17th May 2012
Acute lower respiratory infections are a significant health problem in the Northern Territory representing the largest cause of preventable mortality in infants and the most common reason for hospitalisation in children less than 4 years of age. Despite routine infant vaccinations and advances in antibiotic treatment, 20% of Indigenous infants will be hospitalised with an ALRI before they reach 12 months of age.
Maternal immunisations and the maintenance of infant vitamin D levels are immune enhancing strategies with can protect against respiratory pathogens. During my PhD, I will explore whether pregnancy delivered pneumococcal vaccination (Pneumum study) protects against infant ALRI hospitalisation and whether vitamin D insufficiency is (a) prevalent in this population and (b) a risk factor for ALRI hospitalisation. Routine maternal vaccinations and vitamin D supplementation may combine to reduce the burden of ALRI in this population