Australia’s active hospital-based surveillance for severe childhood disease


Principal investigator 

Associate Professor Helen Marshall 

Although meningococcal is an uncommon infection, the consequences of this disease can be death in 5-10% of cases and long-term disability in up to 40% of children. Until 2013, rates of meningococcal disease were decreasing, but since then rates have increased, with around 250 individuals affected annually, the majority of whom are children and adolescents. The increase has been due to a hypervirulent W strain in addition to the B strain and emergence of disease due to the Y strain.

Surveillance through PAEDS began in 2016 and provides the opportunity to collect detailed clinical data in a timely manner to inform meningococcal immunisation strategies and measure vaccine effectiveness. As a national MenACWY program for infants has recently been introduced in Australia and for adolescents commencing in April 2019, PAEDS offers the opportunity to assist in monitoring the impact of these programs, particularly in relation to the impact on disease severity.