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


Integrated Systems for Epidemic Response

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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
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Did someone tell the patient to go to the designated Ebola hospital? How prepared are we?

By Raina MacIntyre Oct 9 2014 As the West African epidemic of Ebola increases exponentially, other countries are preparing for potential imported cases. A modeling study suggested the risk of Ebola being imported into France by October 24th is 75%, and into the UK, 50%.(1) The same study said the chance of an imported case arriving in Spain was lower, only 14%, but in the meanwhile Spain has... more
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Blame the dogs – Ebola, evidence and panic.

By Raina MacIntyre October 8th 2014 The first documented case of transmission of Ebola outside of West Africa in the current outbreak has been in Spain.(1) A Spanish nurse/nursing assistant (depending on which reports you read) contracted Ebola in September 2014 after caring for an infected priest evacuated from West Africa. This is quite different from the imported case of Ebola in Dallas, USA,... more
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A paramedic's perspective on Ebola

An out of hospital perspective By Alan McLean 07/10/2014 As an intensive care paramedic with 35 years experience,  I watched TV thinking I am glad it’s not me dealing with Ebola as the many courageous front line HCW and community responders in Western Africa are. But are we that lucky, is Ebola a West African problem that we only watch on TV? Now having firsthand experience in... more
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Ebola vaccines – required efficacy, principles of vaccinology and public health implications for disease control

By Raina MacIntyre October 4 2014 Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements in history. In 1796 Edward Jenner discovered that inoculation with cowpox could protect against smallpox. The term “vaccinus” means “Of a cow” in Latin, and refers to Jenner’s discovery.  Smallpox vaccine was followed in the 19th century by vaccines against plague, diphtheria and typhoid. Smallpox... more
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West African Voices on Ebola - 1

Questioning the origin of the West African Ebola Outbreak Dr. Mohammed Alpha Jalloh (MD). October 2 2014 This current 2014 West African Ebola outbreak has indeed being quite unprecedented and has been described by the Global health agencies including the World Health Organisation, Doctors without borders or Medicins Sans Frontier (MSF) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with superlative... more
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Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Outbreaks in India – an ongoing puzzle.

By Ronan Kelly.  October 1 2014 Ronan Kelly (USA) is a Senior Moderator at, with an interest in outbreaks in India. Past history of AES in India Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is a growing problem in India. The first major outbreak was in West Bengal in 1973 involving 700 cases and over 300 deaths. Subsequent serological studies identified the Japanese Encephalitis (JE)... more
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Reflections on my experience of nosocomial Ebola

By Professor Guy Richards MBBCh PhD FCP(SA) FRCP Professor of Critical Care University of the Witwatersrand Director of Critical Care Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, South Africa. September 30th 2014 Professor Richards led the management of nosocomial Ebola outbreak in Johannesburg in 1996. The current West African epidemic of Ebola raises many questions that have troubled me... more