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Communicable Diseases Surveillance consists of data from various sources. The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) is conducted under the auspices of the Communicable Diseases Network Australia New Zealand. The Virology and Serology Laboratory Reporting Scheme (LabVISE) is a sentinel surveillance scheme. The Australian Sentinel Practice Research Network (ASPREN) is a general practitioner-based sentinel surveillance scheme. In this report, data from the NNDSS are referred to as 'notifications' or 'cases', whereas those from ASPREN are referred to as 'consultations' or 'encounters' while data from the LabVISE scheme are referred to as 'laboratory reports'.
Vaccine preventable diseasesA total of 418 notifications were received with an onset date in January. Most of the notifications were the result of continuing pertussis activity in most States and Territories. Cases of pertussis were distributed across all age groups with a predominance in the 10-19 year age group (Figure 1). There were 8 notifications of measles and 17 notifications of rubella in January, a decrease from the mean of the last five years (82 measles and 191 rubella notifications). Most measles cases were evenly distributed between decade age groupings up to 30 years of age, with 2 cases per grouping. Of the 2 cases under 10 years of age, 1 was a resident under 1 year and the other was a 4 year old visiting from overseas. Most rubella cases occurred in those aged between 20 and 29 years (8) with a female predominance (Figure 2). There was no increase in the number of notifications of other vaccine preventable diseases. Of interest, there was 1 case of tetanus reported from Queensland in a male aged over 70 years.
Figure 1. Notifications of pertussis, January 2000, by age group and sex
Figure 2. Notifications of rubella, January 2000, by age group and sex
A total of 46 reports of meningococcal disease were received with an onset date in January, which is similar to numbers from the previous year but an increase compared with the mean for the months of December to February over the last 5 year period (25). Most cases occurred in those under 30 years of age and were spread evenly in decade age groupings, with a similar ratio overall of males to females (1.2:1). Overall there were 4 deaths reported in this period. Serotype information was provided for 78% of cases. Of those with serogroup details available 55% (20) were serotype B, 42% (15) were serotype C, and 3% (1 ) was serotype Y.
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Bloodborne diseasesThere were 1,493 notifications of hepatitis C diagnosed in January 2000 that were not already recorded on the State and Territory notifiable diseases databases. This was an increase from December 1999 (1,337) and from the mean of the last 5 years (1,215), but was less than for January last year (1,601). Of these, 13 were identified as incident cases. The majority of notifications were in the 20-39 year age group (62%) and the male to female ratio was 1.7:1.
Gastrointestinal diseasesThere were 659 notifications of salmonellosis with an onset month of January 2000. This was an increase from December 1999 (462) but was less than for January last year (852) and for the mean of the last 5 years (702) (Figure 3). The majority of notifications were in the 0-10 year age group (45%) with a male to female ratio of 1.1:1. Salmonellosis notifications demonstrate marked periodicy, with summer peaks and winter troughs.
Figure 3. Notifications of salmonellosis, January 1991 to January 2000, by date of onset
There were 10 notifications of listeriosis with an onset month of January 2000. This was twice the number of notifications as for the previous month (5), January last year (6) and for the mean of the last 5 years (7). Of these cases, 2 were in women of child bearing age and 1 was in a child less than 1 year old.
There were 7 notifications of typhoid with an onset month of January 2000. Of the four States reporting SLTEC/ VTEC there were 4 cases, all from South Australia. There was also 1 case of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) in New South Wales.
Quarantinable diseasesThere were no cases of cholera, plague, rabies, yellow fever or viral haemorrhagic fever with an onset month of January 2000.
Sexually transmissible diseasesThere were 505 notifications of gonococcal infection with an onset month of January 2000, which was an increase from December 1999 (323), January last year (481) and for the mean for the last 5 years (373). The majority of notifications were in the 20-29 year age group (39%) with a male to female ratio of 2.5:1.
Vectorborne diseasesThere were 47 notifications of dengue with an onset month of January 2000. This was an increase from December 1999 (23), January last year (31) and from the mean for the last 5 years (33) (Figure 4). The majority of notifications were in the 20-39 year age group (47%) with a male to female ratio of 2.0:1. The increase was in Queensland and the Northern Territory. The Queensland cases comprised both imported cases and local transmission whereas all of the Northern Territory cases were imported (the vector is exotic to the Northern Territory) (Figure 5).
Figure 4. Notifications of dengue, January 1991 to January 2000, by date of onset
Figure 5. Notifications of dengue, January 1999 to January 2000, for Northern Territory, Queensland and Australia, by month of onset
There were 512 notifications of Ross River virus infection with an onset month of January 2000, which was an increase from December 1999 (242), but was similar to the figures for January last year (519) and for the mean for the last 5 years (558). The majority of notifications were in Queensland and Western Australia (81%). Sixty-seven per cent of all notifications were in the 20- 49 year age group with a male to female ratio of 0.9:1.
Other bacterial diseasesThere were 22 notifications of legionellosis with an onset month of January 2000, with the majority being in Victoria (59%). This was similar to the notifications for December 1999 (15), January last year (24) and for the mean for the last 5 years (19). The age for the notifications ranged from 30 to 79 years and the male to female ratio was 2.6:1.
This article was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 24, No 3, March 2000.