Community based study to compare the incidence and health services utilization pyramid for gastrointestinal, respiratory and dermal symptoms

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Abstract

Background: Gastrointestinal (GI), respiratory and dermal symptoms are common and cause substantial morbidity, although the information on their exact incidence and comparative burden is limited. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology and rate these three major symptom complexes in order to improve our understanding of the health burden imposed by these symptoms. Methods: We used data from a community based randomised control trial conducted from June 2007 to August 2008 among 277 South Australian families consuming rainwater. Using weekly health diaries, we prospectively collected information on GI (diarrhoea or vomiting), respiratory (sore throat, runny nose or cough) and dermal (rash, generalised itch or dermal infection) symptoms, as well as on relevant GP visits, time off work and/or hospitalisation due to these symptoms. Data were analysed using generalized estimating equations approach taking into account the variable number of weeks of follow-up of each individual and within-family clustering of responses. Results: Over one year, at least one episode of GI symptoms was reported by 54 of participants (95 CI 50 -58 ), at least one respiratory episode by 91 (95 CI 88 -93 ) and at least one episode of dermal symptoms by 27 (95 CI 24 -30 ). The average number of weeks per year during which respiratory symptoms occurred was four times greater than for GI or dermal symptoms (4.9, 1.2 and 1.2 weeks, respectively, p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 7
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Volume12
Issue numberArt. ID: 211
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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