Argument for Inclusion of Strongyloidiasis in the Australian National Notifiable Disease List
journal contributionposted on 23.07.2021, 02:47 by Meruyert Beknazarova, Harriet Whiley, Jenni Judd, Jennifer ShieldJennifer Shield, Wendy Page, Adrian Miller, Maxine Whittaker, Kirstin Ross
Strongyloidiasis is an infection caused by the helminth, Strongyloides stercoralis. Up to 370 million people are infected with the parasite globally, and it has remained endemic in the Indigenous Australian population for many decades. Strongyloidiasis has been also reported in other Australian populations. Ignorance of this disease has caused unnecessary costs to the government health system, and been detrimental to the Australian people’s health. This manuscript addresses the 12 criteria required for a disease to be included in the Australian National Notifiable Disease List (NNDL) under the National Health Security Act 2007 (Commonwealth). There are six main arguments that provide compelling justification for strongyloidiasis to be made nationally notifiable and added to the Australian NNDL. These are: The disease is important to Indigenous health, and closing the health inequity gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is a priority; a public health response is required to detect cases of strongyloidiasis and to establish the true incidence and prevalence of the disease; there is no alternative national surveillance system to gather data on the disease; there are preventive measures with high efficacy and low side effects; data collection is feasible as cases are definable by microscopy, PCR, or serological diagnostics; and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) # 6 on clean water and sanitation.