Frequency of infectious gastrointestinal illness in Australia, 2002: Regional, seasonal and demographic variation

Gillian V. Hall, M. D. Kirk, R. Ashbolt, R. Stafford, K. Lalor, Robert Bell, Barry Combs, Scott Crerar, Craíg B. Dalton, Karen Dempsey, Rod Givney, Joy Gregory, Brigid Hardy, Geoff Hogg, Janet Li, Tony Merritt, Ian McKay, Geoff Millard, Lillian Mwanri, Jennie MustoLeonie Neville, Jane Raupach, Paul Roche, Mohinder Sarna, Craig Shadbolt, Nola Tomaska, Leanne Unicomb, Kefle Yohannes, Craig Williams, Jenny Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


To estimate the frequency of infectious gastroenteritis across Australia, and to identify risk factors, we conducted a national telephone survey of 6087 randomly selected respondents in 2001-2002. The case definition was three or more loose stools and/or two or more vomits in a 24-hour period in the last 4 weeks, with adjustment to exclude non-infectious causes and symptoms secondary to a respiratory infection. Frequency data were weighted to the Australian population. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess potential risk factors including season, region, demographic and socioeconomic status. Among contacted individuals, 67% responded. The case definition applied to 7% of respondents (450/6087) which extrapolates to 17.2 million (95% CI 14.5-19.9 million) cases of gastroenteritis in Australia in one year, or 0.92 (95% CI 0.77-1.06) cases/ person per year. In the multivariate model, the odds of having gastroenteritis were increased in summer and in the warmest state, in young children, females, those with higher socioeconomic status and those without health insurance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


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