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 - Rainatami

Ebola PPE - updated resources for health workers

By Raina MacIntyre Updated March 8th 2015   This is an update of a previous blog, which I have put up as a new blog to make it easier to find. Many of the key papers and resources are available here. I started this collection because I was being contacted by doctors and nurses from many countries and settings, confused and worried about differing PPE guidelines. To save emailing links to multiple... more
Prof McLaws teaching PPE

Zero risk Ebola PPE: the do’s and don’ts of doffing

    By Professor Mary-Louise McLaws November 13th 2014   Work Health and Safety principles associated with Ebola patient care includes rigorous and repeated training of healthcare workers (HCWs) so that they are competent with putting on (donning) and removal of (doffing) personal protective equipment PPE. Over 500 HCWs have become infected with Ebola, many while using full PPE. It has been... more
California Nurses Association

Health care worker rights and Ebola – why they are striking all over the world

By Raina MacIntyre November 12th 2014 November 2014: In Sierra Leone, health care workers (HCWs) in the only clinic in the town of Bandajuma are striking over their right to a weekly “hazard payment”. (1) Simultaneously, nurses in the US are striking or preparing to strike in protest over perceived lack of attention to their occupational health and safety.(2) In October, following the infection... more
Research on influenza and Ebola

Ebola – the case against expressing scientific uncertainty as certainty

    By Raina MacIntyre October 31st 2014   The worst Ebola outbreak in history has begun affecting countries outside the epicenter, including the US and Spain. Many other countries are dealing with suspected cases, and having their health systems tested with isolation and contact tracing processes.  The message we hear repeatedly is “We know how Ebola is spread”, “Ebola is hard to catch” and “we... more
UNSW Alliance Against Ebola

UNSW Alliance Against Ebola

The students @UNSW did a fantastic job last week to raise funds for MSF Australia through the UNSW Alliance Against Ebola. Details and videos are available on our website: A few years ago, in it's bid to gain a seat on the UN Security Council, Australia gave out AusAID scholarships to African students. Sadly,... more
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
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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
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