Aim: To assess the aggregate burden of infectious disease in New Zealand in terms of mortality and hospital admissions.
Methods: New Zealand mortality records for the years 1980-1998, and hospital discharges for the period 1988-2000, were re-analysed using a recoding of ICD-9 codes to estimate the aggregate burden of infectious disease. The recoding scheme was modified, as in an earlier analysis, from that developed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Results: Following recoding, the proportion of deaths attributable to infectious disease increased from 0.7% of deaths to 6.6% of deaths. Likewise recoding of hospital discharges showed an increase in the proportion due to infectious disease from 2.2% to 12.6%, second only to "complications of pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium". Over the study period infectious disease mortality rates have showed little decline, and there has been a nearly 60% increase in infectious disease hospital discharge rates.
Conclusions: The findings confirm and extend those of an earlier study, indicating the substantial burden of disease that is still attributable to infectious disease in New Zealand. The burden remains inequitable.