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Trends in admissions for acute respiratory infections in children: an inter-country comparison between Western Australia and England

Acute respiratory infections are major cause of hospital admission in young children despite the availability of childhood vaccination programs.

By bringing together existing administrative data in England and Western Australia, we will able to compare the trends, risk factors and the effectiveness of different vaccination policies and interventions, in each jurisdiction.

Better understanding of the differences and similarities between the two countries will provide insights for preventing the high admissions due to chest infections in children.

Evaluating the use and effectiveness of passive immunization in reducing RSV-associated morbidity in high risk infants

Respiratory syncytial virus is a major cause of chest infections in young children and causes many children to go to hospital. Currently there no vaccination against RSV infections and the only intervention available is passive immunisation from a drug called palivizumab.

The effectiveness of palivizumab in preventing RSV infections in high risk children has been demonstrated in other developed countries, but never in Western Australia.

By bringing together information on hospital, pharmacy, laboratory and birth records, we will be able to measure how effective palivizumab is in reducing the number of infections caused by this virus.

The pathogen specific burden of hospitalisation for enteric and blood stream infection in children and young people in Western Australia

Enteric (gut) infections are a major cause of illness in children and young adults. Aboriginal children suffer from more gut infections compared with non-Aboriginal children. In addition to dehydration, severe gut infections can give rise to bloodstream infections (BSI) and other nutrition/growth related health problems.

By bringing together the birth, hospitalisation, and laboratory records of children across Western Australia over the last 10 years, we will investigate which pathogens are responsible for enteric infection related health care presentations in children, who are most at risk and what factors predict the severity of illness.

We will assess the overall impact of the rotavirus vaccination program introduced for children in Western Australia in 2007. This will help us to better target further prevention and management strategies for these infections.

Linkage of the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) and state-based registers to evaluate and inform Australia’s immunisation program

In order to optimise the health and cost benefits of Australia’s immunisation program, accurate data are required about how well the program is performing. Currently, information about this is limited.

In this study we will for the first time bring information together for a population of births in WA and NSW on immunization records, hospital admissions, disease notification records, laboratory records and birth records.

We will use this information to accurately determine how many infants and children are receiving their recommended vaccinations on time and if they are working to reduce the amount of infections that infants and young children suffer.

Identifying opportunities for preventing respiratory infections in children through integrating population-based health and laboratory data

Chest infections, like influenza and pneumonia, are a major cause of illness in children, particularly in Aboriginal children.

By bringing together information that is stored on public records, we will describe the viruses and bacteria that are associated with chest infections in Western Australian children over a 16 year period. We will look at how multiple infections (when two or more viruses or bacteria are found at the same time) affect the severity of illness.

This information will identify areas or sub-groups of the population where better targeted interventions are needed and will be most effective. This will help to reduce the amount of children who suffer from chest infections.

Characterising climatic drivers and synergy between common paediatric respiratory viruses in children: guiding prevention and management

The focus of our research is to understand the seasonal patterns of the key viruses that cause chest infections in children. Understanding seasonality is important so prevention measures, like vaccination programs, can be targeted at the appropriate time according to the when the peak viral activity occurs.

One of the key viruses we are interested in is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

There is currently no vaccine targeting RSV but a maternal vaccine is likely in the future with late state clinical trials now underway.

Dr Hannah Moore

Co-Head, Infectious Diseases Epidemiology; Program Head, Infections and Vaccines; Epidemiology Lead, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines & Infectious Diseases

BSc (Hons) GradDipClinEpi PhD