The disease pyramid of under-ascertainment for surveillance of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) in New Zealand has been estimated using 2005–2007 data on notifiable diseases, a community telephone survey, and a survey of diagnostic laboratories. For each notified case of AGI there were an estimated 222 cases in the community, about 49 of which visited a general practitioner. Faecal samples were requested from about 15 of these cases, and 13 samples were provided. Of the faecal samples, pathogens were detected in about three cases. These ratios are similar to those reported in other developed countries, and provide baseline measurements of the AGI burden in the New Zealand community.
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