Bronchiectasis in indigenous children in remote Australian communities

Med J Aust. 2002 Aug 19;177(4):200-4. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2002.tb04733.x.


The rates of bronchiectasis for Indigenous children from remote Australian communities are unacceptably high, with one study showing 14.7/1000 Aboriginal children. Children with bronchiectasis need to be identified early for optimisation of medical treatment. Under-reporting of cough is common. Bronchiectasis should be suspected in children with recurrent bronchitis or pneumonia, and when, despite appropriate therapy, pulmonary infiltrates or atelectasis persist 12 weeks beyond the index illness. During acute infective episodes, oral antibiotics and chest physiotherapy to clear the airways should produce prompt resolution; otherwise, hospitalisation is necessary. Management follows the cystic fibrosis model of regular review, encouragement of physical activity, optimising nutrition, maintenance of immunisation and avoidance of environmental toxicants, including passive smoke exposure. Successful management and prevention of bronchiectasis will require improvements in housing, nutrition, and education, as well as access to comprehensive healthcare services, with coordination between primary and hospital-based healthcare providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Bronchiectasis* / diagnosis
  • Bronchiectasis* / epidemiology
  • Bronchiectasis* / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Humans
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Poverty* / ethnology
  • Poverty* / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health*
  • Rural Population*