The epidemiology of giardiasis in New Zealand, 1997-2006

Snel, Saskia J., Baker, Michael G. and Venugopal, Kamalesh 2009, The epidemiology of giardiasis in New Zealand, 1997-2006, New Zealand medical journal, vol. 122, no. 1290, pp. 62-75.

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Title The epidemiology of giardiasis in New Zealand, 1997-2006
Author(s) Snel, Saskia J.
Baker, Michael G.
Venugopal, Kamalesh
Journal name New Zealand medical journal
Volume number 122
Issue number 1290
Start page 62
End page 75
Total pages 14
Publisher New Zealand Medical Association
Place of publication Christchurch, N. Z.
Publication date 2009-02-27
ISSN 0028-8446
Keyword(s) environmental exposure
geographic distribution
infection rate
infection risk
Summary Aims New Zealand has a higher incidence rate of giardiasis than other developed countries. This study aimed to describe the epidemiology of this disease in detail and to identify potential risk factors.

Methods We analysed anonymous giardiasis notification (1997–2006) and hospitalisation data (1990–2006). Cases were designated as urban or rural and assigned a deprivation level based on their home address. Association between disease rates and animal density was studied using a simple linear regression model, at the territorial authority (TA) level.

Results Over the 10-year period 1997–2006 the average annual rate of notified giardiasis was 44.1 cases per 100,000 population. The number of hospitalisations was equivalent to 1.7% of the notified cases. There were 2 reported fatalities. The annual incidence of notified cases declined over this period whereas hospitalisations remained fairly constant. Giardiasis showed little seasonality. The highest rates were among children 0–9 years old, those 30–39 years old, Europeans, and those living in low deprivation areas. Notification rates were slightly higher in rural areas. The correlation between giardiasis and farm animal density was not significant at the TA level.

Conclusions The public health importance of giardiasis to New Zealand mainly comes from its relatively high rates in this country. The distribution of cases is consistent with largely anthroponotic (human) reservoirs, with a relatively small contribution from zoonotic sources in rural environments and a modest contribution from overseas travel. Prevention efforts could include continuing efforts to improve hand washing, nappy handling, and other hygiene measures and travel health advice relating to enteric infections.
Language eng
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©NZMA
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