There are some excellent statistical resources available to those working on swine flu stories…

There are some excellent statistical resources available to those working on swine flu stories. 

Statistics Canada released data at the end of March on causes of death in Canada in 2005, including influenza. This can help provide context and background for stories on the outbreak. The general causes of death release at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/84-208-x/84-208-x2009001-eng.htm allows you to download stats on the numbers of people who died from influenza and other diseases, broken down into various sub categories. The data can be viewed in a browser, or downloaded to load into Excel or other spreadsheet program. The leading causes of death release provides summary tables good for a quick look at how many people died from various causes. Influenza and pneumonia are grouped together in this data at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/84-215-x/84-215-x2009000-eng.htm

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Statscan’s Health Indicators publication for 2008 includes detailed statistics for 2007 on the numbers of people in different age groups who had been immunized against influenza in the year leading up to the survey. These stats drill down to the individual health districts and zones in each province, as well as providing higher level information. You can either use CANSIM (free in this case) to select the particular data you wish to see, or download the entire dataset in Excel or IVT (Beyond 20/20) format.

The U.S. Centres for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/ provides updates on disease surveillance in the U.S., including the current swine flu situation.

We’ll post more sources here as we come across them.