In the tropical north of Australia there are high rates of infections in Aboriginal children living in remote communities. In addition to the burden of respiratory infections, diarrhoeal disease and skin sepsis, there are high rates of acute rheumatic fever, outbreaks of poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis and gonococcal conjunctivitis, endemic trachoma and various intestinal parasites. A number of infections generally restricted to the tropics are also present and can cause disease in both indigenous and non-indigenous children. These include melioidosis, Murray Valley encephalitis and dengue on the east coast. With global warming, these infections may become more common and more widespread within Australia and the potential for establishment of introduced infections such as Japanese encephalitis and malaria may increase.