School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Infectious Diseases Blog

− a blog for rapid communication and analysis

In outbreaks and other situations, there is a need for reliable rapid communications and for the ability to tap into relevant expertise. This need is not well served by peer-reviewed publications because of the slow turn-around time. At UNSW, we are well placed to provide such a service, as infectious diseases epidemiology is a major area of research strength. We teach major courses and degrees in infectious diseases, and are involved in leading international research in this field. I have started this blog for rapid, topical information on infectious diseases, with a focus on outbreaks, emerging infections, epidemiology, vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. I am committed to responsible blogging, which means all posts are by people qualified to write about the particular topic, or that blogs will be reviewed by relevant experts where required. All contributions are welcome, and will be reviewed/moderated. Comments on blogs are moderated.

Professor Raina MacIntyre



Integrated Systems for Epidemic Response

Return to Epi-watch


Aedes Aegypti mosquito

Halting the spread of Zika virus – the top 5 questions for public health action.

  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
image - Public Security Banner

Biohacking, dual use research of concern and open access genetic engineering – democratization of science or dangerous?

    Raina MacIntyre 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
Epidemics in the globalized era – lessons not learned about screening, triage and health worker safety and awareness.

Epidemics in the globalized era – lessons not learned about screening, triage and health worker safety and awareness.

    Raina MacIntyre 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
image - Images 1

Hope for a magic bullet for elderly vaccines?

By Raina MacIntyre Director, NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Immunisation of Special Risk and Understudied poppulations   June 22nd 2015   Vaccinology as a discipline has arisen from paediatrics, with a great wealth of expertise and champions in infant vaccination.  Over time, more and more adult vaccines have become available, with influenza, pneumococcal, tetanus and most recently... more
image - World

Controversies in emerging infections today – the round up on MERS, Avian influenza, Ebola and governance of epidemic response

  The round up on MERS, Avian influenza, Ebola and governance of epidemic response By Raina MacIntyre June 14th 2015 MERS coronavirus In South Korea, the epidemic of MERS coronavirus has caused over 126 cases and 15 deaths, being the largest epidemic to date outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.(1)  This is the first time since the infection emerged in humans in 2012 that a satellite epidemic... more
Dr Mohammed Alpha Jalloh

West African voices on Ebola 5:Reflections: 21 days of Ebola Trauma from a Land far away: Near Misses or Plain Paranoia

Dr Mohammed Alpha Jalloh April 12th 2015 This past 2014 Australian summer university break saw me travelling thousands of miles from Sydney, to the United States of America (USA). I went to spend a much-needed Christmas holiday at the US, staying with my elder brother’s family of five, residing in Virgina. At the time of my travels, the weather was freezing cold, with falling snow painting every... more
image - Ebola

West African voices on Ebola 4: The unsung African heroes of Ebola

  Walton Beckley   April 10th 2015 It is a little over one year since the Ebola virus disease outbreak was officially declared in West Africa. There is now great hope that if the recent gains achieved are sustained, the epidemic would have been contained in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea by the middle of 2015. With over 25 000 reported confirmed cases and over 10 000 reported deaths, the crisis... more
Punishing parents who refuse vaccination by withdrawing government benefits – is it effective public health?

Punishing parents who refuse vaccination by withdrawing government benefits – is it effective public health?

Raina MacIntyre won the Public Health Association of Australia National Immunisation Achievement Award in 2014, and has worked for >20 years in vaccines. She was also involved in evaluating the impact of parental financial incentives for vaccination when they were first introduced. Conflicts of interest: Raina MacIntyre's salary and position are through UNSW, and are not controlled by... more
image - Ebola

The ethics of Ebola vaccine trials in a waning epidemic – time to change the game plan and look at serological correlates of protection?

  Raina MacIntyre March 15th 2015 After decades as a neglected, poorly researched disease, the unprecedented 2014 Ebola epidemic resulted in acceleration of research into drugs and vaccines for Ebola. Early predictions were that the epidemic would not be controlled until June or July in 2015 at the earliest, so vaccine trials may have been planned under this assumption. Late in 2014, however, the... more
image - Rainaunsw3

Hepatitis A – an ongoing cause of preventable illness

Raina MacIntyre February 18th 2015   The outbreak of hepatitis A due to contaminated frozen berries in Australia in February 2015 has caused an outcry about food security and food labeling. Managing the risks of imported food, however, is only one aspect of prevention for hepatitis A, and another aspect, vaccination, has gone unnoticed.  Hepatitis A is a common cause of viral hepatitis, which... more