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New and old hotspots for rickettsial spotted fever acquired in Tasmania, 2012-2017




Willis, Gabriela
Lodo, Kerryn
McGregor, Alistair
Howes, Faline
Williams, Stephanie
Veitch, Mark

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Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia


OBJECTIVE: To describe the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of Tasmania‐acquired rickettsial disease notified to the Department of Health in Tasmania from 2012 to 2017 inclusive. METHODS: Data on rickettsiosis cases acquired and notified in Tasmania between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2017 were analysed descriptively. RESULTS: Eighteen cases of rickettsial infection notified in Tasmania 2012–17 and likely acquired in the state met one of three case definitions: 12 confirmed (67%), four probable (22%), and two possible (11%). The mean number of cases per year was 3.0 (population rate 0.6 per 100,000 population/year); 60% of cases occurred in November and December. Cases were more commonly older males. Fever, lethargy, and rash were commonly reported symptoms. Thirteen cases were likely acquired on Flinders Island, three around Great Oyster Bay and two in the Midlands. CONCLUSIONS: This study extends our knowledge of the epidemiology of rickettsial disease in Tasmania. This is the first account including confirmed cases acquired in the Midlands of Tasmania. IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH: Increased knowledge and awareness of epidemiology of rickettsial infection in Tasmania is essential for timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment. These findings bear wider relevance outside Tasmania because visitors may also be at risk.



Rickettsia, infectious diseases, epidemiology, surveillance, Flinders Island spotted fever



Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health


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Open Access

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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.



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