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2.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 Jul 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524944

ABSTRACT

Abstract: Nationwide surveillance of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other human prion diseases is performed by the Australian National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Registry (ANCJDR). National surveillance encompasses the period since 1 January 1970, with prospective surveillance occurring from 1 October 1993. Over this prospective surveillance period, considerable developments have occurred in pre-mortem diagnostics; in the delineation of new disease subtypes; and in a heightened awareness of prion diseases in healthcare settings. Surveillance practices of the ANCJDR have evolved and adapted accordingly. This report summarises the activities of the ANCJDR during 2020. Since the ANCJDR began offering diagnostic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 14-3-3 protein testing in Australia in September 1997, the annual number of referrals has steadily increased. In 2020, 510 domestic CSF specimens were referred for 14-3-3 protein testing and 85 persons with suspected human prion disease were formally added to the national register. As of 31 December 2020, just over half (44 cases) of the 85 suspect case notifications remain classified as 'incomplete'; 27 cases were excluded through either detailed clinical follow-up (9 cases) or neuropathological examination (18 cases); 18 cases were classified as 'definite' and eleven as 'probable' prion disease. For 2020, sixty percent of all suspected human-prion-disease-related deaths in Australia underwent neuropathological examination. No cases of variant or iatrogenic CJD were identified. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic did not affect prion disease surveillance outcomes in Australia.


Subject(s)
14-3-3 Proteins/cerebrospinal fluid , COVID-19/epidemiology , Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome/epidemiology , Population Surveillance , Prion Diseases/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Australia/epidemiology , Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome/cerebrospinal fluid , Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome/pathology , Disease Notification , Epidemiological Monitoring , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neuropathology , Prion Diseases/cerebrospinal fluid , Prospective Studies , Registries
5.
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 2081, 2021 11 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515442

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: This study explored the experiences of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in Greater Western Sydney, Australia, in selected livelihood items during COVID-19 and the perceived impacts of the pandemic on their lives. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was used to collect data between 25 August and 30 September 2020 among CALD communities in Greater Western Sydney. Information was collected on respondents' experiences in selected livelihood items, including housing, finances, safety, accessing social services and activities, finding work, food, clothing, and relationships during COVID-19 and the pandemic's perceived impact on their lives. Descriptive and non-parametric statistics were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: One hundred and ninety-eight participants were included in the study, 45.5% male and 54.5% female. Many respondents reported their experience in the selected livelihood items as "worse" during COVID-19 at the time of the study. The feeling of safety was most disrupted, with 56% of respondents rating their experience as "worse". This experience was followed by accessing social support group activities, with 50% of respondents stating their experience of using this service had worsened. The experience of accessing social services and financial situation was rated as "worse" by 41% of respondents. Experience in finding work, housing, and attending schools were all rated as "worse". The median perceived impact of COVID-19 among respondents who rated their experience in the selected livelihood items as "worse" were statistically higher than those who rated their experience as the "same". Respondents' characteristics also predicted the perceived impact of COVID-19. Unemployed respondents were 3.53 (95% CI: 1.16-10.73, p = 0.026) times more likely to perceive the impact of COVID-19 on their lives as "high" compared to employed respondents. CONCLUSIONS: The finding demonstrates that the "high" number of respondents had the same situation as before COVID-19 and highlights the level of resilience exhibited by CALD communities in the Australian context. It also suggests that services in Australia were good during the pandemic. However, enhanced policy and initiatives designed to meet the CALD population's needs are required, particularly in the areas most reported to have been disrupted by changes associated with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Australia/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Cultural Diversity , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 11 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512314

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has had tremendous effects worldwide, resulting in large-scale death and upheaval. An abundance of studies have shown that traffic patterns have changed worldwide as working from home has become dominant, with many facilities, restaurants and retail services being closed due to the lockdown orders. With regards to road safety, there have been several studies on the reduction in fatalities and crash frequencies and increase in crash severity during the lockdown period. However, no scientific evidence has been reported on the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on traffic incident duration, a key metric for crash management. It is also unclear from the existing literature whether the impacts on traffic incidents are consistent across multiple lockdowns. This paper analyses the impact of two different COVID-19 lockdowns in Sydney, Australia, on traffic incident duration and frequency. During the first (31 March-28 April 2020) and second (26 June-31 August 2021) lockdowns, the number of incidents fell by 50% and 60%, respectively, in comparison to the same periods in 2018 and 2019. The proportion of incidents involving towing increased significantly during both lockdowns. The mean duration of crashes increased by 16% during the first lockdown, but the change was less significant during the subsequent lockdown. Crashes involving diversions, emergency services and towing saw an increase in the mean duration by 67%, 16%, and 47%, respectively, during the first lockdown. However, this was not reflected in the 2021 data, with only major crashes seeing a significant increase, i.e., by 58%. There was also a noticeable shift in the location of incidents, with more incidents recorded in suburban areas, away from the central business area. Our findings suggest drastic changes in incident characteristics, and these changes should be considered by policymakers in promoting a safer and more sustainable transportation network in the future.


Subject(s)
Accidents, Traffic , COVID-19 , Australia/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
8.
BMJ Open ; 11(11): e054510, 2021 11 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1507057

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To present Australia-wide data on paediatric COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndromes to inform health service provision and vaccination prioritisation. DESIGN: Prospective, multicentre cohort study. SETTING: Eight tertiary paediatric hospitals across six Australian states and territories in an established research surveillance network-Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease (PAEDS). PARTICIPANTS: All children aged <19 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection including COVID-19, Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome Temporally Associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) and Kawasaki-like disease TS infection (KD-TS) treated at a PAEDS site from 24 March 2020 to 31 December 2020. INTERVENTION: Laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. MAIN OUTCOME: Incidence of severe disease among children with COVID-19, PIMS-TS and KD-TS. We also compared KD epidemiology before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: Among 386 children with SARS-CoV-2 infection, 381 (98.7%) had COVID-19 (median 6.3 years (IQR 2.1-12.8),53.3% male) and 5 (1.3%) had multisystem inflammatory syndromes (PIMS-TS, n=4; KD-TS, n=1) (median 7.9 years (IQR 7.8-9.8)). Most children with COVID-19 (n=278; 73%) were Australian-born from jurisdictions with highest community transmission. Comorbidities were present in 72 (18.9%); cardiac and respiratory comorbidities were most common (n=32/72;44%). 37 (9.7%) children with COVID-19 were hospitalised, and two (0.5%) required intensive care. Postinfective inflammatory syndromes (PIMS-TS/KD-TS) were uncommon (n=5; 1.3%), all were hospitalised and three (3/5; 60%) required intensive care management. All children recovered and there were no deaths. KD incidence remained stable during the pandemic compared with prepandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Most children with COVID-19 had mild disease. Severe disease was less frequent than reported in high prevalence settings. Preventative strategies, such as vaccination, including children and adolescents, could reduce both the acute and postinfective manifestations of the disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/complications , Child , Cohort Studies , Female , Hospitals, Pediatric , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
10.
Crit Care ; 25(1): 382, 2021 11 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506095

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There are few reports of new functional impairment following critical illness from COVID-19. We aimed to describe the incidence of death or new disability, functional impairment and changes in health-related quality of life of patients after COVID-19 critical illness at 6 months. METHODS: In a nationally representative, multicenter, prospective cohort study of COVID-19 critical illness, we determined the prevalence of death or new disability at 6 months, the primary outcome. We measured mortality, new disability and return to work with changes in the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 12L (WHODAS) and health status with the EQ5D-5LTM. RESULTS: Of 274 eligible patients, 212 were enrolled from 30 hospitals. The median age was 61 (51-70) years, and 124 (58.5%) patients were male. At 6 months, 43/160 (26.9%) patients died and 42/108 (38.9%) responding survivors reported new disability. Compared to pre-illness, the WHODAS percentage score worsened (mean difference (MD), 10.40% [95% CI 7.06-13.77]; p < 0.001). Thirteen (11.4%) survivors had not returned to work due to poor health. There was a decrease in the EQ-5D-5LTM utility score (MD, - 0.19 [- 0.28 to - 0.10]; p < 0.001). At 6 months, 82 of 115 (71.3%) patients reported persistent symptoms. The independent predictors of death or new disability were higher severity of illness and increased frailty. CONCLUSIONS: At six months after COVID-19 critical illness, death and new disability was substantial. Over a third of survivors had new disability, which was widespread across all areas of functioning. Clinical trial registration NCT04401254 May 26, 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Critical Illness/epidemiology , Disabled Persons , Recovery of Function/physiology , Return to Work/trends , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , Critical Illness/therapy , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Health Status , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality/trends , Prospective Studies , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome
11.
Addiction ; 116(12): 3398-3407, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503763

ABSTRACT

AIMS: To estimate change in young people's alcohol consumption during COVID-19 restrictions in Australia in early-mid 2020, and test whether those changes were consistent by gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. DESIGN: Prospective longitudinal cohort. SETTING: Secondary schools in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Subsample of a cohort (n = 443) recruited in the first year of secondary school in 2010-11. Analysis data included three waves collected in September 2017-July 2018, September 2018-May 2019 and August 2019-January 2020), and in May-June 2020. MEASUREMENTS: The primary predictors were time, gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. Outcome variables, analysed by mixed-effects models, included frequency and typical quantity of alcohol consumption, binge drinking, peak consumption, alcohol-related harm and drinking contexts. FINDINGS: Overall consumption (frequency × quantity) during the restrictions declined by 17% [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.73, 0.95] compared to February 2020, and there was a 35% decline in the rate of alcohol-related harms in the same period (IRR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.54, 0.79). Changes in alcohol consumption were largely consistent by gender. CONCLUSIONS: From a survey of secondary school students in Australia, there is evidence for a reduction in overall consumption and related harms during the COVID-19 restrictions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , Australia/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed ; 106(6): 627-634, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503592

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To identify risk factors associated with delivery room respiratory support in at-risk infants who are initially vigorous and received delayed cord clamping (DCC). DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: Two perinatal centres in Melbourne, Australia. PATIENTS: At-risk infants born at ≥35+0 weeks gestation with a paediatric doctor in attendance who were initially vigorous and received DCC for >60 s. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Delivery room respiratory support defined as facemask positive pressure ventilation, continuous positive airway pressure and/or supplemental oxygen within 10 min of birth. RESULTS: Two hundred and ninety-eight infants born at a median (IQR) gestational age of 39+3 (38+2-40+2) weeks were included. Cord clamping occurred at a median (IQR) of 128 (123-145) s. Forty-four (15%) infants received respiratory support at a median of 214 (IQR 156-326) s after birth. Neonatal unit admission for respiratory distress occurred in 32% of infants receiving delivery room respiratory support vs 1% of infants who did not receive delivery room respiratory support (p<0.001). Risk factors independently associated with delivery room respiratory support were average heart rate (HR) at 90-120 s after birth (determined using three-lead ECG), mode of birth and time to establish regular cries. Decision tree analysis identified that infants at highest risk had an average HR of <165 beats per minute at 90-120 s after birth following caesarean section (risk of 39%). Infants with an average HR of ≥165 beats per minute at 90-120 s after birth were at low risk (5%). CONCLUSIONS: We present a clinical decision pathway for at-risk infants who may benefit from close observation following DCC. Our findings provide a novel perspective of HR beyond the traditional threshold of 100 beats per minute.


Subject(s)
Critical Pathways/standards , Delivery, Obstetric , Electrocardiography/methods , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy , Umbilical Cord , Australia/epidemiology , Cesarean Section/adverse effects , Cesarean Section/methods , Clinical Decision-Making , Constriction , Continuous Positive Airway Pressure/methods , Delivery, Obstetric/adverse effects , Delivery, Obstetric/methods , Delivery, Obstetric/statistics & numerical data , Female , Gestational Age , Heart Rate , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Male , Monitoring, Physiologic/methods , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy/adverse effects , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy/instrumentation , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy/methods , Risk Assessment/methods , Risk Factors , Time-to-Treatment/standards , Time-to-Treatment/statistics & numerical data
13.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1498419

ABSTRACT

Abstract: For 27 years, national prospective data on selected rare childhood diseases have been collected monthly by the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) from paediatricians and other clinical specialists who report cases in children aged up to 16 years. We report here the annual results of APSU surveillance in 2020 for ten rare communicable diseases and complications of communicable diseases, namely: acute flaccid paralysis (AFP); congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection; neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection; perinatal exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); paediatric HIV infection; severe complications of seasonal influenza; juvenile onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (JoRRP); congenital rubella syndrome; congenital varicella syndrome; and neonatal varicella infection. We describe the results for each disease in the context of the total period of study, including demographics, clinical characteristics, treatment and short-term outcomes. Despite challenges presented by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, more than 1,400 paediatricians reported regularly to the APSU and an overall monthly reporting rate of > 90% was achieved. The minimum AFP target of 1 case per 100,000 children aged less than 15 years was achieved and there were few cases of vaccine-preventable diseases (JoRRP, rubella, varicella). However, high cases of congenital CMV, neonatal HSV and perinatal exposure to HIV persist. There were no severe complications of seasonal influenza reported for the first time in 13 years. This is consistent with other surveillance data reporting a decline of influenza and other communicable diseases in 2020, and likely reflects the wider effects of public health measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Australian community.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Australia/epidemiology , Child , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Pregnancy , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
14.
17.
Int J Equity Health ; 20(1): 166, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496176

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered the ways in which disabled people are made more vulnerable due to structural inequalities. These vulnerabilities are the result of the interaction between individual and structural factors that shape how risk is experienced by disabled people. In Australia, these vulnerabilities are influenced by the way disability services and care for disabled people are delivered through a consumer-directed approach. We analysed the policies and documentation made by the Australian Government and state and territory governments during the pandemic to explore whether these were disability-inclusive. We aimed to unpack how these policies shaped disabled people as vulnerable citizens. METHODS: Guided by documentary research, we used framework analysis to examine the policies of the Australian Government and state and territory governments. We analysed legislation that was given royal assent by the federal, state and territory governments, and documents (reports, fact sheets, guidance documents, etc.) published by the federal government and the state of Victoria (given that this state experienced the brunt of the epidemic in Australia) between February 2020 to August of 2020. RESULTS: We found that most of the resources were not aimed at disabled people, but at carers and workers within disability services. In addition, most policies formulated by the Australian Government were related to the expansion of welfare services and the creation of economic stimulus schemes. However, while the stimulus included unemployed people, the expansion of benefits explicitly excluded disabled people who were not employed. Most of the legislation and documents offered accessibility options, though most of these options were only available in English. Disability oriented agencies offered more extensive accessibility options. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate a large number of documents addressing the needs of disabled people. However, disability-inclusiveness appeared to be inconsistent and not fully considered, leaving disabled people exposed to greater risk of COVID-19. Neoliberal policies in the health and welfare sector in Australia have led to an individualisation of the responsibility to remain healthy and a reliance on people as independent consumers. Governments need to take a clear stance towards the emergence of such a discourse that actively disvalues disabled people.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Disabled Persons , Government , Pandemics , Policy , Australia/epidemiology , Guidelines as Topic , Humans , Risk Assessment , Vulnerable Populations
18.
Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol ; 58(5): 677-687, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1491008

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of restriction measures implemented to mitigate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on pregnancy duration and outcome. METHODS: A before-and-after study was conducted with cohort sampling in three maternity hospitals in Melbourne, Australia, including women who were pregnant when restriction measures were in place during the COVID-19 pandemic (estimated conception date between 1 November 2019 and 29 February 2020) and women who were pregnant before the restrictions (estimated conception date between 1 November 2018 and 28 February 2019). The primary outcome was delivery before 34 weeks' gestation or stillbirth. The main secondary outcome was a composite of adverse perinatal outcomes. Pregnancy outcomes were compared between women exposed to restriction measures and unexposed controls using the χ-square test and modified Poisson regression models, and duration of pregnancy was compared between the groups using survival analysis. RESULTS: In total, 3150 women who were exposed to restriction measures during pregnancy and 3175 unexposed controls were included. Preterm birth before 34 weeks or stillbirth occurred in 95 (3.0%) exposed pregnancies and in 130 (4.1%) controls (risk ratio (RR), 0.74 (95% CI, 0.57-0.96); P = 0.021). Preterm birth before 34 weeks occurred in 2.4% of women in the exposed group and in 3.4% of women in the control group (RR, 0.71 (95% CI, 0.53-0.95); P = 0.022), without evidence of an increase in the rate of stillbirth in the exposed group (0.7% vs 0.9%; RR, 0.83 (95% CI, 0.48-1.44); P = 0.515). Competing-risks regression analysis showed that the effect of the restriction measures on spontaneous preterm birth was stronger and started earlier (subdistribution hazard ratio (HR), 0.81 (95% CI, 0.64-1.03); P = 0.087) than the effect on medically indicated preterm birth (subdistribution HR, 0.89 (95% CI, 0.70-1.12); P = 0.305). The effect was stronger in women with a previous preterm birth (RR, 0.42 (95% CI, 0.21-0.82); P = 0.008) than in parous women without a previous preterm birth (RR, 0.93 (95% CI, 0.63-1.38); P = 0.714) (P for interaction = 0.044). Composite adverse perinatal outcome was less frequent in the exposed group than in controls (all women: 2.1% vs 2.9%; RR, 0.73 (95% CI, 0.54-0.99); P = 0.042); women with a previous preterm birth: 4.5% vs 8.4%; RR, 0.54 (95% CI, 0.25-1.18); P = 0.116). CONCLUSIONS: Restriction measures implemented to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with a reduced rate of preterm birth before 34 weeks. This reduction was mainly due to a lower rate of spontaneous prematurity. The effect was more substantial in women with a previous preterm birth and was not associated with an increased stillbirth rate. © 2021 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Infection Control/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pregnancy Outcome/epidemiology , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant, Low Birth Weight , Infant, Newborn , Physical Distancing , Pregnancy , Premature Birth/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Stillbirth/epidemiology , Young Adult
19.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 10 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488581

ABSTRACT

This national study investigated the positives reported by residents experiencing the large-scale public health measures instituted in Australia to manage the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Most Australians had not previously experienced the traditional public health measures used (social distancing, hand hygiene and restriction of movement) and which could potentially impact negatively on mental well-being. The research design included qualitative semi-structured phone interviews where participants described their early pandemic experiences. Data analysis used a rapid identification of themes technique, well-suited to large-scale qualitative research. The ninety participants (mean age 48 years; 70 women) were distributed nationally. Analysis revealed five themes linked with mental well-being and the concept of silver linings: safety and security, gratitude and appreciation, social cohesion and connections, and opportunities to reset priorities and resilience. Participants demonstrated support for the public health measures and evidence of individual and community resilience. They were cognisant of positives despite personal curtailment and negative impacts of public health directives. Stories of hope, strength, and acceptance, innovative connections with others and focusing on priorities and opportunities within the hardship were important strategies that others could use in managing adversity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Australia/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488569

ABSTRACT

Population-based data linkage has a long history in Australia from its beginnings in Western Australia in the 1970s to the coordinated national data linkage infrastructure that exists today. This article describes the journey from an idea to a national data linkage network which has impacts on the health and well-being of Australians from preventing developmental anomalies to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many enthusiastic and dedicated people have contributed to Australia's data linkage capability over the last 50 years. They have managed to overcome a number of challenges including gaining stakeholder and community support; navigating complex legal and ethical environments; establishing cross-jurisdictional collaborations, and gaining ongoing financial support. The future is bright for linked data in Australia as the infrastructure built over the last 50 years provides a firm foundation for further expansion and development, ensuring that Australia's linked health and human services data continues to be available to address the evolving challenges of the next half century.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Australia/epidemiology , Humans , Information Storage and Retrieval , SARS-CoV-2
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