Epidemiology and Infection

Short Report

Other gastrointestinal infections

The disease pyramid for acute gastrointestinal illness in New Zealand

R. J. LAKEa1 c1, S. B. ADLAMa2, S. PERERAa2, D. M. CAMPBELLa3 and M. G. BAKERa4

a1 Food Safety Programme, Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

a2 Population and Environmental Health Programme, Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, Kenepuru, New Zealand

a3 Science Group, New Zealand Food Safety Authority, Wellington, New Zealand

a4 Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

SUMMARY

The disease pyramid of under-ascertainment for surveillance of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) in New Zealand has been estimated using 2005–2007 data on notifiable diseases, a community telephone survey, and a survey of diagnostic laboratories. For each notified case of AGI there were an estimated 222 cases in the community, about 49 of which visited a general practitioner. Faecal samples were requested from about 15 of these cases, and 13 samples were provided. Of the faecal samples, pathogens were detected in about three cases. These ratios are similar to those reported in other developed countries, and provide baseline measurements of the AGI burden in the New Zealand community.

(Accepted January 27 2010)

(Online publication March 03 2010)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr R. J. Lake, Institute of Environmental Science and Research, PO Box 29-181, Christchurch 8540, New Zealand. (Email: rob.lake@esr.cri.nz)

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