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1.  Hospitalisations for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Temporally Related to a Diagnosis of Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea: A Retrospective Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94361.
The presence and severity of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) symptoms are thought to vary by microbiological etiology but there is limited empirical evidence. We sought to estimate and compare the rates of hospitalisation for PID temporally related to diagnoses of gonorrhoea and chlamydia.
All women, aged 15–45 years in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), with a diagnosis of chlamydia or gonorrhoea between 01/07/2000 and 31/12/2008 were followed by record linkage for up to one year after their chlamydia or gonorrhoea diagnosis for hospitalisations for PID. Standardised incidence ratios compared the incidence of PID hospitalisations to the age-equivalent NSW population.
A total of 38,193 women had a chlamydia diagnosis, of which 483 were hospitalised for PID; incidence rate (IR) 13.9 per 1000 person-years of follow-up (PYFU) (95%CI 12.6–15.1). In contrast, 1015 had a gonorrhoea diagnosis, of which 45 were hospitalised for PID (IR 50.8 per 1000 PYFU, 95%CI 36.0–65.6). The annual incidence of PID hospitalisation temporally related to a chlamydia or gonorrhoea diagnosis was 27.0 (95%CI 24.4–29.8) and 96.6 (95%CI 64.7–138.8) times greater, respectively, than the age-equivalent NSW female population. Younger age, socio-economic disadvantage, having a diagnosis prior to 2005 and having a prior birth were also associated with being hospitalised for PID.
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are both associated with large increases in the risk of PID hospitalisation. Our data suggest the risk of PID hospitalisation is much higher for gonorrhoea than chlamydia; however, further research is needed to confirm this finding.
PMCID: PMC3990571  PMID: 24743388
2.  Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sexually transmitted infections and blood borne virus notification rates in Western Australia: using linked data to improve estimates 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:404.
National notification data for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs) continue to have a high proportion of missing data on Indigenous status, potentially biasing estimates of notification rates by Aboriginality. We evaluated the use of data linkage to improve the accuracy of estimated notification rates for STIs and BBVs in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups in Western Australia.
STI and BBV case notifications in Western Australia received in 2010 were linked with administrative health data collections in Western Australia to obtain additional data on Indigenous status. STI and BBV notification rates based on the pre- and post-linkage data among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups were compared.
Data linkage decreased the proportion of notifications with unknown Indigenous status by 74% from 10.2% to 2.7%. There was no significant difference in disease-specific age-adjusted notification rate ratio estimates based on pre-linkage data and post-linkage data for Aboriginal people compared with non-Aboriginal people.
Our findings suggest that reported STI and BBV disease-specific age-adjusted notification rates for 2010 in Western Australia are unlikely to be significantly biased by excluding notifications with unknown Indigenous status. This finding is likely to be dependent on recent improvements in the reporting of Indigenous status in notification data in Western Australia. Cost-effective and systematic solutions, including the better use of existing data linkage resources, are required to facilitate continued improvement in the completeness of reporting and accuracy of estimates for notifiable STIs and BBVs in Australia by Aboriginality.
PMCID: PMC3644244  PMID: 23621957
3.  Improved awareness and appropriate use of non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP) for HIV prevention following a multi-modal communication strategy 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:906.
In May 2005, the Western Australian Department of Health (WA Health) developed a communication strategy to improve the awareness and appropriate use of non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP) in WA. The communication strategy included the development of an nPEP information pamphlet, the establishment of a 24 hour nPEP phone line and the distribution of the WA Health nPEP guidelines to health professionals. The communication strategy was aimed at gay men, people in sero-discordant relationships, people living with HIV, injecting drug users and health care providers with patients from these populations. This evaluation aimed to assess the awareness and appropriate use of nPEP in WA before and after the commencement of the nPEP communication strategy.
A program logic method was used to identify the immediate (short-term) and ultimate (long-term) outcomes of the communication strategy. The achievement of these outcomes was evaluated using data from website statistics, a survey of ‘sexuality sensitive’ doctors, statistics published in Perth Gay Community Periodic Surveys (PGCPS) and data from the WA nPEP database. A χ2 test for trend was conducted to identify any significant changes in the ultimate outcome indicators pre- and post-strategy.
nPEP awareness among gay men in the PGCPS initially increased from 17.2% in 2002 to 54.9% in 2008, then decreased to 39.9% in 2010. After the commencement of the communication strategy, the proportion of nPEP prescriptions meeting the eligibility criteria for nPEP significantly increased (61.2% in 2002-2005 to 90.0% in 2008-2010 (p < .001)). The proportion of nPEP recipients who completed the prescribed course of nPEP (46.6% in 2002-2005 to 66.9% in 2008-2010 (p = .003)) and the proportion who received a post-nPEP HIV test three to four months after the first visit for nPEP (38.8% in 2002-2005 to 51.9% in 2008-2010 (p = .023)) also increased.
Since the introduction of the nPEP communication strategy, the delivery and appropriate use of nPEP have significantly improved in WA. In the 2008-2010 period, an improvement in HIV testing of nPEP recipients at three month follow-up was reported for the first time in WA. However, there is a need for ongoing activities to raise nPEP awareness among gay men.
PMCID: PMC3503851  PMID: 23095456
Non-occupational post exposure prophylaxis; HIV
4.  Comparison of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and Seasonal Influenza, Western Australia, 2009 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(9):1388-1395.
TOC summary: Infections were similar in terms of symptoms, risk factors, and proportion of patients hospitalized.
We compared confirmed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza and seasonal influenza diagnosed in Western Australia during the 2009 influenza season. From 3,178 eligible reports, 984 pandemic and 356 seasonal influenza patients were selected; 871 (88.5%) and 288 (80.9%) were interviewed, respectively. Patients in both groups reported a median of 6 of 11 symptoms; the difference between groups in the proportion reporting any given symptom was <10%. Fewer than half the patients in both groups had >1 underlying condition, and only diabetes was associated with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza (odds ratio [OR] 1.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1–3.5). A total of 129 (14.8%) persons with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and 36 (12.5%) persons with seasonal influenza were hospitalized (p = 0.22). After controlling for age, we found that patient hospitalization was associated with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza (OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.1–2.1). Contemporaneous pandemic and seasonal influenza infections were substantially similar in terms of patients’ symptoms, risk factors, and proportion hospitalized.
PMCID: PMC3294970  PMID: 20735922
Viruses; respiratory infections; influenza; seasonal influenza; H1N1; pandemic; Australia; research
5.  Household Responses to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related School Closures, Perth, Western Australia 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(2):205-211.
Results from closures will determine the appropriateness and efficacy of this mitigation measure.
School closure is often purported to reduce influenza transmission, but little is known about its effect on families. We surveyed families affected by pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Surveys were returned for 233 (58%) of 402 students. School closure was deemed appropriate by 110 parents (47%); however, 91 (45%) parents of 202 asymptomatic students reported taking >1 day off work to care for their child, and 71 (35%) had to make childcare arrangements because of the class closures. During the week, 172 (74%) students participated in activities outside the home on >1 occasion, resulting in an average of 3.7 out-of-home activities for each student. In our survey, activities outside the home were commonly reported by students affected by school closure, the effect on families was substantial, and parental opinion regarding school closures as a means to mitigate the outbreak of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 was divided.
PMCID: PMC2958027  PMID: 20113548
Influenza A virus; schools; pandemic (H1N1) 2009; H1N1 subtype; pandemic; transmission; pandemic response; influenza; research; expedited
6.  Testing for sexually transmitted infections and blood borne viruses on admission to Western Australian prisons 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:385.
Prison populations are known to be at high risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs). In accordance with State health guidelines, the Western Australian Department of Correctional Services' policy is to offer testing for STIs and BBVs to all new prison entrants. This audit was undertaken to assess the completeness and timeliness of STI and BBV testing among recent prison entrants in Western Australia, and estimate the prevalence of STIs and BBVs on admission to prison.
A retrospective audit of prison medical records was conducted among 946 individuals admitted to prison in Western Australia after the 1st January 2005, and discharged between the 1st January and 31st December 2007 inclusive. Quota sampling was used to ensure adequate sampling of females, juveniles, and individuals from regional prisons. Main outcomes of interest were the proportion of prisoners undergoing STI and BBV testing, and the prevalence of STIs and BBVs.
Approximately half the sample underwent testing for the STIs chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and almost 40% underwent testing for at least one BBV. Completeness of chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing was significantly higher among juveniles (84.1%) compared with adults (39.8%; p < 0.001), and Aboriginal prisoners (58.3%) compared with non-Aboriginal prisoners (40.4%; p < 0.001). Completeness of BBV testing was significantly higher among adults (46.5%) compared with juveniles (15.8%; p < 0.001) and males (43.3%) compared with females (33.1%; p = 0.001). Among prisoners who underwent testing, 7.3% had a positive chlamydia test result and 24.8% had a positive hepatitis C test result.
The documented coverage of STI and BBV testing among prisoners in Western Australia is not comprehensive, and varies significantly by age, gender and Aboriginality. Given the high prevalence of STIs and BBVs among prisoners, increased test coverage is required to ensure optimal use of the opportunity that prison admission presents for the treatment and control of STIs and BBVs among this high risk group.
PMCID: PMC2766389  PMID: 19825156
7.  Improving the accuracy of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal disease notification rates using data linkage 
Routinely collected infectious disease surveillance data provide a valuable means to monitor the health of populations. Notifiable disease surveillance systems in Australia have consistently reported high levels of completeness for the demographic data fields of age and sex, but low levels of completeness for Aboriginality data. Significant amounts of missing data associated with case notifications can introduce bias in the estimation of disease rates by population subgroups. The aim of this analysis was to evaluate the use of data linkage to improve the accuracy of estimated notification rates for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs) in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups in Western Australia.
Probabilistic methods were used to link disease notification data received in Western Australia in 2004 with core population health datasets from the established Western Australian Data Linkage System. A comparative descriptive analysis of STI and BBV notification rates according to Aboriginality was conducted based on the original and supplemented notification datasets.
Using data linkage, the proportion of STI and BBV notifications with missing Aboriginality data was reduced by 74 per cent. Compared with excluding notifications with unknown Aboriginality data from the analysis, or apportioning notifications with unknown Aboriginality based on the proportion of cases with known Aboriginality, the rate ratios of chlamydia, syphilis and hepatitis C among Aboriginal relative to non-Aboriginal people decreased when Aboriginality data from data linkage was included.
Although there is still a high incidence of STIs and BBVs in Aboriginal people, incompleteness of Aboriginality data contributes to overestimation of the risk associated with Aboriginality for these diseases. Data linkage can be effectively used to improve the accuracy of estimated disease notification rates.
PMCID: PMC2429908  PMID: 18510777

Results 1-7 (7)