Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd

Townsville, Australia

Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd

Townsville, Australia
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Schrieber L.,University of Sydney | Schrieber L.,James Cook University | Muscatello G.,University of Sydney | Speare R.,James Cook University | Speare R.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2014

Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (SDSE), also known as group G and C streptococci, is becoming increasingly recognized as a pathogen in humans. We report here the finding of an identical strain of SDSE in the throat of a child and their dog in an Aboriginal Australian community. The strain was identified using the API 20Strep system, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, emm sequence typing (emmST) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) as a group C SDSE, stC839.5 and ST-3. Carriage of this strain by a human and dog in the same household justifies detailed epidemiological studies using molecular typing to clarify the extent of cross-species transmission and sharing of SDSE and other group G and C streptococci, and its impact in these communities. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


PubMed | Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd, Hunter New England Population Health and NSW Ministry of Health
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Rural and remote health | Year: 2015

Rural and remote communities of Australia, particularly those including Aboriginal people, experience greater morbidity and mortality across a range of health outcomes compared to urban communities. Previous national data have demonstrated that rural and remote communities experience a disproportionate burden of communicable diseases compared to their urban counterparts. This systematic review was undertaken to describe the types of research that have explored the epidemiology of communicable diseases in rural and remote communities in Australia, with particular reference to the social determinants of health.We conducted a keyword search of several databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE/PubMed, RURAL, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Database, Web of Science Core Collection, and Google and Google Scholar websites) for peer-reviewed and grey literature that described or analysed the epidemiology of communicable diseases in rural and/or remote communities of Australia from 2004 to 2013. Exclusion criteria were applied to keep the review focused on rural and/or remote communities and the population-level epidemiological analysis of communicable diseases.From 2287 retrieved articles, a total of 50 remained after applying exclusion criteria. The majority of included articles were descriptive studies (41/50). Seven of the total 50 articles contained analytical studies; one systematic literature review and one experimental study were also identified. Due to the diversity of approaches in measuring disease burden, we performed a narrative synthesis of the articles according to the review objectives. Most of the articles investigated the disease burden in remote (n=37/50) and Aboriginal communities only (n=21/50). The studies highlighted a high prevalence or incidence of skin, eye and respiratory infections for remote Aboriginal communities, particularly children over the past decade. There was emerging evidence to suggest that housing and social conditions play an important role in determining the risk of skin, ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections in children. Other health service and sociocultural factors were also discussed by authors as influencing the epidemiology of communicable diseases in rural and remote communities.This systematic review identified several communicable diseases that continue to cause considerable morbidity in remote Aboriginal communities, including skin, eye and respiratory infections, particularly for children. Overall there is a substantial amount of descriptive epidemiology published, but few analytical or experimental studies. Despite a lack of empirical investigation into the social determinants of the burden of communicable disease, there is emerging evidence that has demonstrated a significant association between housing conditions and skin, ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections in children. There is also growing recognition of other social and environmental factors that can influence the burden of diseases in rural and remote communities. Further investment into higher quality community-based research that addresses the social determinants of communicable diseases in remote communities is warranted. The lack of research investigating zoonoses and tropical diseases was noted.


Miller A.,Griffith University | Smith M.L.,Griffith University | Judd J.A.,James Cook University | Speare R.,James Cook University | Speare R.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2014

Strongyloides stercoralis infects human hosts mainly through skin contact with contaminated soil. The result is strongyloidiasis, a parasitic disease, with a unique cycle of auto-infection causing a variety of symptoms and signs, with possible fatality from hyper-infection. Australian Indigenous community members, often living in rural and remote settings, are exposed to and infected with S. stercoralis. The aim of this review is to determine barriers to control of strongyloidiasis. The purpose is to contribute to the development of initiatives for prevention, early detection and effective treatment of strongyloidiasis. Systematic search reviewing research published 2012 and earlier was conducted. Research articles discussing aspects of strongyloidiasis, context of infection and overall health in Indigenous Australians were reviewed. Based on the PRISMA statement, the systematic search of health databases, Academic Search Premier, Informit, Medline, PubMed, AMED, CINAHL, Health Source Nursing and Academic was conducted. Key search terms included strongyloidiasis, Indigenous, Australia, health, and community. 340 articles were retrieved with 16 original research articles published between 1969 and 2006 meeting criteria. Review found barriers to control defined across three key themes, (1) health status, (2) socioeconomic status, and (3) health care literacy and procedures. This study identifies five points of intervention: (1) develop reporting protocols between health care system and communities; (2) test all Indigenous Australian patients, immunocompromised patients and those exposed to areas with S. stercoralis; (3) health professionals require detailed information on strongyloidiasis and potential for exposure to Indigenous Australian people; (4) to establish testing and treatment initiatives within communities; and (5) to measure and report prevalence rates specific to communities and to act with initiatives based on these results. By defining barriers to control of strongyloidiasis in Australian Indigenous people, improved outcomes of prevention, treatment of strongyloidiasis and increased health overall are attainable. © 2014 Miller et al.


MacLaren D.J.,James Cook University | McBride W.J.H.,James Cook University | Kelly G.C.,University of Queensland | Muller R.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd | And 5 more authors.
Sexually Transmitted Infections | Year: 2015

Objective To examine the correlation between HIV prevalence and male circumcision and other foreskin cutting practices across the four regions of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Design An ecological substudy using unique data from an interdisciplinary research programme to evaluate the acceptability, sociocultural context and public health impact of male circumcision for HIV prevention in PNG. Methods Published data describing (a) self-reported circumcision status by region from the 'Acceptability and Feasibility of Male Circumcision for HIV prevention in PNG' study and (b) HIV prevalence by region from PNG National Department of Health were used to correlate male circumcision and other foreskin cutting practices and HIV prevalence. Maps were constructed to visually represent variations across the four regions of PNG. Results Regions of PNG with the highest HIV prevalence had the lowest prevalence of male circumcision and other forms of foreskin cutting and vice versa. Male circumcision and dorsal longitudinal cuts were strongly associated with HIV prevalence and able to explain 99% of the observed geographical variability in HIV prevalence in PNG (p0.01). Conclusions The regional prevalence of HIV infection in PNG appears to be closely correlated with the regional distribution of male circumcision and dorsal longitudinal foreskin cuts. Further research is warranted to investigate causality of this correlation as well as the potential of dorsal longitudinal cuts to confer protection against HIV acquisition in heterosexual men.


Buhrer-Skinner M.,James Cook University | Buhrer-Skinner M.,Townsville Hospital and Health Service | Muller R.,James Cook University | Muller R.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd | And 3 more authors.
Sexual Health | Year: 2013

Background Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia) is the most commonly notified sexually transmissible bacterial infection in Australia, where distance to health services can be a barrier. This study investigated the acceptability of a self-collection kit for chlamydia testing (sent by mail) and assessed the risk profiles of participants with respect to locality. Methods: In total, 2587 self-collection kits were distributed opportunistically or sent directly to participants upon request, as was a self-administered questionnaire. Results: The return rate was 13.2% (n≤341) for samples and questionnaires. The return rate did not differ with location (P≤0.522) but with mode of distribution (opportunistic: 9.7%; by request: 27.4%; P<0.001). Although 37% of participants had previously been tested for chlamydia, 77.5% said that they would not have sought testing otherwise. The median age of participants was 22.6 years, 33.8% were male and 9.1% were of Aboriginal descent. Overall, 9.0% (95% confidence interval (CI)≤6.1-12.5) of participants were chlamydia-positive. Prevalence of chlamydia and Aboriginal participation increased with remoteness (P<0.001), and self-reported condom use was significantly reduced for remote and very remote locations (P≤0.008). Within remote and very remote locations, 30.8% (95% CI≤9.1-61.4) of Aboriginal participants and 38.9% of nonIndigenous participants were chlamydia-positive (P≤0.718; 95% CI≤17.3-64.3). Discussion: Testing for chlamydia using a mailed self-collection kit opened access to a predominantly test-naïve population. The proposed model was able to reach remote populations. Actively requested kits were more likely to be returned. © 2013 CSIRO.


Hurly D.S.,James Cook University | Buhrer-Skinner M.,James Cook University | Badman S.G.,University of New South Wales | Bulu S.,KPH Clinic | And 6 more authors.
Sexually Transmitted Infections | Year: 2014

Objective: To evaluate the clinical performance of two chlamydia point-of-care (POC) tests compared with a gold standard nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT). Methods: Tests evaluated were the Chlamydia Rapid Test (CRT), Diagnostics for the Real World and the ACON Chlamydia Rapid Test Device, ACON Laboratories (ACON). Overall 226 men and 225 women in Port Vila, Vanuatu, participated in this prospective study in 2010. NAAT and POC testing was performed on samples of male urine and female vaginal swabs for 156 men and 223 women (CRT), and 133 men and 75 women (ACON). Results: The sensitivity and specificity of the CRT in men were 41.4% (95% CI 23.5% to 61.1%) and 89.0% (95% CI 82.2% to 93.8%), respectively, and in women 74.2% (95% CI 61.5% to 84.5%) and 95.7% (95% CI 91.3% to 98.2%), respectively; for ACON, they were 43.8% (95% CI 19.8% to 70.1%) and 98.3% (95% CI 93.9% to 99.8%) in men, and in women 66.7% (95% CI 22.3% to 95.7%) and 91.3% (95% CI 82.0% to 96.7%), respectively. Both tests were (absolutely) insensitive at organism loads less than 1000 (log=3) per mL or per swab; the CRT sensitivity was significantly lower at loads less than, compared with those greater than, 100 000 (log=5) per mL or per swab. Conclusions: The performance of both CRT and ACON is well below the levels stated by the manufacturers. The evaluated tests are unlikely to be helpful in clinical settings due to the high proportion of false-negatives that will go untreated and false-positives that will result in overtreatment and potential adverse social consequences.


Turner D.,James Cook University | Harrison S.L.,James Cook University | Buettner P.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd | Nowak M.,James Cook University
Preventive Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: Childhood sun exposure is an important risk factor for skin cancer. Anecdotal evidence suggests that hats are under-utilized by Australian primary school students. Methods: The proportion of students and adult role-models wearing hats was observed at 36 primary schools (63.9% SunSmart schools [SSS]) in Townsville (latitude 19.3°S; high to extreme maximum daily UV-index year round), Queensland, Australia, from 2009 to 2011. Results: Overall, 52.2% of 28,775 students and 47.9% of 2954 adults were observed wearing a hat. Hat use (all styles) among SSS and non-SunSmart school (NSSS) students was similar before (24.2% vs 20.5%; p=0.701), after (25.4% vs 21.7%; p=0.775) and during school-hours (93.0% vs 89.2%; p=0.649) except SSS students wore gold-standard (broad-brim/bucket/legionnaire) hats during school play-breaks more often in the warmer months (October-March) than NSSS students (54.7% vs 37.4%; p=0.02). Although the proportion of adults who wore hats (all styles) was similar at SSS and NSSS (48.2% vs 46.8%; p=0.974), fewer adults at SSS wore them before school (3.7% vs 10.2%; p=0.035). Conclusions: SunSmart status is not consistently associated with better hat-wearing behavior. The protective nature of hats and the proportion of school students and adult role-models wearing them could be improved, possibly by offering incentives to schools that promote sun-safety. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Speare R.,James Cook University | Speare R.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd | Bradbury R.S.,Central Queensland University | Croese J.,The Prince Charles Hospital
Korean Journal of Parasitology | Year: 2016

A 26-year-old male member of the Australian Defense Force presented with a history of central abdominal pain of 4 weeks duration and peripheral eosinophilia consistent with eosinophilic enteritis. Acute hookworm disease was diagnosed as the cause. Adult worms recovered from feces after therapy with albendazole were morphologically consistent with Ancylostoma ceylanicum. As the patient had been deployed with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands for 6 months prior to this presentation, it is very likely that the A. ceylanicum was acquired in Solomon Islands. Until now, it has been assumed that any Ancylostoma spp. recovered from humans in Solomon Islands is A. duodenale. However, this case demonstrates that human hookworm infection acquired in the Solomon Islands could be caused by A. ceylanicum. © 2016, Korean Society for Parasitology and Tropical Medicine.


Mushaya C.D.,James Cook University | Caleo P.J.,James Cook University | Bartlett L.,James Cook University | Buettner P.G.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd | Ho Y.H.,James Cook University
Techniques in Coloproctology | Year: 2014

Background: Haemorrhoidectomy is the most effective and definitive treatment for grade 3 or 4 haemorrhoids despite being associated with considerable pain. The aim of this study was to search the literature, which compares outcomes of harmonic scalpel haemorrhoidectomy and traditional surgical procedures, and conduct a quantitative meta-analysis of the randomized trials.Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified from the major electronic databases using the keywords “harmonic scalpel haemorrhoidectomy” and “haemorrhoidectomy” and a quantitative meta-analysis conducted. The eight trials that met the inclusion criteria included 468 patients (233 in the harmonic scalpel group). Pain was the primary outcome measure, and other parameters assessed included duration of operation, length of hospital stay, time to return to work, and complications.Results: Significantly, more patients returned to work in the first post-operative week, and pain scores were an average of one unit lower following harmonic scalpel haemorrhoidectomy. Generally, the incidence of complications in the harmonic scalpel group was less than half that found in conventional haemorrhoidectomy. There was no significant difference between the groups as regards operating time or length of hospital stay. Recurrence was not reported in any of the studies.Conclusions: The meta-analysis showed that harmonic scalpel haemorrhoidectomy is a safe and effective modality associated with less post-operative pain and a more rapid return to work than traditional surgery for haemorrhoids. Statistical heterogeneity was high; thus, it may be too early to place complete confidence in these results. Further RCTs are required. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Italia.


Mendez D.,James Cook University | Buttner P.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd. | Speare R.,James Cook University | Speare R.,Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2014

Following the emergence of Hendra virus (HeV), private veterinarians have had to adopt additional infection control strategies to manage this zoonosis. Between 1994 and 2010, seven people became infected with HeV, four fatally. All infected people were at a higher risk of exposure from contact with horses as they were either veterinary personnel, assisting veterinarians, or working in the horse industry. The management of emerging zoonoses is best approached from a One Health perspective as it benefits biosecurity as well as a public health, including the health of those most at risk, in this case private veterinarians. In 2011 we conducted a cross-sectional study of private veterinarians registered in Queensland and providing veterinary services to horses. The aim of this study was to gauge if participants had adopted recommendations for improved infection control, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the development of HeV specific management strategies during the winter of 2011. A majority of participants worked in practices that had a formal HeV management plan, mostly based on the perusal of official guidelines and an HeV field kit. The use of PPE increased as the health status of an equine patient decreased, demonstrating that many participants evaluated the risk of exposure to HeV appropriately; while others remained at risk of HeV infection by not using the appropriate PPE even when attending a sick horse. This study took place after Biosecurity Queensland had sent a comprehensive package about HeV management to all private veterinarians working in Queensland. However, those who had previous HeV experience through the management of suspected cases or had attended a HeV specific professional education programme in the previous 12 months were more likely to use PPE than those who had not. This may indicate that for private veterinarians in Queensland personal experience and face-to-face professional education sessions may be more effective in the improvement of HeV management than passive education via information packages. The role of different education pathways in the sustainable adoption of veterinary infection control measures should be further investigated. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

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