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Lower respiratory infections in Australian Indigenous children

Authors

  • Kerry-Ann F O'Grady,

    Corresponding author
    1. Child Health Division
    2. Centre for Clinical Research Excellence in Child and Adolescent Immunisation, Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Northern Territory
    3. School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
    4. Qld Children's Respiratory Centre and Qld Children's Medical Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Anne B Chang

    1. Child Health Division
    2. Qld Children's Respiratory Centre and Qld Children's Medical Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Funding sources: Kerry-Ann O'Grady is supported by a NHMRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Indigenous Health. Anne B Chang is supported by a NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship (grant number 525216).

Dr Kerry-Ann O'Grady, Queensland Children's Medical Research Institute Level 4, Foundation Building Royal Children's Hospital Herston Street, Herston, QLD, 4029, Australia. Fax: 61 7 3636 5578; email: k.ogrady@uq.edu.au

Abstract

Despite Australia being one of the wealthiest countries of the world, Australian Indigenous children have a health status and social circumstance comparable to developing countries. Indigenous infants have 10 times the mortality rate for respiratory conditions. The lower respiratory infection (LRI) rate in Australian Indigenous children is at least as high as that of children in developing countries; the frequency of hospitalisations of Indigenous infants is triple that of non-Indigenous Australian infants (201.7 vs. 62.6/1000, respectively). While Indigenous Australian children have many risk factors for LRIs described in developing countries, there is little specific data, and hence, evidence-based intervention points are yet to be identified. Efficacy of conjugate vaccines for common bacterial causes of pneumonia has been less marked in Indigenous children than that documented overseas. Gaps in the management and prevention of disease are glaring. Given the burden of LRI in Indigenous children and the association with long-term respiratory dysfunction, LRIs should be addressed as a matter of priority.

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