Background People living and working in agricultural regions experience higher than average rates of injury. The purpose of this epidemiological study was to examine the incidence and patterns of injury, as well as trends over time, in an agricultural region within SouthWest Queensland, Australia, in order to inform targeted injury prevention strategies. The primary land use is agricultural (sheep and cattle farming).
Methods Data on all patients resident in the study region within SouthWest Queensland who were hospitalised for treatment of an injury (defined as ICD9 codes 800–999, or S00-T98) between 1st January 1995 and 31st December 2011 (17 years), were extracted. ICD codes (including external cause code), age, gender, and length of stay were obtained. Estimated Resident Population data for each year of the study were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Cause-specific, age-standardised rates were calculated, as well as age-, gender- and cause-specific rates. Descriptive analyses were completed using SPSS; trends over time were analysed using STATA.
Results There were 60466 hospital admissions during the 17 year data collection period; 7740 of these were injuries (12.8% of all hospital admissions; 557 per 10000 per annum). Injury hospitalisation rates increased over the study period (432.7578 to 539.5637 per 10000). Hospitalisation due to injury among males decreased over time (645 to 546 per 10 000 pa), but increased among females (238 to 445 per 10000 pa). Decreases in injury hospitalisation rates were seen in children (0–4 yr olds, and 5–9 yr olds), and adults (45–74 yrs), but rates increased in adolescents (10–14 yrs), young adults (20–44 yrs), and older adults (75 + yrs). Falls and poisoning were the leading causes of injury hospitalisation in young children (28% and 21% respectively). Falls and injuries due to transport incidents were the leading causes of injury for 5–9 yr olds (32% and 24%). Transport incidents were the leading cause of injury for all other age groups (10–14 yrs: 35%, 15–19 yrs: 42%, 20–24 yrs: 32%, 25–64 yrs: 28%,) except older adults, where falls were the leading cause of injury hospitalisation (65–74 yrs: 40%; 75 + yrs: 62%).
Conclusion Injury Hospitalisation rates in this agricultural region of QLD are almost double the Australian average. Trends over time in relation to specific injury mechanisms by age group and gender will be presented at the conference. While there is some evidence of injury reduction in this agricultural region during the 17 yr study period, injury prevention strategies specifically targeted toward recreational and work activities in agricultural regions are required to make further reductions. Adolescents, young adults and older adults warrant careful attention.