NT Health Research and Publications Online

Welcome to NT Health Research and Publications Online, an open access digital repository that showcases the research projects and output of researchers working for the Northern Territory Department of Health (NT Health), while also collecting and preserving publications and multimedia produced in an official capacity, that represent the department. This service is maintained by NT Health Library Services
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  • Publication
    Journal Article
    High level of genomic divergence in orf-I p12 and hbz genes of HTLV-1 subtype-C in Central Australia.
    (2024-07-17)
    Hirons, Ashley
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    Yurick, David
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    Jansz, Natasha
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    Ellenberg, Paula
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    Franchini, Genoveffa
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    Khoury, Georges
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    Purcell, Damian F J
    Human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection remains a largely neglected public health problem, particularly in resource-poor areas with high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, such as some remote populations in Central Australia where an estimated 37% of adults are infected with HTLV-1. Most of our understanding of HTLV-1 infection comes from studies of the globally spread subtype-A (HTLV-1a), with few molecular studies reported with the Austral-Melanesian subtype-C (HTLV-1c) predominant in the Indo-Pacific and Oceania regions.Using a primer walking strategy and direct sequencing, we constructed HTLV-1c genomic consensus sequences from 22 First Nations participants living with HTLV-1c in Central Australia. Phylogenetic and pairwise analysis of this subtype-C proviral gDNA showed higher levels of genomic divergence in comparison to previously published HTLV-1a genomes. While the overall genomic homology between subtypes was 92.5%, the lowest nucleotide and amino acid sequence identity occurred near the 3' end of the proviral genome coding regulatory genes, especially overlapping hbz (85.37%, 77.46%, respectively) and orf-I product p12 (82.00%, 70.30%, respectively). Strikingly, the HTLV-1c genomic consensus sequences uniformly showed a defective translation start codon for the immune regulatory proteins p12/p8 encoded by the HTLV-1A orf-I. Deletions in the proviral genome were detected in many subjects, particularly in the structural gag, pol and env genes. Similarly, using a droplet digital PCR assay measuring the copies of gag and tax per reference host genome, we quantitatively confirmed that provirus retains the tax gene region at higher levels than gag.Our genomic analysis of HTLV-1c in Central Australia in conjunction with earlier Melanesian HTLV-1c sequences, elucidate substantial differences with respect to the globally spread HTLV-1a. Future studies should address the impact these genomic differences have on infection and the regionally distinctive frequency of associated pulmonary disease. Understanding the host and virus subtype factors which contribute to the differential morbidity observed, is crucial for the development of much needed therapeutics and vaccine strategies against this highly endemic infection in remote First Nations communities in Central Australia.
  • Person
  • Publication
    Journal Article
  • Publication
    Journal Article
    Costs and healthcare use of patients with chronic kidney disease in the Northern Territory, Australia.
    (2024-07-09)
    Chen, Winnie
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    Howard, Kirsten
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    Gorham, Gillian
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    ; ;
    Adegboye, Oyelola
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    Talukder, Mohammad Radwanur Rahman
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    Cass, Alan
    The burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is high in the Northern Territory (NT), Australia. This study aims to describe the healthcare use and associated costs of people at risk of CKD (e.g. acute kidney injury, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease) or living with CKD in the NT, from a healthcare funder perspective.We included a retrospective cohort of patients at risk of, or living with CKD, on 1 January 2017. Patients on kidney replacement therapy were excluded from the study. Data from the Territory Kidney Care database, encompassing patients from public hospitals and primary health care services across the NT was used to conduct costing. Annual healthcare costs, including hospital, primary health care, medication, and investigation costs were described over a one-year follow-up period. Factors associated with high total annual healthcare costs were identified with a cost prediction model.Among 37,398 patients included in this study, 23,419 had a risk factor for CKD while 13,979 had CKD (stages 1 to 5, not on kidney replacement therapy). The overall mean (± SD) age was 45 years (± 17), and a large proportion of the study cohort were First Nations people (68%). Common comorbidities in the overall cohort included diabetes (36%), hypertension (32%), and coronary artery disease (11%). Annual healthcare cost was lowest in those at risk of CKD (AUD$7,958 per person) and highest in those with CKD stage 5 (AUD$67,117 per person). Inpatient care contributed to the majority (76%) of all healthcare costs. Predictors of increased total annual healthcare cost included more advanced stages of CKD, and the presence of comorbidities. In CKD stage 5, the additional cost per person per year was + $53,634 (95%CI 32,769 to 89,482, p < 0.001) compared to people in the at risk group without CKD.The total healthcare costs in advanced stages of CKD is high, even when patients are not on dialysis. There remains a need for effective primary prevention and early intervention strategies targeting CKD and related chronic conditions.
  • Publication
    Journal Article
    Tele-otology for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Living in Rural and Remote Areas.
    (2024-07-10)
    Habib, Al-Rahim
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    Sacks, Raymond
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    Singh, Narinder
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    To evaluate a referral-based, tele-otology service in rural and remote areas of the Northern Territory, Australia.A retrospective observational cohort study was performed of a tele-otology service in 93 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (2011 to 2019). Assessments included face-to-face examinations performed by Clinical Nurse Consultants and audiologists, and asynchronous reviews performed by otolaryngologists. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to determine the likelihood of ear disease, adjusted for age and gender. Intra- and inter-rater agreement was assessed between otolaryngologists.A total of 3,950 patients were reviewed (6,838 encounters, 13,726 ear assessments). The median age of patients was 9.8 years (interquartile range: 7.2 years). Overall, 62.2% of patients were identified with ear disease and 62.5% identified with hearing loss. Substantial intra- and inter-rater agreement in diagnosis was found between otolaryngologists (κ = 0.71 and κ = 0.78, respectively). The most common ear conditions identified were chronic otitis media (COM, 28.1%) and otitis media with effusion (OME, 16.5%). Topical or oral antibiotics were initiated in 14.1% of all encounters, most often for acute otitis media or COM. Surgery was recommended in 27.7% of all encounters, most often myringoplasty, adenoidectomy, and myringotomy with insertion of tympanostomy tubes.Tele-otology is a critical component of an integrated approach to evaluating ear disease in Indigenous people living in rural and remote areas. The high prevalence of OME, COM, and surgical recommendations highlights the need for community engagement, regular follow-up, and early interventions to prevent long-term hearing loss.N/A Laryngoscope, 2024.
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