[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We aimed to compare rates of illicit drug-related hospitalisations in HIV-negative (HIV−ve) (n = 1325) and HIV-positive (HIV+ve) (n = 557) gay and bisexual men (GBM) with rates seen in the general male population and to examine the association between self-reported illicit drug use and drug-related hospitalisation. Participants were asked how often they used a range of illicit drugs in the previous 6 months at annual interviews. Drug-related hospital admissions were defined as hospital admissions for mental or behavioural disorders due to illicit drug use (ICD 10: F11–16, F18, F19), drug poisoning (T40–T45, T50) or toxic effect of gases (T53, T59, T65). Drug-related hospitalisations were 4.8 times higher in the HIV−ve cohort [SIR 4.75 (95 % CI 3.30–6.91)] and 3.5 times higher in the HIV+ve cohort [SIR 3.51 (1.92–5.88)] compared with the general population. Periods of weekly drug use [IRR 1.86 (1.01–3.46)], poly-drug use [IRR 2.17 (1.07–4.38)] and cannabis use [low use-IRR 1.95 (1.01–3.77), high use-IRR 2.58 (1.29–5.16)] were associated with drug-related hospitalisation in both cohorts, as was being a consistently high meth/amphetamine user throughout follow-up [IRR 3.24 (1.07–9.83)] and being an inconsistent or consistent injecting drug user throughout follow-up [IRR 3.94 (1.61–9.66), IRR 4.43(1.04–18.76), respectively]. Other risk factors for drug-related hospitalisation indicated the likelihood of comorbid drug and mental health issues in GBM hospitalised for drug use.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · AIDS and Behavior
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
To examine the validity of deterministic compared to probabilistic record linkage in the ascertainment of hospitalisations in two linked cohorts.
Study design and setting:
HIV-negative (HIV-ve) (n=1325) and HIV-positive (HIV+ve) gay and bisexual men (n=557) recruited in Sydney, Australia were probabilistically and deterministically linked to a state-wide hospital registry (July 2000-June 2012).
Using probabilistic linkage as the reference standard, deterministic linkage had higher specificity but much lower sensitivity [34.67% (95%CI 33.44-35.92)]. A disproportionate number of links missed were individuals with poorer socioeconomic and health indicators, including HIV status. Risk of hospitalisation compared to the general male population [HIV+ve SIR=1.45 (1.33-1.59); HIV-ve SIR=0.72 (0.67-0.78)] was significantly underestimated when deterministic linkage was used [HIV+ve SIR=0.46 (0.37-0.58); HIV-ve SIR=0.29 (0.24-0.35)]. The impact of linkage strategy on the calculation of incidence rate ratios (IRRs) was less, but a greater discrepancy in IRRs was seen for diagnostic categories where event rates were low or where the sensitivity of the deterministic linkage was differential between the two cohorts.
Linkage without proven high sensitivity and specificity should be carefully considered. In circumstances of undetermined sensitivity, SIRs should not be calculated as the extent of underestimation is unknown. The comparison of linked events within or between cohorts is more robust to linkage misclassification; however, selection bias does affect estimates and should be considered prior to linkage.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Journal of clinical epidemiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Region (WPR) Guidelines on verification of measles elimination were established in 2012. This article outlines Australia's approach to addressing the guideline's five lines of evidence, which led to formal verification of elimination by the WHO Regional Verification Commission (RVC) in March 2014.
The criteria were addressed using national measles notifications, data from selected laboratories, the national childhood immunization register, and three national serosurveys (1998/1999, 2002, 2007).
Australia met or exceeded all indicator targets with either national or sentinel data. Laboratory and epidemiological surveillance were of high quality, with 85% of cases documented as imported/import-related (target 80%); coverage with the first dose of measles vaccine was close to 94% in 2008-2012 and second dose coverage increased to 91% in 2012 (target >95%). There is ongoing commitment by the Australian Government to increase immunization coverage, and the absence of sustained transmission of any single measles genotype was demonstrated.
This is the first documentation of the successful application of the WPR RVC guidelines. The indicators afford some flexibility but appear to provide appropriate rigor to judge achievement of measles elimination. Our experience could assist other countries seeking to verify their elimination status.
Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Q fever, caused by Coxiella burnetii, is a serious zoonotic disease in humans with a worldwide distribution. Many species of animals are capable of transmitting C. burnetii, and consequently all veterinary workers are at risk for this disease. An effective Q fever vaccine has been readily available and used in Australia for many years in at-risk groups, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has recently also called for the use of this vaccine among at-risk groups in Europe. Little is known about attitudes towards this vaccine and vaccine uptake in veterinary workers. This study aimed to determine the Q fever vaccination status of veterinarians and veterinary nurses in Australia and to assess and compare the knowledge and attitudes towards Q fever disease and vaccination of each cohort. An online cross-sectional survey performed in 2014 targeted all veterinarians and veterinary nurses in Australia. Responses from 890 veterinarians and 852 veterinary nurses were obtained. Binary, ordinal and multinomial logistic regression were used to make comparisons between the two cohorts. The results showed that 74% of veterinarians had sought vaccination compared to only 29% of veterinary nurses. Barriers to vaccination among those not vaccinated did not differ between cohorts, and included a lack of perceived risk, financial expense, time constraints, and difficulty in finding a vaccine provider. Poor knowledge and awareness of Q fever disease and vaccination were additional and notable barriers for the veterinary nursing cohort, suggesting veterinary clinics and veterinarians may not be meeting their legal responsibility to educate staff about risks and risk prevention. Further evaluation is needed to identify the drivers behind seeking and recommending vaccination so that recommendations can be made to improve vaccine uptake.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
To measure the acute burden of and to identify risk factors associated with notified Q fever in older adults in New South Wales.Design, settings and participants: A prospective cohort of adults aged 45 years and over (the 45 and Up Study) recruited during 2006-2009 and followed using linked Q fever notifications, hospital records and death records during 2006-2012.
Main outcome measures:
Incident cases of Q fever, based on a linked Q fever notification; proportion of cases with a Q fever-coded hospitalisation.
A total of 266 906 participants were followed up for 1 254 650 person-years (mean, 4.7 ± 1.0 years per person). In our study population, the incidence of notified Q fever during follow-up was 3.6 (95% CI, 2.7-4.8) per 100 000 person-years. After adjustments, age (≥ 65 years v 45-54 years: hazard ratio [HR], 0.39; 95% CI, 0.16-0.96), sex (women v men: HR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.26-0.88), and area and type of residence (P < 0.001 for trend) remained significantly associated with Q fever. Compared with those living in an inner regional area but not on a farm, the risk of notified Q fever was highest for those living on a farm in outer regional or remote areas (HR, 11.98; 95% CI, 5.47-26.21), followed by those living on a farm in inner regional areas (HR, 4.95; 95% CI, 1.79-13.65). Of notified Q fever cases, 15 of 39 (38%) had been hospitalised with a diagnosis consistent with Q fever.
Adults living on a farm in outer regional and remote areas are at a substantially greater risk of contracting Q fever. This suggests that, as well as targeting specific occupational groups for vaccination, there would be benefits in increasing public awareness of Q fever and vaccination among those living on and near farms in outer regional and remote areas of Australia.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · The Medical journal of Australia
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
There is evidence that HIV-positive patients are suffering from a greater burden of morbidity as they age due to nonAIDS-related complications. To date it has been difficult to determine what part of this excess risk is due to the health effects of HIV, its treatment or to lifestyle factors common to gay and bisexual men (GBM). We calculated overall and cause-specific hospitalisation rates and risk factors for hospitalisations in HIV-negative and HIV-positive cohorts of GBM and compare these with rates in the general male population.
We conducted a record linkage study, linking two cohorts of HIV-negative (n = 1325) and HIV-positive (n = 557) GBM recruited in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), Australia with the NSW hospital discharge data register. We compared rates of hospitalisation in the two cohorts and risk factors for hospitalisation using random-effects Poisson regression methods. Hospitalisation rates for each cohort were further compared with those in the general male population using indirect standardisation.
We observed 2032 hospitalisations in the HIV-negative cohort during 13 016 person-years (PYs) [crude rate: 15.6/100PYs (95% CI: 14.9-16.3)] and 2130 hospitalisations in the HIV-positive cohort during 5571 PYs [crude rate: 38.2/100PYs (95% CI: 36.6-39.9)]. HIV-positive individuals had an increased risk of hospitalisation compared with the HIV-negative individuals [adjusted-IRR: 2.34 (95% CI: 1.91-2.86)] and the general population [SHR: 1.45 (95% CI: 1.33-1.59)]. Hospitalisation rates were lower in the HIV-negative cohort compared with the general population [SHR: 0.72 (95% CI: 0.67-0.78)]. The primary causes of hospitalisation differed between groups.
HIV-positive GBM continue to experience excess morbidity compared with HIV-negative GBM men and the general population. HIV-negative GBM had lower morbidity compared with the general male population suggesting that GBM identity does not confer excess risk.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Q fever is a serious zoonotic disease in people caused by Coxiella burnetii, a small, intracellular, gram-negative bacterium. This pathogen is shed from host species in bodily fluids, most significantly at parturition, with inhalation the most common route of infection. All veterinary workers in Australia should be considered at risk of contracting Q fever regardless of their species focus and vaccination is recommended for all veterinarians, veterinary students and veterinary nurses. Despite the availability of vaccination, a recent study found Q fever to be the second most common zoonosis reported among Australian veterinarians, highlighting a potential shortfall in the uptake of Q fever vaccination among this cohort and raising questions regarding uptake by other veterinary workers, such as nurses, who remain relatively under-studied. This study aimed to clarify the current vaccination status of both veterinarians and veterinary nurses in Australia, and identify barriers to seeking or recommending vaccination.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY In Australia, hepatitis B (HBV) vaccination is recommended for injecting drug users (IDUs), Indigenous adults and prisoners. We compared immunity to HBV in prisoners and the general population obtained from national serosurveys in 2007. Individuals with HBV surface antibody (HBsAb) positive sera were considered immune from past infection [HBV core antibody (HBcAb) positive] or from vaccination (HBcAb negative). Male prisoners aged 18-58 years had a higher HBsAb seroprevalence than the general population (46·4% vs. 39·4%, P = 0·061). Comparison of HBcAb results was possible for males aged 18-29 years. In this group, higher HBsAb seroprevalence was due to past infection (12·9% vs. 3·0%, P < 0·001), rather than vaccine-conferred immunity (35·3% vs. 43·4%, P = 0·097). All prisoner groups, but especially IDUs, those of Indigenous heritage or those with a previous episode of imprisonment had higher levels of immunity from past infection than the general population (19·3%, 33·0%, 17·1%, respectively, vs. 3·0%, P < 0·05). Indigenous prisoners, non-IDUs and first-time entrants had significantly lower levels of vaccine-conferred immunity than the general population (26·4%, 26·2% and 20·7% respectively vs. 43·4%, P < 0·05). Improving prison-based HBV vaccination would prevent transmission in the prison setting and protect vulnerable members of the community who are at high risk of both infection and entering the prison system.
No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Epidemiology and Infection
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY In Australia, varicella vaccine was universally funded in late 2005 as a single dose at 18 months. A school-based catch-up programme for children aged 10-13 years without a history of infection or vaccination was funded until 2015, when those eligible for universal infant vaccination would have reached the age of high school entry. This study projects the impact of discontinuing catch-up vaccination on varicella and zoster incidence and morbidity using a transmission dynamic model, in comparison with alternative policy options, including two-dose strategies. At current vaccine coverage (83% at 2 years and 90% at 5 years), ceasing the adolescent catch-up programme in 2015 was projected to increase varicella-associated morbidity between 2035 and 2050 by 39%. Although two-dose infant programmes had the lowest estimated varicella morbidity, the incremental benefit from the second dose fell by 70% if first dose coverage increased from 83% to 95% by age 24 months. Overall zoster morbidity was predicted to rise after vaccination, but differences between strategies were small. Our results suggest that feasibility of one-dose coverage approaching 95% is an important consideration in estimating incremental benefit from a second dose of varicella vaccine.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Epidemiology and Infection
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
While the importance of record linkage is widely recognised, few studies have attempted to quantify how linkage errors may have impacted on their own findings and outcomes. Even where authors of linkage studies have attempted to estimate sensitivity and specificity based on subjects with known status, the effects of false negatives and positives on event rates and estimates of effect are not often described.
We present quantification of the effect of sensitivity and specificity of the linkage process on event rates and incidence, as well as the resultant effect on relative risks. Formulae to estimate the true number of events and estimated relative risk adjusted for given linkage sensitivity and specificity are then derived and applied to data from a prisoner mortality study. The implications of false positive and false negative matches are also discussed.
Comparisons of the effect of sensitivity and specificity on incidence and relative risks indicate that it is more important for linkages to be highly specific than sensitive, particularly if true incidence rates are low. We would recommend that, where possible, some quantitative estimates of the sensitivity and specificity of the linkage process be performed, allowing the effect of these quantities on observed results to be assessed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2010, use of seasonal trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) in children <5 years of age was suspended in Australia following reports of vaccine-related febrile convulsions. We investigated the utility of data on primary care [general practice (GP)] consultations for any reason within three days of receipt of influenza vaccine as recorded on the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) as a means of signal detection.
Data on GP consultations were obtained from Medicare Australia (Australian Government Department of Human Services) for children recorded on the ACIR as receiving either TIV or monovalent influenza vaccine. Rates of GP consultation by day following ACIR-recorded receipt of influenza vaccine were compared by year (2008-2010), vaccine type, age and region.
In 2010, GP encounter rates on the day after receipt of the TIV manufactured by bioCSL (formerly CSL Biotherapies (Fluvax(®)) were significantly higher than both bioCSL TIVs in the previous two years [rate ratio (RR) 1.9; 95% CI: 1.7-2.2] and Sanofi Pasteur TIV, Vaxigrip(®) [RR 1.6, 95% CI 1.4-1.7] in 2009-2010. Encounter rates were also higher than for CSL Monovalent influenza vaccine, Panvax(®) [RR 1.9, 95% CI 1.7-2.2] in 2009-2010. These findings were robust to adjustment for age group (≤2, >2 years) and region (Western Australia vs other Australian states/territories).
A primary care consultation on the day after vaccine receipt is a reasonable proxy for early reactogenicity and has potential for use in various settings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To estimate the measles effective reproduction number (R) in Australia by modelling routinely collected notification data.
R was estimated for 2009-2011 by means of three methods, using data from Australia's National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. Method 1 estimated R as 1 - P, where P equals the proportion of cases that were imported, as determined from data on place of acquisition. The other methods estimated R by fitting a subcritical branching process that modelled the spread of an infection with a given R to the observed distributions of outbreak sizes (method 2) and generations of spread (method 3). Stata version 12 was used for method 2 and Matlab version R2012 was used for method 3. For all methods, calculation of 95% confidence intervals (CIs) was performed using a normal approximation based on estimated standard errors.
During 2009-2011, 367 notifiable measles cases occurred in Australia (mean annual rate: 5.5 cases per million population). Data were 100% complete for importation status but 77% complete for outbreak reference number. R was estimated as < 1 for all years and data types, with values of 0.65 (95% CI: 0.60-0.70) obtained by method 1, 0.64 (95% CI: 0.56-0.72) by method 2 and 0.47 (95% CI: 0.38-0.57) by method 3.
The fact that consistent estimates of R were obtained from all three methods enhances confidence in the validity of these methods for determining R.
No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Bulletin of the World Health Organisation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Management of prelabour rupture of membranes at term (37 weeks gestation or later) (TPROM) remains complicated in the absence of a rapid assay for group B streptococcus (GBS) colonisation. AimsTo evaluate the accuracy and clinical utility of a commercial PCR assay, compared with culture, for detection of GBS colonisation in pregnant women presenting with TPROM. MethodsA prospective study of women presenting with TPROM conducted in a large tertiary hospital (Westmead Hospital, Australia). Five hundred and seventy-four consecutive women with TPROM were enrolled between July 2006 and November 2007. Paired low vaginal and anal swabs were collected from women presenting with TPROM for PCR and culture on GBS selective agar following broth enrichment. Primary outcomes were sensitivity and specificity of PCR compared with GBS selective enrichment culture. Secondary analyses included comparison with a historical but otherwise similar cohort regarding clinical utility, maternal and neonatal outcomes. ResultsPCR sensitivity and specificity were 89.0% (95% CI – 82.8–93.6%) and 97.9% (95% CI – 96.0–99.0%), respectively, compared with culture. 72.3% of women were aware of their GBS PCR status within 3 h of presentation. Compared with the historical cohort, PCR reduced the requirement for intrapartum antibiotics by 25.6% (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences in maternal outcomes or combined rates of admissions to neonatal intensive care or special care nursery. Conclusions
Group B streptococcus PCR is an accurate, rapid, safe and practical alternative to culture for detection of GBS colonisation in pregnant women at the time of TPROM. This method has the potential advantage to reduce costs associated with length of hospital stay.
No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and aim:
While hepatitis B virus (HBV) prevalence is known to vary greatly between countries, systematically collected population-level prevalence data from some countries is limited. Antenatal HBV screening programs in countries with substantial migrant populations provide the opportunity to systematically examine HBV prevalence in order to inform local and regional HBV estimates.
A comprehensive register of Australian mothers giving birth from January 2000 to December 2008 was linked to a register of HBV notifications. Age-standardized prevalence of chronic HBV were calculated overall and by the mother's country of birth. Multiple logistic regression was used to investigate other factors associated with HBV prevalence.
Five hundred twenty-three thousand six hundred sixty-five women were included and linked to 3861 HBV notifications. The age-standardized HBV prevalence was low (0.75%, 95% confidence interval 0.72-0.79). The highest HBV prevalence rates were observed in women born in Cambodia (8.60%), Taiwan (8.10%), Vietnam (7.49%), China (6.80%), and Tonga (6.51%). Among Australia-born women, those who smoked during pregnancy, were from a more disadvantaged socioeconomic background, and lived in remote areas were more likely to have HBV. There was also a trend suggesting a decrease in the prevalence of HBV over time.
Antenatal screening for HBV can provide systematic population estimates of HBV prevalence in migrants and also identify other high prevalence groups. Longer follow-up will be required to confirm the small decrease in HBV prevalence observed in this study.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY We compared serotype distributions of Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from patients aged <5 and ⩾5 years with invasive pneumococcal disease in New South Wales, Australia, and antibiotic susceptibilities of isolates from the <5 years age group only, before (2002-2004) and after (2005-2009) introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). Overall, there were significant decreases in the mean annual number of referred isolates (770 vs. 515) and the proportion belonging to PCV7 serotypes (74% vs. 38%), but non-PCV7 serotypes, particularly 19A, increased (5% vs. 18%). All changes were more marked in the <5 years age group. Susceptibility testing of isolates from the <5 years age group showed variation in resistance between serotypes, but significant overall increases in penicillin non-susceptibility (23% vs. 31%), ceftriaxone resistance (2% vs. 12%) and multidrug resistance (4% vs. 7%) rates; erythromycin resistance fell (32% vs. 25%). Continued surveillance is needed to monitor changes following the introduction of 13-valent PCV in 2012.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Epidemiology and Infection