Fortnight 19: 15 September to 28 September 2018
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Increases in infectious syphilis notifications are attributed to an on-going outbreak occurring in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people residing in northern and central Australia and continued increases among men who have sex with men (MSM) in urban areas of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW).
Outbreak in remote Australia
In January 2011, an increase of infectious syphilis notifications among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was identified in the North West region of Queensland (QLD), following a steady decline at a national level in remote communities. Subsequent increases in infectious syphilis notifications were reported in the Northern Territory (NT) in 2013, Western Australia (WA) in 2014 and South Australia (SA) in 2016, following sustained periods of low notification rates. The outbreak is of significant public health concern given the: elevated rates of infectious syphilis among women of child-bearing age, increasing the risk of congenital syphilis; and the concomitant risk of HIV transmission.
For the latest information on the infectious syphilis outbreak, refer to the Department’s website - Infectious syphilis outbreak.
Increases among MSM
Since 2010, increases in notifications of infectious syphilis have been reported in MSM, predominately 20-39 years of age, residing in urban areas of Victoria (VIC) and NSW.
At the national level, there were declines in the majority of indicators for person to person transmission of influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI), signalling that nationally the season peaked in recent weeks or is nearing its peak. The Australian Government Department of Health continues to monitor influenza activity and a detailed analysis is available on the Department's website.
From 1 July 2018, the shigellosis surveillance case definition was changed to require notification of both confirmed and probable cases. This change in case definition is expected to result in an increase in notifications of shigellosis from 1 July 2018. Additionally, since 2014 there has been an increasing trend in national notifications of shigellosis. In the past quarter (1 July 2018 to 28 September 2018) there were 712 cases of shigellosis notified, which is 2.6 times the quarterly rolling five year mean (n=275.8).
Rates of shigellosis in Australia are higher amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared with non-Indigenous populations. In 2017, the rate of shigellosis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was 100 cases per 100,000 population, compared with 4 cases per 1000,000 in non-Indigenous populations.
Selected diseases are chosen each fortnight based on either exceeding two standard deviations from the 90 day and/or 365 day five year rolling mean or other disease issues of significance identified during the reporting period. All diseases reported are analysed by notification receive date. Data are extracted each Monday of a CDNA week.
Totals comprise data from all States and Territories. Cumulative figures are subject to retrospective revision so there may be discrepancies between the number of new notifications and the increment in the cumulative figure from the previous period.
- The past quarter (90 day) surveillance period includes the date range 01/07/2018 to 28/09/2018.
- The quarterly (90 day) five year rolling mean is the average of 5 intervals of 90 days up to 28/09/2018. The ratio is the notification activity in the past quarter (90 days) compared with the five year rolling mean for the same period.
- The past year (365 day) surveillance period includes the date range 29/09/2017 to 28/09/2018.
- The yearly (365 day) five year rolling mean is the average of 5 intervals of 365 days up to 28/09/2018. The ratio is the notification activity in the past year (365 days) compared with the five year rolling mean for the same period.
The five year rolling mean and the ratio of notifications compared with the five year rolling mean should be interpreted with caution. Changes in surveillance practice, diagnostic techniques and reporting may contribute to increases or decreases in the total notifications received over a five year period. Ratios are to be taken as a crude measure of current disease activity and may reflect changes in reporting rather than changes in disease activity.top of page
Table of communicable disease notifications reported to the NNDSS for this fortnight
- Table of communicable disease notifications reported to the NNDSS for this fortnight - PDF
- Table of communicable disease notifications reported to the NNDSS for this fortnight - Excel