Measles vaccination: Australians urged to get vaccine amid outbreaks

Australians aged between 20 and 53 who are travelling overseas are being urged to check their measles vaccination history and if necessary get an additional dose, as authorities report a dramatic surge in new outbreaks. READ MORE

First case of extensively drug-resistant typhoid reported in Australia.

Australia's first case of extensively drug-resistant typhoid has been confirmed in a 20-month-old girl, who was taken to hospital suffering with high fever and vomiting.

Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute at UNSW, said the problem with having fewer antibiotics was the infection could be deadly if left untreated. "You can prevent people dying by treating them with antibiotics, and if the bacteria is resistant to all the available antibiotics then your chance of treating them successfully is diminished," she said. READ MORE

Third person diagnosed with measles in Australia in two days

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 READ MORE




Why the DRC Ebola outbreak was declared a global emergency and why it matters

In mid-July the WHO declared the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. At the time over 2000 cases had been reported. A factor that is likely to have influenced the decision was that a new case had been noted near Goma near the border with Rwanda. The fear was that the disease would spread through Goma, a city of 2 million people, and that it would rapidly cross into Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. READ MORE

Should NIP flu vaccines be extended to 50 year olds?

A new study has examined the effect of flu vaccine in preventing heart attack – while one expert warns of subpar overall uptake and the Guild calls for vaccine harmonisation.

A study presented at the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting 2019 in Adelaide last week found extending National Immunisation Program (NIP) flu vaccines to 50 year olds could potentially prevent up to 1,482 heart attacks.

Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of the Biosecurity Research Program, Kirby Institute, UNSW Medicine and an Immunisation Coalition member, commented on the study, saying that “Evidence from several studies indicates that annual vaccination against seasonal influenza reduces cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with cardiovascular conditions”. READ MORE

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in immunocompromised children

Long term follow up of persistence of immunity following quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in immunocompromised children. 

Research from Kirby Institute shows three dose schedule of HPV vaccine protects vulnerable children with weakened immunity at least five years after vaccination. READ MORE


Parents support “No Jab, No Pay” policy in Australia, but new research raises questions about equity

Four in five parents support the Australian Government’s controversial ‘No Jab, No Pay’ vaccination policy, but the policy may be disproportionately impacting low-income families, new research from the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney suggests.

The ‘No Jab, No Pay’ legislation, introduced in 2016, removed the option of non-medical exemptions from the vaccination requirements to receive certain family and childcare tax benefits, with the intention of boosting vaccination coverage.

Kirby Institute researchers conducted an online survey of 400 parents with children under five to understand knowledge, attitudes and opinions in relation to the ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy. READ MORE

Flucast: A Real-Time Tool to Predict Severity of an Influenza Season

Check out new publication, Flucast: A Real-Time Tool to Predict Severity of an Influenza Season.

Influenza causes serious illness requiring annual health system surge capacity, yet annual seasonal variation makes it difficult to forecast and plan for the severity of an upcoming season. Research shows that hospital and health system stakeholders indicate a preference for forecasting tools that are easy to use and understand to assist with surge capacity planning for influenza. READ MORE  #influenzaseason #flucast #epidemiology #pandemic

ISER lunch time seminar at GHS 2019 conference, 'Epidemic Insights: smallpox and monkeypox'

Global Health Security 2019 at International Convention Centre, Sydney (18th – 20th June) - In June 2019, over 800 members of the global health security community gathered in Sydney, Australia, to participate in the first International Scientific Conference on Global Health Security. Participants came from over 65 countries, representing academia, local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations, public and animal health and security professionals, and the private sector, all committed to advancing global health security. On 20 June 2019, NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence, Integrated Systems for Epidemic Response (ISER) hosted lunchtime seminar titled, “Epidemic Insights: smallpox and monkeypox”

The session was attended by over 90 biosecurity stakeholders from across the globe. Participants heard presentations on topics of; Re-emergence of smallpox – prevention, treatment and response, Monkeypox risk factors and disease control efforts and Smallpox vaccine stockpiling and bio-preparedness.

Is Civilization on the Verge of Collapse?

The question of whether civilization is on the verge of collapse may be as old as civilization itself.

This enduring query brought together a group of panelists that moderator Edan Lepucki called “the most interesting dinner party I’ve ever been invited to” for a Zócalo/Getty event before an overflow crowd at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Lepucki, author of the post-apocalyptic novel California, stressed that addressing the event’s title question—”Is Civilization on the Verge of Collapse?”—starts with defining what type of civilization we are talking about. One panelist, University of New South Wales global biosecurity scholar Raina MacIntyre, said it’s clear that our concerns about collapse are centered on technological civilization, which she described as “a fragile ecosystem under threat for a lot of reasons.”