Issues 75, June 2006:


Emerging Infectious Disease, Risk and Biosecurity
Stephen Prowse, CEO, Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease
Growing populations, intensive farming practices, climate change and habitat destruction all lead to outbreaks of new infectious diseases. Careful planning is required to limit the health and economic consequences.

Controlling a “Bird Flu” Pandemic
Graeme Laver, Emeritus Professor, John Curtin School of Medical Research
Sooner or later the world will experience another influenza pandemic. Wise preparation with vaccines and anti-viral drugs could enable wealthy countries such as Australia to come through relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, our current plans are not the best way to fight these diseases.

Avian Influenza and Other Pandemic Risks
Peter Trebilco, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of NSW
Traditional means of fighting infectious diseases are unable to control avian influenza. However, with sufficient public awareness we may be able to reduce the transmission during a pandemic.

The Avian Flu Dilemma
Greg Tannock, Professor of Virology, RMIT University
A vaccine for avian flu will soon be available, but there are risks involved.

Nine Issues That Could Derail the Australian Pandemic Plan
Athol Yates, Executive Director, Australian Homeland Security Research Centre
Australia’s pandemic plan is undoubtedly one of the best national plans in the world. However, this does not mean that the nation’s response to a deadly influenza outbreak could not be derailed. There are nine main issues that could lead to a failure – resulting in large-scale deaths, massive unemployment and economic devastation.

The Virus that Nearly Stopped a Nation
CSIRO Livestock Industries
Australia’s premier horserace, the Melbourne Cup, is a national institution and often described as “the race that stops a nation”, but in 1994 a deadly new virus threatened to stop the Cup – and the nation.

Antibiotic Resistance: Emergence of the Superbugs
Catherine Bennett, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is already causing many deaths in the hospital system. It appears likely that the problem could become more widespread, bringing back diseases we thought were effectively eliminated 60 years ago.

Chlamydia’s Hidden Toll
Heather Corinna, Sex educator and founder of
Exotic diseases that affect small numbers of people get plenty of media coverage, but with 92 million new cases each year chlamydia gets far less attention than it deserves, particularly because it can be avoided.

Tackling HIV/AIDS in Resource-Poor Settings
James Nichols, Médecins Sans Frontières Australia
AIDS is one of the biggest killers in the world. Since 1995 survival rates in the developed world have improved dramatically as a range of new treatments have become available. However, applying these methods in countries with limited health systems has proved a problem,and some people have questioned if it is possible.

The Challenges of Tuberculosis
Rick Stapledon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and South Australian Tuberculosis Services
One of the world’s biggest killers is an old disease on its way back. We think of tuberculosis as something associated with Charles Dickens novels, but for the developing world it has become entrenched, and with globalisation and the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains there is a danger to Australia as well.

Bioterrorism: What We Can Do About It
Stephen Leeder and Anne-Marie Boxall, University of Sydney
Biological warfare is not new, but bioterrorism represents an emerging threat. Like other forms of terrorism, the damage is often greater from the panic created than the actual attack. Only careful planning can avoid this.

The Emergence of Japanese Encephalitis Virus in Australia
Andrew Van Den Hurk, Queensland Health Scientific Services
Japanese encephalitis is one of a group of similar mosquito-borne diseases. It has been found in the far north of Australia, and is considered likely to spread. It is far more dangerous than the related Murray Valley encephalitis, which is native to Australia.

Asthma: Have We Reached the Peak?
John Woods and Philip Thompson, Asthma and Allergy Research Institute, WA
A substantial rise over several decades in the prevalence of asthma appears now to have plateaued. The causes of this recent asthma “epidemic” remain uncertain, although recent research has revealed some tantalising clues.

The Rising Tide of RSI
Ann Thomson, Coordinator, RSI and Overuse Injury Association of the ACT
Repetitive Strain Injury is not infectious, but our changing patterns of work and play mean that it is becoming a greater threat to our community if we don’t take care.

Issues: Published by Control Publications, publishers of Australasian Science.
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