School of Public Health and Community Medicine

GO VIRL - Infectious Diseases Blog


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


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image - Augustine Asante

West African voices on Ebola 3: can West African economics withstand the Ebola pressure?

By Dr Augustine Asante October 22nd 2014   The predictions are dire – Ebola will cost West African economies some US$32.6 billion by the end of 2015 if the virus is not contained in good time and it spreads to neighbouring countries.1 This may represent a worst case scenario, but with the dynamics of the outbreak still very unclear and the World Health Organization (WHO) predicting between 5,000... more
Thank you with Australian wildflowers

Ebola PPE guidelines - thank you to Prof Ian Norman

By Raina MacIntyre October 21 2014 We were the first people to publicly question the WHO and CDC guidelines on Ebola PPE.  Our editorial was written by myself and authors Dr Holly Seale and Dr Abrar Chugtai from UNSW (mask/respirator clinical trial expertise), Prof Trish Davidson, Dean of Nursing from Johns Hopkins (bringing a nursing perspective), and Prof Guy Richards, critical care specialist... more
Dr Bridget Haire

Ethical considerations regarding testing of an Ebola vaccine during an epidemic

  By Dr Bridget Haire October 19 2014   The escalating human toll of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa necessitates a new approach to the evaluation and distribution of new treatment and prevention technologies1,2. This is a highly complex task, however. While Ebola patients who receive aggressive supportive care appear to have far higher survival rates than those who do not, the disease is... more
image - Fitesting 0

Ebola transmission and PPE – consolidated resources for health workers here:

By Raina MacIntyre October 19th 2014 Last update: November 22nd  2014 I am being contacted by doctors and nurses from many countries and settings, confused and worried about differing PPE guidelines. To save emailing links to multiple people, I have consolidated some useful resources for clinicians here for information. Some people want to know what different organisations and hospitals are doing... more
image - Doc

Put yourself in the shoes of a health worker facing Ebola

By Raina MacIntyre October 17 2014 West Africans, Americans and Spanish people are unfamiliar with Ebola. It is a disease they have not experienced before this epidemic, and one which their health workers have never treated until now. For the health workers of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the problem is far worse because of the death of many health workers on the background of a critical... more
File: PDF icon evd_directive_1_20141017.pdf
Don't blame the doctors and nurses for Ebola

Ebola: doctors and nurses at the front line need thanks and protection, not punishment and blame.

By Raina MacIntyre October 15th 2014   Doctors, nurses and other health professionals are the front line of a response in the event of an infectious diseases emergency. Their profession is about treating the sick and saving lives, and their contribution must be respected. They risk their lives and are known to be at increased risk for infectious diseases as an occupational health and safety... more
image - UNSW Allaince

UNSW Alliance Against Ebola - fundraising for West Africa

UNSW Alliance against Ebola   The UNSW Alliance against Ebola (UNSWAAE) is an organization of students and staff of the University of New South Wales established to raise awareness and raise funds to support the efforts in controlling the Ebola outbreak  in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.  Members of the Alliance come from diverse professional and geographical backgrounds from around the world... more
image - Nurses

Ebola and nurses - a note from a stranger

Just wanted to share this email from a nurse who heard me speak on radio yesterday about PPE. The headline of the email was "Your Ebola opinions." I assumed it was hate mail, as this is the price I usually pay for being outspoken. But to my surprise it was the following: "Congratulations on speaking out about the risk to healthcare workers and others caused by lax attitudes to risk analysis and... more

West African Voices on Ebola 2: The case for Lamivudine for Ebola treatment

By Walton Beckley October 11 2014 THE CASE FOR LAMIVUDINE IN THE TREATMENT OF EBOLA The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has projected that there could be as many as 1.4 million people infected with the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone and Liberia by the end of January 2015, if robust interventions aimed at controlling the current outbreak are not immediately put in... more
Anxiety about airports – Ebola as a travel-related infection.

Anxiety about airports – Ebola as a travel-related infection.

By Raina MacIntyre October 10 2014   We live in an interconnected global community, with an exponential rise in travel internationally over the past 2 decades. Infectious diseases do not recognize borders, and can spread globally through travel.(1) SARS was a classic example, where a single case at a hotel in Hong Kong resulted in the infection being spread to the US, Singapore, Canada, Ireland... more