Community-acquired syndromes causing morbidity and mortality in Australia

Commun Dis Intell Q Rep. 2017 Mar 31;41(1):E49-E57.


The clinical and economic burden of infectious diseases is a substantial public health problem. The determination of the relative contributions of these diseases to the overall healthcare burden can inform priority setting, planning, and decision-making in healthcare and establish a baseline for future comparisons. Few recent studies have presented definitive data on the incidence of infectious diseases requiring hospitalisation in the Southern Hemisphere. We identified the age-specific number of hospitalisations and severe infections requiring intensive care unit admissions in the Geelong region. This was then extrapolated to calculate incidence data of these selected infectious diseases in Australia. Methods: This observational study was performed in Geelong, the second largest city in Victoria (population of 194,566 adults ≥ 20 years). University Hospital Geelong is a public hospital with the only emergency department in Geelong during the years 2011 and 2013. Patients were identified using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision Australian Modification discharge codes and diagnoses were confirmed using clinical, radiological and laboratory criteria. Results: Between 2011 and 2013, there were 1,506 admissions for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) (245.3 per 100,000 person years), 1,613 admissions for skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) (271.2 per 100,000 person years), 479 for pyelonephritis (79.7 per 100,000 person years), 131 for influenza (22.4 per 100,000 person years), and 52 for meningitis (8.9 per 100,000 person years). Conclusion: SSTI, CAP, and pyelonephritis are common syndromes responsible for admission to hospital in Australia, with an incidence that increases with age. CAP is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the Australian population. Influenza is associated with the greatest percentage of severe infections requiring intensive care unit admission.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / diagnosis
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / etiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / mortality
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Population Surveillance
  • Young Adult