Objective: Reports about infectious disease (ID) hospitalization rates among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons have been constrained by data limited to the tribal health care system and by comparisons with the general US population. We used a merged state database to determine ID hospitalization rates in Alaska. Methods: We combined 2010 and 2011 hospital discharge data from the Indian Health Service and the Alaska State Inpatient Database. We used the merged data set to calculate average annual age-adjusted and age-specific ID hospitalization rates for AI/AN and non-AI/AN persons in Alaska. We stratified the ID hospitalization rates by sex, age, and ID diagnosis. Results: ID diagnoses accounted for 19% (6501 of 34 160) of AI/AN hospitalizations, compared with 12% (7397 of 62 059) of non-AI/AN hospitalizations. The average annual age-adjusted hospitalization rate was >3 times higher for AI/AN persons (2697 per 100 000 population) than for non-AI/AN persons (730 per 100 000 population; rate ratio = 3.7, P < .001). Lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), which occurred in 38% (2486 of 6501) of AI/AN persons, was the most common reason for ID hospitalization. AI/AN persons were significantly more likely than non-AI/AN persons to be hospitalized for LRTI (rate ratio = 5.2, P < .001). Conclusions: A substantial disparity in ID hospitalization rates exists between AI/AN and non-AI/AN persons, and the most common reason for ID hospitalization among AI/AN persons was LRTI. Public health programs and policies that address the risk factors for LRTI are likely to benefit AI/AN persons.
- Indian health service
- Minority health
- Native american
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health