A re-appraisal of the burden of infectious disease in New Zealand: aggregate estimates of morbidity and mortality

N Z Med J. 2002 Jun 7;115(1155):254-7.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Diseases / ethnology
  • Communicable Diseases / mortality*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups / classification
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data