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Epidemiol Infect. 2011 Dec;139(12):1902-8. doi: 10.1017/S0950268810003109. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Increased influenza-related healthcare utilization by residents of an urban aboriginal community.

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Children's Hospital Informatics Program at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (CHIP), Boston, MA, USA.


Most studies describing high rates of acute respiratory illness in aboriginals have focused on rural or remote communities. Hypothesized causes include socioeconomic deprivation, limited access to healthcare, and a high prevalence of chronic disease. To assess influenza rates in an aboriginal community while accounting for healthcare access, deprivation and chronic disease prevalence, we compared rates of influenza-related outpatient and emergency-department visits in an urban Mohawk reserve (Kahnawá:ke) to rates in neighbouring regions with comparable living conditions and then restricted the analysis to a sub-population with a low chronic disease prevalence, i.e. those aged <20 years. Using medical billing claims from 1996 to 2006 we estimated age-sex standardized rate ratios. The rate in Kahnawá:ke was 58% greater than neighbouring regions and 98% greater in the analysis of those aged <20 years. Despite relatively favourable socioeconomic conditions and healthcare access, rates of influenza-related visits in Kahnawá:ke were elevated, particularly in the younger age groups.

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