NSW Public Health Officer Training Program

Sydney, Australia

NSW Public Health Officer Training Program

Sydney, Australia
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Gunaratnam P.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program | Tobin S.,Health Protection NSW. | Seale H.,University of New South Wales | McAnulty J.M.,Health Protection NSW.
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2014

To quantify the proportion of selected notified diseases in NSW attributable to overseas travel and assess the quality of data on travel-associated risk factors, to inform prevention strategies. 2010 and 2011 notification data for dengue, hepatitis A, hepatitis E, malaria, paratyphoid fever, shigellosis and typhoid fever were extracted from the NSW Notifiable Conditions Information Management System and analysed for travel-associated risk factors. Where place of acquisition was known, the proportion of cases for whom the disease was acquired overseas ranged from 48.7% for shigellosis to 100% for hepatitis E, malaria and typhoid. Over half of hepatitis A (53.3%), hepatitis E (74.2%), malaria (54.5%), paratyphoid (53.3%) and typhoid (65.7%) cases were associated with travel to the person's country of birth. Hepatitis A vaccination rates were significantly lower among overseas-acquired than locally-acquired cases (4.8% vs 22.2%, Χ(2)=6.58, p<0.02). A large proportion of selected enteric and vectorborne disease case notifications were associated with overseas travel. All potential travellers should be made aware of the risks and available preventive measures, such as vaccination against hepatitis A and typhoid fever, taking precautions with food and water and use of malaria chemoprophylaxis, where appropriate. Improvements in data on risk factors, reason for travel and barriers to the use of preventive measures would better inform prevention strategies.


Freeman E.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2012

To analyse trends in hepatitis A notifications and information on exposure to risk factors, in particular international travel, collected through routine surveillance in NSW. Hepatitis A notification data for the period 2000-2009 were extracted from the Notifiable Diseases Database and analysed by age group, gender, area of residence and exposure risk factors, including travel, food eaten and contact with other possible infectious cases. The notification rate for hepatitis A in NSW fell from 3.0 cases per 100000 population in 2000 to 1.4 cases per 100000 population in 2009. Notification rates were highest among people aged 20-24 years and residents of metropolitan Sydney. Travel to a country where hepatitis A is endemic was a risk exposure identified in 43% of cases. International travel to highly endemic countries continues to be the most common risk factor for hepatitis A infection notified in NSW despite recommendations that travellers be vaccinated prior to travel to these areas.


Maher L.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2012

To assess the availability, accessibility and uptake of eye health services for Aboriginal people in western NSW in 2010. The use of document review, observational visits, key stakeholder consultation and service data reviews, including number of cataract operations performed, to determine regional service availability and use. Aboriginal people in western NSW have a lower uptake of tertiary eye health services, with cataract surgery rates of 1750 per million for Aboriginal people and 9702 per million for non-Aboriginal people. Public ophthalmology clinics increase access to tertiary services for Aboriginal people. Eye health services are not equally available and accessible for Aboriginal people in western NSW. Increasing the availability of culturally competent public ophthalmology clinics may increase access to tertiary ophthalmology services for Aboriginal people. The report of the review was published online, and outlines a list of recommendations.


Hess I.M.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2011

Hendra virus infection is an emerging infectious disease that is not well understood. Most cases of Hendra virus infection have occurred in Queensland, with one case in a horse in NSW. Hendra virus infection has a high mortality rate in horses and humans and as cases could occur anywhere in Australia it is important to be ready for prompt action should an outbreak occur in NSW. This paper: reviews the current knowledge on Hendra virus infection including methods for preventing the disease; explains the animal health and human health response for an outbreak within NSW; and discusses possible future avenues for post-exposure prophylaxis and prevention by vaccination.


Hayden T.J.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2011

This study measured the frequency and geographical extent of peaks in asthma presentations to emergency departments in inland NSW; it assessed the characteristics of patients who presented at peak presentation times during the rye grass pollination season (October-November) and at other times of the year. Data describing over 13 years of daily emergency department presentations with a provisional diagnosis of asthma at nine inland NSW base hospitals were assembled. Days of counts in the top 0.1 percentile for each emergency department were classified as peak asthma count days. While the rye grass pollen season accounts for only 17% of days in the year, 53% of peak asthma count days fell within that period. Patients aged over 14 years represented 74% of visits on peak asthma count days during the pollen season and 50% on peak days at other times of the year. Under the right climatic conditions, rye grass pollen may be responsible for presentations for acute asthma to emergency departments in inland NSW.


Thomas S.L.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2011

In NSW, fall-related injury costs the health system more than any other single cause of injury. A public health surveillance database containing information routinely recorded by the Ambulance Service of NSW was used to define the epidemiology and characteristics of fall-related calls in the Sydney metropolitan area in 2008. The dataset contained 37488 fall-related calls, representing a crude rate of ambulance call-outs for falls of 843 per 100000 population. Females accounted for 57% of all fall-related calls, and the female rate of injury to the 'hip to foot' region increased with age. Males in all age groups reported 'head and neck' injury most often. In an analysis of a random sample of 1200 calls, 70% of ambulance dispatches were to a home or residential institution. The findings of this study on the risks for fall-related injury can be used to guide policy for ambulance service delivery. Expansion of data linkage to emergency department and admitted patient databases would provide information to further describe the epidemiology of falls in NSW.


Lowbridge C.P.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2012

Q fever is the most frequently notified zoonotic infection in NSW residents. The past decade has seen the introduction of a targeted national Q fever vaccination program. We undertook a descriptive analysis of Q fever notifications in NSW, for the period 2001-2010. A total of 1912 cases of Q fever were notified in NSW between 2001 and 2010 (average 2.8 per 100 000 persons per annum). The majority of Q fever cases were reported in men, aged 40-59 years, living in rural NSW and working in agricultural related occupations. The results suggest changes in the epidemiology of Q fever in response to the targeted vaccination program.


Biggs J.S.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2011

The Population Health Division of the NSW Department of Health has developed a 5-year strategy to improve the effectiveness of its resource investment in population health research. This paper describes the development of the strategy, Promoting the generation and effective use of population health research in NSW: a Strategy for NSW Health 2011-2015. A review of Australian and international strategic research documents and stakeholder interviews was conducted to support the development of the strategy. The findings from these two processes influenced the structure of the document and supported the inclusion of strategies and actions to assist with identifying research priorities, improving communication, enhancing networks and partnerships, supporting workforce development initiatives, providing research infrastructure, enhancing research and the use of research evidence and streamlining research governance and ethics processes. Small group discussions and a detailed review of literature were conducted to refine the thinking around four of the more complex aspects of the strategy. Finally, a broad consultation process was used to test the face validity of the proposed strategy content.


Thomas S.L.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2013

Lead poses a health risk to young children with detrimental effects on their intellectual development. Attendance rates for Aboriginal children at routine blood lead screening and at follow-up appointments in Broken Hill, NSW, have declined in recent years. This study sought to identify strategies to improve the participation of Aboriginal children aged 1-4 years in blood lead screening services in Broken Hill. Attendance rates during the period 2000-2010 were determined using the Broken Hill Lead Management database. From June to August 2011, Aboriginal community members, service providers and public health staff were invited to interviews and focus groups to explore barriers, enablers and suggestions for improving participation. In 2009, 27% of Aboriginal children aged 1-4 years attended blood lead screening and 29% of these children with blood lead levels over 15 μg/dL attended follow-up appointments. Barriers to participation in lead screening services included community perceptions, reduced service capacity, socio-economic and interorganisational factors. Enablers included using a culturally acceptable model, linking lead screening with routine health checks and using the finger-prick method of testing. The final report for the study included recommendations to improve participation rates of Aboriginal children including using social marketing, formalising collaboration between health services, supporting disadvantaged families and employing an Aboriginal Health Worker.


Freeman E.J.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2013

In the absence of published statewide notification data, the aim of this study was to analyse trends in notifiable blood lead levels (hereafter referred to as lead poisoning) in NSW from 1998 to 2008, to help inform lead poisoning notification policy. NSW blood lead poisoning notification data for 1998-2008 were extracted from the Notifiable Diseases Database and analysed by age, gender and Area Health Service of residence. There were 6000 lead poisoning notifications from 1998 to 2008, with an average annual notification rate of 11.8 per 100 000 population for 1998-2003. This rate declined to an average of 4.0 per 100 000 population in the period 2004-2008. Males accounted for 92% of notifications, and males aged 20-59 years had average notification rates between 20 and 27 per 100 000 population. Children aged 0-4 years had notification rates of 9.3 per 100 000 population in girls and 13.6 per 100 000 population in boys. Notification rates have fallen dramatically, however children aged 0-4 years and men are disproportionately represented in lead poisoning notifications.

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