1613. The Epidemiology of Fungal Keratitis in Queensland, Australia
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Mycology - There's a Fungus Among Us: Epidemiology
Friday, October 28, 2016
Room: Poster Hall
  • IDWeek Poster 2.pdf (256.2 kB)
  • Background: Fungal keratitis is uncommon, and geographical factors may influence its epidemiology. Queensland is a large state in Australia with a population of 4.7 million people, 46% of whom live in rural/regional areas. Healthcare in the public sector is provided by 14 Hospital and Health Services (HHS), 11 of which are rural/regional and 3 metropolitan (Figure 1). A statewide Pathology database (AUSLAB) has been maintained since 1996. We aimed to describe the epidemiology of fungal keratitis in Queensland.

    Methods: A search of the AUSLAB database for fungal isolates from corneal specimens for the period 1996-January 2016 was undertaken. Patient demographic data was collected, and cases were analysed by place of residence (metropolitan vs. rural/regional) and climatic zone (tropical vs. non-tropical). Tropical Queensland was defined as the area north of the Tropic of Capricorn, comprising 5 HHS (Cairns and Hinterland, Torres and Cape, Townsville, North West and Mackay). Metropolitan Queensland was defined as the Metro North, Metro South, and Gold Coast HHS.

    Results: A total of 231 patients were identified, of which 209 were Queensland residents. Males outnumbered females 3:1, although in metropolitan Queensland the ratio was close to 1:1. The modal age range was 25-50 years irrespective of place of residence or climatic zone, accounting for 40% of cases overall. Fusarium (30% of unique isolates) and Curvularia (11%) were the top two causative species regardless of place of residence or climatic zone (Figure 2). Polymicrobial keratitis was commoner in rural/regional areas (164 isolates from 107 patients).

    Conclusion: Fusarium is the commonest cause of fungal keratitis in Queensland, regardless of rurality or climatic zone. Younger males are most commonly affected, especially in rural/regional areas. This may reflect higher occupational exposure, as does polymicrobial aetiology. As all ocular fungal isolates, whether from public or private sector patients, are worked up by the reference laboratory and reported on AUSLAB, our data provide an accurate representation of the epidemiology of fungal keratitis in Queensland, although we recognise that not all specimens collected were culture-positive and some patients may have been treated empirically.


    Rusheng Chew, BMedSci MBBChir DTM&H DRCOG DHMSA FRACP1,2 and Marion L. Woods II, MD MPH FRACP FACP FAFPHM1,2, (1)Department of Infectious Diseases, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Australia, (2)Mayne Medical School, University of Queensland, Herston, Australia


    R. Chew, None

    M. L. Woods II, None

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