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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Health >> Communicable Diseases

COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

Communicable diseases are capable of being transmitted from one person to another, or from one species to another. Two major groups of communicable diseases, classified in the ICD-10, are certain infectious and parasitic diseases (ICD-10 codes A00-B99) and acute respiratory infections (ICD-10 codes J00-J22) which includes influenza and pneumonia as well as other acute upper and lower respiratory infections. In 2007, these two groups accounted for 3.4% of all deaths in Australia (4,641 deaths). Influenza and pneumonia accounted for 57% (2,623) of these deaths. Death rates increased with age, and were greater for males than females in most age groups. In 2007-08, there were 91,273 hospital separations in Australia with a principal diagnosis of infectious and parasitic diseases.

Through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), state and territory health authorities submit reports of more than 60 communicable disease notifications for compilation by the Department of Health and Ageing.

The total of notifications to NNDSS in 2008 was 160,498, an increase of 9.1% on the 147,555 notifications made in 2007 (table 11.20). In 2008, sexually transmitted infections (STI) were the most commonly reported communicable diseases, accounting for 43% of all notifications, followed by vaccine preventable diseases (21%) and gastrointestinal diseases (17%).

Chlamydia was the most common STI (58,515 notifications, 84% of total STIs); campylobacteriosis the most common gastroenteritis (15,533 notifications, 57% of total) and hepatitis C (unspecified) was the most common blood-borne disease (10,932 notifications, 60% of total).

11.20 NATIONAL NOTIFIABLE DISEASE SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM (NNDSS) REPORTS

NOTIFICATIONS

RATE(a)

Disease(b)
2007
2008
2007
2008

Bloodborne diseases
Hepatitis B (incident)
294
245
1
1
Hepatitis B (unspecified)
6 883
6 591
33
31
Hepatitis C (incident)
384
385
2
2
Hepatitis C (unspecified)
11 906
10 932
57
51
Hepatitis D
34
43
-
-
Hepatitis (NEC)
-
1
-
-
Gastrointestinal diseases
Botulism
1
-
-
-
Campylobacteriosis
16 997
15 533
120
108
Cryptosporidiosis
2 812
2 005
13
9
Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)
19
31
-
-
Hepatitis A
165
277
1
1
Hepatitis E
18
44
-
-
Listeriosis
50
68
-
-
STEC, VTEC(c)
106
107
1
1
Salmonellosis
9 534
8 313
45
39
Shigellosis
602
829
3
4
Typhoid
90
105
-
1
Other bacterial infections
Legionellosis
306
273
2
1
Leprosy
13
11
-
-
Meningococcal disease (invasive)
306
285
2
1
Tuberculosis
1 174
1 225
6
6
Quarantinable diseases
Cholera
4
4
-
-
Plague
-
-
-
-
Rabies
-
-
-
-
Smallpox
-
-
-
-
Viral haemorrhagic fever (NEC)
-
-
-
-
Yellow fever
-
-
-
-
Sexually transmissible infections
Chlamydial infection
52 043
58 515
248
274
Donovanosis
3
2
-
-
Gonococcal infection
7 677
7 675
37
36
Syphilis
-
-
-
-
Syphilis - congenital
7
7
-
-
Syphilis < 2 years duration
1 422
1 298
7
6
Syphilis > 2 years or unspecified duration
1 740
1 940
8
9
Vaccine preventable diseases
Diphtheria
-
-
-
-
Haemophilus influenzae type b
17
25
-
-
Influenza (laboratory confirmed)
10 448
9 136
50
43
Measles
12
65
-
-
Mumps
586
286
3
1
Pertussis
5 347
14 524
25
68
Pneumococcal disease (invasive)
1 483
1 629
7
8
Poliomyelitis
1
-
-
-
Rubella
34
37
-
-
Rubella Congenital
2
-
-
-
Tetanus
3
4
-
-
Varicella zoster (Chickenpox)
1 668
1 790
8
8
Varicella zoster (Shingles)
1 561
2 313
7
11
Varicella zoster (Unspecified)
4 287
4 426
20
21
Vectorborne diseases
Arbovirus infection (NEC)
22
28
-
-
Barmah Forest virus infection
1 716
2 101
8
10
Chikungunya virus infection
-
9
-
-
Dengue virus infection
314
559
2
3
Japanese encephalitis virus infection
-
1
-
-
Kunjin virus infection
1
1
-
-
Malaria
568
532
3
3
Murray Valley encephalitis virus infection
-
2
-
-
Ross River virus infection
4 207
5 651
20
26
Zoonoses
Anthrax
1
-
-
-
Australian bat lyssavirus
-
-
-
-
Brucellosis
38
47
-
-
Leptospirosis
108
112
1
1
Lyssavirus (NEC)
-
-
-
-
Ornithosis
93
103
-
1
Q fever
448
373
2
2
Tularaemia
-
-
-
-
Total
147 555
160 498
702
751

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Rate per 100,000 population is calculated using the ERP at the midpoint of 2007-08.
(b) Diseases reported to NNDSS from all jurisdictions except incident Hepatitis C not reported from QLD; campylobacteriosis not reported from NSW.
(c) SLTEC/VTEC: Shiga-like toxin producing E.coli infections.
Source: Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System.


HIV and AIDS

In collaboration with the state and territory health authorities and the Australian Government, surveillance for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is conducted by the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research. This centre is part of the Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales and is funded primarily by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).

At 31 December 2008, the cumulative number of cases of newly diagnosed HIV infections since 1985 was 28,330 (table 11.21). The average number of new HIV cases diagnoses from 2004-2008 was 984 per year.

11.21 NEWLY DIAGNOSED HIV CASES(a), AIDS cases and deaths following AIDS(b)(c)

2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
Total(d)

HIV cases(a)
911
962
1 007
1 046
995
28 330
AIDS cases(b)
202
232
221
161
99
10 348
AIDS deaths
91
69
83
53
24
6 765

(a) Not adjusted for multiple reporting. Cumulative to 31 December 2008.
(b) Number of AIDS cases diagnosed in NSW in 2008 are not available and not included in Totals.
(c) The number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses for each year may be revised over time due to late reports, updated information on exposure and testing history for reported cases, and removal of previously unrecognised duplicate diagnoses.
(d) Includes all cases reported prior to 2004
Source: HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual Surveillance Report 2009', National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.


Transmission of HIV in Australia continues to be mainly through sexual contact between men, 66% in 2008, however, the rate of exposure through heterosexual contact has risen from 19.3% in 2005 to 27.1% in 2008 (table 11.22).

11.22 CHARACTERISTICS OF CASES OF NEWLY DIAGNOSED HIV INFECTION(a), Number of cases and proportion of total cases

YEAR OF DIAGNOSES(a)

2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
Total(b)

Total cases no.
911.0
962.0
1 007.0
1 046.0
995.0
28 330
Males %
86.0
90.2
85.3
87.0
86.3
91.3
State and territory
New South Wales %
45.1
42.2
39.1
39.7
36.6
54.3
Victoria %
23.6
26.7
28.4
27.3
28.6
22.0
Queensland %
17.2
17.6
16.4
18.7
20.2
12.0
South Australia %
5.9
5.3
6.1
5.4
4.7
4.0
Western Australia %
5.5
6.6
7.6
7.2
7.6
5.6
Tasmania %
1.0
0.6
0.7
0.5
0.4
0.4
Northern Territory %
0.9
0.3
1.1
0.5
1.1
0.6
Australian Capital Territory %
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.9
0.7
1.1
Exposure category(c)
Male homosexual contact %
67.5
72.3
67.6
68.4
66.0
75.7
Male homosexual contact and injecting drug use %
4.0
4.3
3.9
2.8
3.2
4.3
Injecting drug use(d) %
4.4
3.4
2.8
2.9
3.1
4.0
Heterosexual contact %
23.8
19.3
25.0
24.9
27.1
13.5
Haemophilia/coagulation disorder %
-
-
-
-
-
1.2
Receipt of blood/tissue %
0.1
0.1
-
-
0.1
1.0
Mother with/at risk of HIV infection %
0.1
0.6
0.6
0.9
0.6
0.4
Health care setting %
0.1
-
-
-
-
-
Other/undetermined %
6.9
8.5
6.8
6.4
4.8
13.9

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) The number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses for each year may be revised over time due to late reports, updated information on exposure and testing history for reported cases, and removal of previously unrecognised duplicate diagnoses.
(b) Includes all reported cases prior to 2004. Not adjusted for multiple reporting.
(c) The ‘Other/undetermined’ category was excluded from the calculation of the percentage of cases attributed to each HIV exposure category.
(d) Excludes males who also reported a history of homosexual/bisexual contact.
Source: 'HIV and AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual Surveillance Report 2009', National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.


According to the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, the per capita rate of HIV and AIDS diagnosis in Australia from 2003-2007 was at least five times higher among people born in countries in sub-Saharan Africa than among Australian born people. In the past five years, 60% of cases of HIV infection attributed to heterosexual contact were in people from high HIV prevalence countries or their sexual partners.

Children's immunisation

Immunisation programs for children are recognised as an effective public health intervention, and have been responsible for eradicating or minimising infectious diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough and polio as major causes of death and disability in Australia.

The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR), which commenced operation on 1 January 1996, aims to provide accurate and comprehensive information about immunisation coverage for all children under the age of seven. The register is administered by Medicare Australia and is a key component of initiatives to improve the immunisation status of Australian children.

Immunisation coverage goals for Australia for the year 2000, recommended by the NHMRC, called for 90% or more coverage of children at two years of age, and near universal coverage of children at school-entry age, against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella and Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b).

ACIR data indicated, at 31 December 2008, 92% of one year olds, 93% of two year olds (see graph 11.23) and 89% of six year olds were fully immunised according to the NHMRC Recommended Australian Standard Vaccination Schedule.

11.23 Proportion of children aged 24-27 months fully immunised, 1998-2008(a)
Graph: 11.23 Proportion of children aged 24–27 months fully immunised, 1998–2008(a)







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