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).
Admitted patient hospitalisation rate, by jurisdiction, breathing difficulties (ICD-10-AM codes R06.0–R06.8), weeks in 2019–20 bushfire season relative to previous 5-year average