Rheumatic chorea in northern Australia: a clinical and epidemiological study.
To describe the epidemiology and clinical features of Sydenham's chorea in the Aboriginal population of northern Australia a review was conducted of 158 episodes in 108 people: 106 were Aborigines, 79 were female, and the mean age was 10.9 years at first episode. Chorea occurred in 28% of cases of acute rheumatic fever, carditis occurred in 25% of episodes of chorea, and arthritis in 8%. Patients with carditis or arthritis tended to have raised acute phase reactants and streptococcal serology. Two episodes lasted at least 30 months. Mean time to first recurrence of chorea was 2.1 years compared with 1.2 years to second recurrence. Established rheumatic heart disease developed in 58% of cases and was more likely in those presenting with acute carditis, although most people who developed rheumatic heart disease did not have evidence of acute carditis with chorea. Differences in the patterns of chorea and other manifestations of acute rheumatic fever in different populations may hold clues to its pathogenesis. Long term adherence to secondary prophylaxis is crucial following all episodes of acute rheumatic fever, including chorea, to prevent recurrence. (+info)
Clinical and epidemiological features of group A streptococcal bacteraemia in a region with hyperendemic superficial streptococcal infection.
Reports of increasing incidence and severity of invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) infections come mainly from affluent populations where exposure to GAS is relatively infrequent. We conducted a 6-year retrospective review of GAS bacteraemia in the Northern Territory of Australia, comparing the Aboriginal population (24% of the study population), who have high rates of other streptococcal infections and sequelae, to the non-Aboriginal population. Of 72 episodes, 44 (61%) were in Aboriginal patients. All 12 cases in children were Aboriginal. Risk factors were implicated in 82% of episodes (91% in adults) and there was no significant difference in the proportion of Aboriginal compared to non-Aboriginal patients with at least one risk factor. Genetic typing of isolates revealed no dominant strains and no evidence of a clone which has been a common cause of these infections elsewhere. (+info)
Proteinuria is associated with persistence of antibody to streptococcal M protein in Aboriginal Australians.
Aboriginal communities in Northern Australia with high rates of group A streptococcal (GAS) skin infection in childhood also have high rates of renal failure in adult life. In a cross-sectional study of one such high risk community, albuminuria was used as a marker of renal disease. The prevalence of albuminuria increased from 0/52 in subjects aged 10-19 years to 10/29 (32.9%) in those aged 50 or more (P < 0.001). Antibodies to streptococcal M protein, markers of past GAS infection, were present in 48/52 (92%) at ages 10-19 years, 16/32 (50%) at ages 30-39, and 20/29 (69%) in those aged 50 or more. After allowing for the age-dependencies of albuminuria and of M protein antibodies (P < 0.001) albuminuria was significantly associated with M protein antibodies (P < 0.01). Thus, 72% of adults aged 30 or more with M protein antibodies also had albuminuria, compared with only 21% of those who were seronegative. More detailed modelling suggested that although most Aboriginal people in this community developed M protein antibodies following GAS infection in childhood, the development of proteinuria was associated with the persistence of such seropositivity into adult life. The models predicted that proteinuria developed at a mean age of 30 years in seropositive persons, at 45 years in seronegative persons who were overweight, and at 62 years in seronegative persons of normal weight. We demonstrated a clear association between evidence of childhood GAS infection and individual risk of proteinuria in adult life. This study provided a strong rationale for prevention of renal disease through the more effective control of GAS skin infections in childhood and through the prevention of obesity in adult life. (+info)
A new dimension to the Barker hypothesis: low birthweight and susceptibility to renal disease.
BACKGROUND: There is an epidemic of renal failure among Aborigines in the Australia's Northern Territory. The incidence is more than 1000 per million, and is doubling every three to four years. We evaluated the relationship of birthweight to renal disease in adults in one high-risk community. METHODS: We screened more than 80% of people in the community for renal disease, using the urine albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR, g/mol) as the marker, and reviewed records for birthweights. RESULTS: Birthweights were available with increasing frequency for people born after 1956. In 317 adults aged 20 to 38 years at screening, the mean birthweight (SD) was 2.712+/-0.4 kg, and 35% had been low birthweight (LBW, less than 2.5 kg). Birthweight was positively correlated with body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and diabetes rates, but was inversely correlated with ACR. The odds ratio for overt albuminuria in LBW persons compared with those of higher birthweights was 2.82 (CI, 1.26 to 6.31) after adjusting for other factors, and LBW contributed to an estimated 27% (CI, 3 to 45%) of the population-based prevalence of overt albuminuria. Multivariate models suggest that increasing BMI and blood pressure and decreasing birthweight act in concert to amplify the increases in ACR that accompany increasing age. CONCLUSIONS: LBW contributes to renal disease in this high-risk population. The association might be mediated through impaired nephrogenesis caused by intrauterine malnutrition. The renal disease epidemic in Aborigines may partly be the legacy of greatly improved survival of LBW babies over the last four decades. Disease rates should eventually plateau as birthweights continue to improve, if postnatal risk factors can also be contained. (+info)
Middle ear effusion: rate and risk factors in Australian children attending day care.
There have been no previous longitudinal studies of otitis media conducted in non-Aboriginal Australian children. This paper describes the rate and risk factors for middle ear effusion (MEE) in children attending day care in Darwin, Australia. A prospective cohort study of 252 children under 4 years was conducted in 9 day care centres over 12 fortnights between 24 March and 15 September 1997. Tympanometry was conducted fortnightly and multivariate analysis used to determine risk factors predicting MEE. The outcome of interest was the rate of type B tympanograms per child detected in either ear at fortnightly examinations. After adjusting for clustering by child, MEE was detected on average 4.4 times in 12 fortnights (37% of all examinations conducted). Risk factors associated with presence of effusion were younger age, a family history of ear infection, previous grommets (tympanostomy tubes), ethnicity and the day care centre attended. A history of wheeze appeared protective. These effects were modest (RR 0.57-1.70). Middle ear effusion is very common in children attending day care in Darwin. This has clinical importance, since MEE during early childhood may affect optimal hearing, learning and speech development. There is little scope for modification for many of the risk factors for MEE predicted by this model. Further study of the day care environment is warranted. (+info)
Intestinal permeability and diarrhoeal disease in Aboriginal Australians.
BACKGROUND: Northern Territory Aboriginal children hospitalised with acute gastroenteritis have high rates of acidosis, hypokalaemia, and dehydration. AIMS: To determine whether Aboriginal children with and without diarrhoea have greater impairment in intestinal function than non-Aboriginal children, as assessed by increased permeability ratios. METHODS: A descriptive study of 124 children (96 Aboriginal and 28 non-Aboriginal) hospitalised with and without diarrhoea. Intestinal permeability was assessed by the lactulose to rhamnose (L-R) ratio from a five hour urine collection. RESULTS: In Aboriginal children, mean L-R ratios (95% confidence intervals) were 18.3 (17.1 to 19.6) with diarrhoea and 9.0 (7.3 to 11.0) without diarrhoea, and in non-Aboriginal children they were 5.9 (2.8 to 12. 3) and 4.2 (3.3 to 5.2), respectively. In patients with diarrhoea, L-R ratios were significantly raised when accompanied by acidosis (mean, 22.8; 95% CI, 17.0 to 30.5), hypokalaemia (mean, 20.7; 95% CI, 15.4 to 27.9), and >/= 5% dehydration (mean, 24.3; 95% CI, 19.0 to 29.6) compared with none of these complications (mean, 7.0; 95% CI, 3.5 to 13.8). CONCLUSION: The high incidence of acidosis, hypokalaemia, and dehydration in Aboriginal children admitted with diarrhoeal disease is related to underlying small intestinal mucosal damage. (+info)
Genetically distinct dog-derived and human-derived Sarcoptes scabiei in scabies-endemic communities in northern Australia.
Overcrowding is a significant factor contributing to endemic infection with Sarcoptes scabiei in human and animal populations. However, since scabies mites from different host species are indistinguishable morphologically, it is unclear whether people can be infected from scabies-infested animals. Molecular fingerprinting was done using three S. scabiei-specific single locus hypervariable microsatellite markers, with a combined total of 70 known alleles. Multilocus analysis of 712 scabies mites from human and dog hosts in Ohio, Panama and Aboriginal communities in northern Australia now shows that genotypes of dog-derived and human-derived scabies cluster by host species rather than by geographic location. Because of the apparent genetic separation between human scabies and dog scabies, control programs for human scabies in endemic areas do not require resources directed against zoonotic infection from dogs. (+info)
Distribution and antigenicity of fibronectin binding proteins (SfbI and SfbII) of Streptococcus pyogenes clinical isolates from the northern territory, Australia.
Fibronectin binding proteins play an important role in the adherence and invasion of group A streptococci (GAS). Genotypically distinct GAS isolates were screened for the presence and expression of two streptococcal fibronectin binding protein genes, sfbI and sfbII. Of the tested strains, 64 and 36% were shown to harbor and express the sfbI and sfbII genes, respectively. All sfbII-positive strains tested were also positive for sfbI, but only 28% of the sfbII-negative strains were positive for sfbI. High levels of immunoglobulin G antibodies to both SfbI and SfbII were found in sera from 80 subjects with defined streptococcal infections. (+info)