficulties coinciding with periods of significant fire activity or air pollution include:
Because the numbers of hospitalisations for breathing difficulties at the level of Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) were generally small, data are not presented at this level.
For data by Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4), see Supplementary table S2.
Arriagada NB, Palmer AJ, Bowman DM, Morgan GG, Jalaludin BB & Johnston FH 2020. Unprecedented smoke-related health burden associated with the 2019–20 bushfires in eastern Australia. Medical Journal of Australia 213(6): 282–3.
Government of South Australia 2020. Independent review into South Australia’s 2019–20 bushfire season.
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