News

Measles alert for parts of Sydney, Wollongong

Despite measles being officially eradicated in Australia in 2014, the epidemics overseas have led to travellers bringing the highly-infectious disease back home.
With its high rates of vaccination, Australia relies on herd immunity to stop the disease from spreading.
Until now, the focus has been on making sure babies and infants are immunised, but there are other age groups in Australia who could be slipping through the cracks, Raina MacIntyre, a professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the University of NSW told nine.com.au.

Anti-vaxxers’ claims fuel Samoa measles epidemic, with 65 deaths before Christmas

Public health experts warn the outbreak is a cautionary tale for any nation where vaccination rates drop below 90 per cent

The Philippines, which has coverage of just 67 per cent, has the largest outbreak in Southeast Asia with more than 42,000 cases this year READ MORE

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Australia Could Be At Risk Of ‘Imported’ Measles Outbreak After Overseas Epidemics

"We have high vaccination rates in Australia, so we would not likely have ongoing epidemics, but measles is spread by travel, so we could certainly see outbreaks in Australia due to travel to and from affected countries," Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of the biosecurity research program at the Kirby Institute, told 10 daily. READ MORE

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National conference addresses infectious disease inequity in Indigenous communities

The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) hosted the biennial Communicable Diseases Control Conference 2019 this week to create connections between First Nations and non-First Nations peoples working within the health sphere to overcome the inequities within and realities of infectious diseases in Australia.

The Conference ran from November 20-21, gathering over 350 healthcare professionals, scientists and researchers to bring forward a portfolio of information around infectious diseases.

National Health and Medical Research Council Career Fellow of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at The Australian National University, Professor Martyn Kirk presented at the Conference and noted the importance of the event in creating connection.

Germany makes measles vaccination compulsory

The German parliament approved a law on Thursday which makes measles vaccinations compulsory from the beginning of 2020. Parents will then have to prove their child is vaccinated against measles before sending them to daycare or school....

Recent research found measles can wipe out the body's immunity to other diseases - a terrible side-effect vaccines don't have.

"This immune-suppressant effect lasts for years - and is still present up to five years later," Prof Michael Baker from the University of Otago's Department of Public Health said earlier this month.

"The risks of being unvaccinated are not only that of measles, which is a potentially fatal infection, but also other infections because of the effect it has on the immune system," said University of New South Wales biosecurity researcher Prof Raina MacIntyre. READ MORE

 

IN THE GREEN ROOM, I’d Like to Be a Whale, Far Away From Land—and People

Raina MacIntyre is a professor of global biosecurity at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia, and an adjunct professor at Arizona State University. She heads the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute, which researches prediction, control, and prevention of epidemic infectious diseases, pandemics, and bioterrorism. Before taking part in a Zócalo/Getty panel titled “Is Civilization on the Verge of Collapse?” and held at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, MacIntyre spoke in the green room about super viruses, being an extra in Opera Australia’s production of a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, and why she wants to be a whale. READ MORE

New tool harnesses AI and Twitter for early detection of disease outbreaks

Researchers from CSIRO’s Data61, the data science arm of Australia’s national science agency, and UNSW Sydney’s Kirby Institute have developed a new tool that harnesses artificial intelligence and Twitter for the earlier detection of acute disease events, such as the thunderstorm asthma epidemic that hit Melbourne three years ago today.

Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of Biosecurity Research Program, Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney said that this work is a remarkable contribution to public health research.“In future, this system can be used to provide health authorities and the community early warning of a serious and sudden health event,” Professor MacIntyre said. READ MORE

Measles alert after infected man arrives in Melbourne

"People spread it through the air, with their respiratory secretions. It's one of the most infectious, vaccine preventable diseases that we have. It's far more infectious than smallpox was," Professor Raina MacIntyre, a professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the University of NSW,  told nine.com.au. READ MORE

members of GAB meeting

Meeting of the TEPHINET Global Accrediting Body (GAB)

The TEPHINET Global Accrediting Body met this week to review and determine the results of the fourth  Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) accreditation cycle. Founded in 1997, TEPHINET is the global network of  FETPs improving public health training and response. Attached is a picture of participants of  the TEPHINET Global Accreditation Body (GAB) meeting. 

Call to prosecute parents who hold 'infection parties'

 In tests on animals, five months after infection nearly two-thirds of their antibodies were still missing in action. 

"This immune-suppressant effect lasts for years - and is still present up to five years later," said Prof Michael Baker from the University of Otago's Department of Public Health.

In contrast, the immune systems of vaccinated kids exposed to measles were unaffected.

"The risks of being unvaccinated are not only that of measles, which is a potentially fatal infection, but also other infections because of the effect it has on the immune system," said University of New South Wales biosecurity researcher Prof Raina MacIntyre. READ MORE