Introduction Gastroenteritis presents a considerable burden on communities and health systems. In addition to the immediate health consequences long-term adverse sequelae have been associated with gastroenteritis; however, the risk and type of sequelae attributable to previous exposure to enteric infections have not been quantified. The objective of this study was to quantify the risk and type of sequelae attributable to previous exposure to enteric infections occurring in childhood and adolescence.
Methods This was a population-based retrospective cohort study comprising all individuals born in Western Australia between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 2000 using linked administrative records from the Western Australian notifiable infectious diseases database, the Western Australian hospital morbidity data system and Western Australian death notifications. The risk of first-time hospitalisation for sequelae for those exposed to an enteric infection was modelled using Cox proportional regression analysis controlling for other health and socio-demographic factors.
Results After adjusting for confounding there was a significant increase in the rate of first-time hospitalisation for sequelae in those exposed to enteric infections by 64% for any sequelae; 52% for intra-gastrointestinal sequelae and 63% for extra-gastrointestinal sequelae compared with non-exposed individuals. This equated to an increased attributable risk of 39% for all sequelae, 34% for intra-gastrointestinal and 39% for extra-gastrointestinal sequelae.
Conclusion Infective gastroenteritis in childhood or adolescence increases the risk of first-time hospitalisation for intra-gastrointestinal and extra-gastrointestinal disease over the following 2 decades. This highlights the importance of developing appropriate risk management strategies for those exposed to enteric infections.
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