News

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

How measles keeps on giving: The virus hobbles your immune system for years

Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Research Program at the Kirby Institute from the University of New South Wales, makes the vital point: “At a time when measles is on the rise worldwide, with the UK and other European countries losing WHO elimination status for measles in August this year, the risk of measles is higher than it has been in a long time.

“It is critical that high levels of infant vaccination are maintained, and that travellers seek vaccination advice before they travel.”

Because the simple truth is this: A measles vaccination saves you all this grief. READ MORE

 

Australian researcher cautions National over 'no jab, no pay'

A warning to the National Party as it toys with the idea of a 'no jab no pay' policy.

It's one of the plans floated in the party's social services document - and would mean parents would only receive the benefit if their children were fully vaccinated.

It copies a similar policy in Australia. University of New South Wales research fellow Raina Macintyre led a study on parents' attitudes towards the policy.

She told Mike Hosking that it was effective, but it raises some ethical issues. READ MORE

Exclusive: WHO, Congo eye tighter rules for Ebola care over immunity concerns

There have been several confirmed cases of relapse with Ebola, including a Scottish nurse here who was infected in Sierra Leone in 2014 and fell ill again 10 months after recovery.
But the symptoms have tended to be localized in certain parts of the body and are not known to have been fatal, according to Raina MacIntyre, who heads the Biosecurity Program at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute. READ MORE