Sharon Weeks

University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

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Publications (6)15.15 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Streptococcus pneumoniae (Pnc), nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and Moraxella catarrhalis (Mcat) are the most important bacterial pathogens associated with otitis media (OM). Previous studies have suggested that early upper respiratory tract bacterial carriage may increase risk of subsequent OM. To examine associations between early onset of URT bacterial carriage and subsequent diagnosis of OM in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children living in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region located in a semi-arid zone of Western Australia. METHODS: Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children who had nasopharyngeal aspirates collected at age 1- < 3 months and at least one clinical examination for OM by an ear, nose and throat specialist before age 2 years were included in this analysis. Tympanometry to detect middle ear effusion was also performed at 2- to 6-monthly scheduled field visits from age 3 months. Multivariate regression models were used to investigate the relationship between early carriage and subsequent diagnosis of OM controlling for environmental factors. RESULTS: Carriage rates of Pnc, NTHi and Mcat at age 1- < 3 months were 45%, 29% and 48%, respectively, in 66 Aboriginal children and 14%, 5% and 18% in 146 non-Aboriginal children. OM was diagnosed at least once in 71% of Aboriginal children and 43% of non-Aboriginal children. After controlling for age, sex, presence of other bacteria and environmental factors, early nasopharyngeal carriage of NTHi increased the risk of subsequent OM (odds ratio = 3.70, 95% CI 1.22-11.23) in Aboriginal children, while Mcat increased the risk of OM in non-Aboriginal children (odds ratio = 2.63, 95% CI 1.32-5.23). Early carriage of Pnc was not associated with increased risk of OM. CONCLUSION: Early NTHi carriage in Aboriginal children and Mcat in non-Aboriginal children is associated with increased risk of OM independent of environmental factors. In addition to addressing environmental risk factors for carriage such as overcrowding and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, early administration of pneumococcal-Haemophilus influenzae D protein conjugate vaccine to reduce bacterial carriage in infants, may be beneficial for Aboriginal children; such an approach is currently being evaluated in Australia.
    BMC Infectious Diseases 12/2012; 12(1):366. DOI:10.1186/1471-2334-12-366 · 2.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Otitis media (OM) is the most common paediatric illness for which antibiotics are prescribed. In Australian Aboriginal children OM is frequently asymptomatic and starts at a younger age, is more common and more likely to result in hearing loss than in non-Aboriginal children. Absent transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) may predict subsequent risk of OM. 100 Aboriginal and 180 non-Aboriginal children in a semi-arid zone of Western Australia were followed regularly from birth to age 2 years. Tympanometry was conducted at routine field follow-up from age 3 months. Routine clinical examination by an ENT specialist was to be done 3 times and hearing assessment by an audiologist twice. TEOAEs were measured at ages <1 and 1-2 months. Cox proportional hazards model was used to investigate the association between absent TEOAEs and subsequent risk of OM. At routine ENT specialist clinics, OM was detected in 55% of 184 examinations in Aboriginal children and 26% of 392 examinations in non-Aboriginal children; peak prevalence was 72% at age 5-9 months in Aboriginal children and 40% at 10-14 months in non-Aboriginal children. Moderate-severe hearing loss was present in 32% of 47 Aboriginal children and 7% of 120 non-Aboriginal children aged 12 months or more. TEOAE responses were present in 90% (46/51) of Aboriginal children and 99% (120/121) of non-Aboriginal children aged <1 month and in 62% (21/34) and 93% (108/116), respectively, in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children at age 1-2 months. Aboriginal children who failed TEOAE at age 1-2 months were 2.6 times more likely to develop OM subsequently than those who passed. Overall prevalence of type B tympanograms at field follow-up was 50% (n = 78) in Aboriginal children and 20% (n = 95) in non-Aboriginal children. The burden of middle ear disease is high in all children, but particularly in Aboriginal children, one-third of whom suffer from moderate-severe hearing loss. In view of the frequently silent nature of OM, every opportunity must be taken to screen for OM. Measurement of TEOAEs at age 1-2 months to identify children at risk of developing OM should be evaluated in a routine health service setting.
    BMC Pediatrics 09/2008; 8:32. DOI:10.1186/1471-2431-8-32 · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the risk of otitis media (OM) associated with passive smoking in young children, and any competing effect between passive smoking and childcare attendance. Prospective cohort study of 100 Aboriginal and 180 non-Aboriginal children born in Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital between 1 April 1999 and 31 January 2003. These children underwent routine clinical examinations by an ear, nose and throat specialist up to three times before the age of 2 years, and tympanometry at routine field follow-up visits from the age of 4 months. Childrens' mothers were interviewed at 1-3 weeks postpartum to provide sociodemographic data. Associations between OM and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and childcare attendance. 82 Aboriginal and 157 non-Aboriginal children attended for routine clinical examinations. OM was diagnosed at least once in 74% of Aboriginal children and 45% of non-Aboriginal children; 64% of Aboriginal children and 40% of non-Aboriginal children were exposed to ETS. Exposure to ETS increased the risk of specialist-diagnosed OM in Aboriginal children (OR, 3.54; 95% CI, 1.68-7.47); few attended childcare. Non-Aboriginal children exposed to ETS but not attending childcare were at increased risk of OM (OR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.07-3.42) while those attending childcare had no increased smoking-related risk. Tympanometry was performed on 87 Aboriginal and 168 non-Aboriginal children; a type B tympanogram (suggesting fluid in the middle ear) was also associated with passive smoking in Aboriginal children. Reducing the exposure of children to ETS is a public health priority, especially for the Aboriginal population. A smoke-free environment will help reduce the burden of OM.
    The Medical journal of Australia 06/2008; 188(10):599-603. · 3.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to assess the outcomes of myringoplasties in Aboriginal children and to identify factors associated with a successful outcome with the use of prospective case series from primary health care clinics and hospitals in four rural and remote regions of Western Australia. All 58 Aboriginal children, aged 5-15 years, who underwent 78 myringoplasties between 1 January 2000 and 30 June 2001 were included in the study. Complete postoperative (post-op) follow-up was achieved following 78% of myringoplasties. The main outcome measures were (a) success, i.e. an intact tympanic membrane and normal hearing six or more months post-op in the operated ear, (b) closure of the perforation, (c) Post-op hearing improvement. Forty-nine per cent of myringoplasties were successful, 72% resulted in closure or reduction in the size of the perforation and 51% resulted in hearing improvement. After controlling for age, sex, clustering and number of previous myringoplasties, no association was observed between success or hearing improvement and perforation size, or the presence of serous aural discharge at the time of surgery. Myringoplasty resulted in hearing improvement and/or perforation closure in a significant proportion of children. Thus, primary school-aged Aboriginal children in whom conservative management of chronic suppurative otitis media has been unsuccessful should have access to myringoplasty because of the positive impact on their socialization, language and learning that results from improved hearing.
    Clinical Otolaryngology 01/2005; 29(6):606-11. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2273.2004.00896.x · 2.39 Impact Factor
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    The Medical journal of Australia 10/2003; 179(6):324-5. · 3.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic middle-ear disease is highly prevalent among Australian Aboriginal people, and many undergo surgical treatment. However, the outcomes of surgery in this group have not been fully evaluated. This is a descriptive study of operations for middle-ear disease (excluding grommets) on Aboriginal patients in Kimberley hospitals between 1 October 1986 and 31 December 1995. Logistic regression was used to model predictors of surgical outcome. Success was defined by an intact tympanic membrane and air-bone gap of < or = 25 dB at review at, or later than, six months post-operation. A success rate of 53 per cent was observed; increasing age was the only variable predictive of success. Successful outcomes were more likely in adults and children aged > 10 years, however, this does not take into account the necessity of hearing for language acquisition and learning. Dedicated resources must be allocated for post-operative follow-up of Aboriginal patients so that much-needed, rigorous evaluations of ENT surgery can be conducted.
    The Journal of Laryngology & Otology 01/2000; 114(1):26-32. DOI:10.1258/0022215001903843 · 0.70 Impact Factor