Increasing burden on healthcare from non-notifiable conditions

Research presented on Friday at the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) meeting in Adelaide has revealed that the burden of infectious disease mortality in Australia is shifting away from acute epidemics of notifiable childhood infections like measles and pertussis, to the infective complications of other chronic illnesses, such as diarrhoeal illness.

Dr Benjamin Cowie, from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, said non-notifiable conditions, such as diarrhoea in older people who often have multiple comorbidities, were placing an increasing burden on the healthcare system.

He also said that while death rates for many notifiable communicable diseases had declined between 1999 and 2010 per 100,000 people, deaths due to lower respiratory infections, diarrhoeal disease and chronic viral hepatitis, were on the rise.

“Although we must obviously continue to respond to outbreaks and prevent transmission of acute