(HealthDay News) – Hospital admissions for infectious disease have risen over the last two decades in New Zealand, with infectious disease now being the biggest contributor to hospital admissions of any cause, particularly among the native population and the socioeconomically disadvantaged, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in The Lancet.
Michael G. Baker, MB,ChB, from the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, and colleagues examined hospital admissions for infectious and non-infectious disease in New Zealand between 1989 and 2008.
The researchers found that infectious disease was the biggest contributor to hospital admissions, increasing from 20.5% of admissions between 1989 and 1993 to 26.6% between 2004 and 2008. Indigenous New Zealanders (Maori), Pacific Islanders, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged were more likely to be hospitalized for infectious disease, with age-standardized rate ratios of 2.15, 2.35, and 2.81, respectively, between 2004 and 2008.
“These findings support the need for stronger prevention efforts for infectious diseases, and reinforce the need to reduce ethnic and social inequalities and to address disparities in broad social determinants such as income levels, housing conditions, and access to health services,” Baker and colleagues conclude.