Hospitalisation of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory for lower respiratory illness in the first year of life

O'Grady, Kerry-Ann, Torzillo, Paul J., & Chang, Anne M. (2010) Hospitalisation of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory for lower respiratory illness in the first year of life. Medical Journal of Australia, 192(10), pp. 586-590.

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To describe the epidemiology of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) and bronchiectasis in Northern Territory Indigenous infants hospitalised in the first year of life.


A historical cohort study constructed from the NT Hospital Discharge Dataset and the NT Imm(u)nisation Register.

Participants and setting

All NT resident Indigenous infants, born 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2004, admitted to NT public hospitals and followed up to 12 months of age.

Main outcome measures

Incidence of ALRI and bronchiectasis (ICD-10-AM codes) and radiologically confirmed pneumonia (World Health Organization protocol).


Data on 9295 infants, 8498 child-years of observation and 15 948 hospitalised episodes of care were analysed. ALRI incidence was 426.7 episodes per 1000 child-years (95% Cl, 416.2-437.2). Incidence rates were two times higher (relative risk, 2.12; 95% Cl, 1.98-2.27) for infants in Central Australia compared with those in the Top End. The median age at first admission for an ALRI was 4.6 months (interquartile range, 2.6-7.3). Bronchiolitis accounted for most of the disease burden, with a rate of 227 per 1000 child-years. The incidence of first diagnosis of bronchiectasis was 1.18 per 1000 child-years (95% Cl, 0.60-2.16). One or more key comorbidities were present in 1445 of the 3227 (44.8%) episodes of care for ALRI.


Rates of ALRI and bronchiectasis in NT Indigenous infants are excessive, with early onset, frequent repeat episodes, and a high prevalence of comorbidities. These high rates of disease demand urgent attention.

Impact and interest:

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32 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 64712
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: 602BM--
Times Cited:12--
Cited References Count:32--
Keywords: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, radiologically-confirmed pneumonia, placebo-controlled-trial, aboriginal children, childhood pneumonia, central australia, double-blind, infections, age, efficacy
ISSN: 0025-729X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2013 23:02
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 12:22

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