Shirley (Yunjing) Qiu graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) First Class in 2019. Today she presented her work at the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, Annual Scientific Meeting. Her project explored the communicable disease-related presentations and their impact on the emergency department pre, during and after the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.


Background: Mass gathering events (MGEs) are commonly associated with a higher than average rate of morbidity due to communicable diseases. During MGEs, emergency departments (EDs) play an important role in offering healthcare services to both residents of the local community and MGE attendees.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to identify the impact of a MGE on ED patient presentations with communicable diseases and underpinning syndromic indicators (SIs).

Method: This retrospective observational cohort study was undertaken in one large public teaching hospital ED in Queensland, Australia. Secondary data was used for analysing ED presentations made with communicable diseases and to compare patient demographics, clinical characteristics and outcomes before (23rd March- 3rd April), during (4th April – 15th April) and after (16th April – 27th April) the MGE.

Results: Over the study period, there were 10,595 patient presentations to the public hospital ED; 14.2% (n = 1,503) were diagnosed with a communicable disease with the median age was eight years. The most common communicable diseases were respiratory (51.5%). There was a statistical significance in ED length of stay (LOS) over time (pre: 160 minutes; during: 163 minutes; post: 180 minutes, p<0.001).

Conclusion: The relatively young age of ED presentations with communicable diseases highlights the potential need of additional paediatric services. The longer ED LOS indicate the necessity of continuing with upscaled services, even after the MGE has finished. Future research recommendations include the examination of data from other EDs in the area and longitudinal patient follow-up to understand potential spread of disease.


Qiu, Y, Crilly, J., Zimmerman, PA., Ranse, J. (2019) A retrospective cohort study evaluating the impact of a mass gathering (the 2018 Commonwealth Games) on emergency department presentations with communicable diseases. Paper presented at the 36th ACEM Annual Scientific Meeting, Hobart, 18th November.