Results: Data on 9295 infants, 8498 child-years of observation and 15 948 hospitalised episodes of care were analysed. ALRI incidence was 426.7 episodes per 1000 child-years (95% CI, 416.2–437.2). Incidence rates were two times higher (relative risk, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.98–2.27) for infants in Central Australia compared with those in the Top End. The median age at first admission for an ALRI was 4.6 months (interquartile range, 2.6–7.3). Bronchiolitis accounted for most of the disease burden, with a rate of 227 per 1000 child-years. The incidence of first diagnosis of bronchiectasis was 1.18 per 1000 child-years (95% CI, 0.60–2.16). One or more key comorbidities were present in 1445 of the 3227 (44.8%) episodes of care for ALRI.
Conclusions: Rates of ALRI and bronchiectasis in NT Indigenous infants are excessive, with early onset, frequent repeat episodes, and a high prevalence of comorbidities. These high rates of disease demand urgent attention.
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