Parasitic diseases of remote Indigenous communities in Australia

Deborah Holt, James McCarthy, Jonathan Carapetis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Indigenous Australians suffer significant disadvantage in health outcomes and have a life expectancy well below that of non-Indigenous Australians. Mortality rates of Indigenous Australians are higher than that of Indigenous populations in developed countries elsewhere in the world. A number of parasitic diseases which are uncommon in the rest of the Australian population contribute to the high burden of disease in many remote Indigenous communities. High rates of infection with enteric parasites such as Strongyloides stercoralis, hookworm and Trichuris have been recorded and infection of the skin with the ectoparasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei is also a substantial problem. Secondary infection of scabies lesions, including with Staphylococcus aureus and group A Streptococcus, can produce serious sequelae such as rheumatic fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Transmission of many parasites in many remote communities is facilitated by overcrowded living conditions and infrastructure problems which result in poor sanitation and hygiene. Improvements in environmental health conditions must accompany medical initiatives to achieve sustainable improvement in the health of Indigenous Australians.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1119-1126
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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