Infectious Diseases Blog
Dr Julia Scott, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker
University of Otago, New Zealand
In a globalised world an infectious disease outbreak anywhere is a potential threat to New Zealand (NZ). Recent such threats have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), pandemic influenza (2009), Ebola and Zika. In the context of an upcoming University of Otago Wellington Public... more
Chau Bui, Padma Narasimhan, Raina MacIntyre.
October 13th 2016
Recent world events, such as the 2014 Ebola epidemic, have brought public attention to challenges imposed by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. The unprecedented scale of the Ebola epidemic demonstrated how severely an epidemic can affect countries with limited health capacity. Travel has emerged as a major vector for... more
By Raina MacIntyre and Sheng-Lun Yan
October 12th 2016
Social media has revolutionised how we communicate. In this series, we look at how it has changed the media, politics, health, education and the law.
Infectious diseases kill more than 17 million people every year. Large outbreaks, known as epidemics, are becoming more frequent. And more serious infections have emerged in the past... more
August 30th 2016
Two great leaders of the battle against smallpox have passed away in the last 6 years - Frank Fenner, the chairman of the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication, in 2010, and in 2016, DA Henderson, who was director of the WHO Smallpox Eradication campaign, among other important leadership roles. They were both recognised as pivotal... more
August 29th 2016
Since August 2016, locally transmitted cases of Zika virus have been reported in Singapore. Singapore is a major travel hub and a gateway to Asia, so this is quite concerning. Zika virus has been documented in several Asian countries since it first emerged in 1951, including Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan, long before to the... more
By Chinenye Okeke
April 29th 2016
While the battle to end the Ebola epidemic raged on in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, another viral haemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, was just beginning to take its roots in other parts of West Africa. Lassa fever (LF) is not new to this terrain and like Ebola has been around too long and probably ignored that long too. First described and isolated in a... more
File: Figure 1 - Estimated Lassa Fever cases and deaths 2013-2016 Nigeria
Thinking about getting the 2016 flu vaccine? Here's what you need to know
C Raina MacIntyre, UNSW Australia and Aye Moa, UNSW Australia
Up to one in ten adults and three in ten children are infected with influenza each year.
The vaccine we have used for decades, the trivalent vaccine (TIV), protects against three strains of flu. But in 2016, for the first time, the publicly funded vaccine... more
By Raina MacIntyre
January 31st 2016
Zika virus is a flavivirus, like dengue and yellow fever, spread predominantly from vector to human, by the Aedes species mosquitoes, particularly Aedes Aegypti.(1) The efficiency of spread by other Aedes species mosquitoes, especially the more widespread Aedes Albopictus, is uncertain.
It was first identified during mosquito surveillance in 1947... more
October 3rd 2015
Genetic engineering of pathogens and synthetic genomics (the ability to create synthetic viruses) are a reality. Dual use research of concern (DURC), sometimes referred to as “gain of function research” (GOF) is research intended to benefit humankind, but which can also cause harm, either through laboratory accidents or deliberate release.(1) The controversy... more
August 21st 2015
Travel is the most important vector for spreading infectious diseases globally. In the 1918 pandemic of influenza, there was a delay of over a year in the pandemic reaching Australia, because sea-travel was the only route to the island continent.
The rate of international travel has increased exponentially over the past 70 years(1), with travel more... more