Hospitalisations with a principal diagnosis categorised as burns (ICD-10-AM codes T20–T31) were analysed.
Overall, the rate of hospitalisations for burns in Australia is generally low. There were fluctuations in hospitalisation rates—likely due to small numbers—observed during the periods analysed. Therefore, the following results should be interpreted with caution.
Nationally, there were increases in the hospitalisation rate for burns coinciding with increased bushfire activity during the 2019—20 bushfire season. The greatest increase in the hospitalisation rate was 30% in the week beginning 15 December 2019—0.8 per 100,000 persons (about 210 hospitalisations), compared with the previous 5-year average of 0.6 per 100,000 (an average of 155 hospitalisations). The week beginning 29 December 2019 also saw a 13% increase in the rate of hospitalisations. The extent to which these hospitalisations were directly related to bushfire is unknown; however, this timing coincides with periods of intense fire activity.
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, burns (ICD-10-AM codes T20–T31), weeks in 2019–20 bushfire season relative to previous 5-year average