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Household crowding a major risk factor for epidemic meningococcal disease in Auckland children.

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The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 19(10), 983-990

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This paper investigates the relationship between household crowding and the risk of epidemic meningococcal disease in children in Auckland as the highest incidence of meningococcal disease in the country is in Māori and Pacific Island children in the Auckland region.

The researchers conducted a comprehensive analysis and found that household crowding is a significant risk factor for this serious infectious disease among children in the region. A case-control study of 202 cases of confirmed and probable meningococcal disease in Auckland children younger than 8 years of age recruited from May, 1997, to March, 1999, was undertaken. With the use of a multivariate model and controlling for age, ethnicity, season and socioeconomic factors, risk of disease was strongly associated with overcrowding as measured by the number of adolescent and adult (10 years or older) household members per room [odds ratio (OR), 10.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.9 to 29.5]. The study’s findings are critical in understanding the epidemiology of meningococcal disease and emphasise the importance of addressing overcrowding as a public health issue. It highlights the need for policies aimed at reducing household crowding to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

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