Category Archives: Vector borne diseases

INCLUDES Arbovirus (Chikungunya, Dengue, Encephalitis, Japanese Encephalitis, Murray Valley Encephalitis, Ross River, West Nile), Insect-borne diseases, mosquitos, entomology with regard to mosquitos, emerging disease.
Use VIROLOGY for waterborne diseases.
EXCLUDES Bat-borne diseases (USE Hendra or Lyssavirus) .

Extra funding for Zika virus fight in Queensland included in federal budget

ABC News 30 April 2016

Almost half a million dollars in extra funding will help prevent Zika virus from spreading in north Queensland, the Federal Health Minister says.

There have been 18 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the state this year, but all have been contracted overseas.

Federal Health Minister Susan Ley said the money had been approved this week and was on top of what would be included in Tuesday’s budget.

“The money will assist existing and ongoing surveillance at Cairns and Townsville airports,” Ms Ley said.

“It will enhance the activities of the dengue action response teams, and we will work very closely with the Queensland Government to make sure that there are no cases of Zika transmitted on Australian soil.”

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Therapeutic Goods Administration warned military doctors before using experimental drug on soldiers

Brisbane Times Henry Belot April 29 2016

Australian military doctors were warned about the dangers of using an experimental antimalarial drug on soldiers while in the midst of a coordinated trial under investigation by the ADF watchdog.
Documents obtained by Fairfax Media reveal the Therapeutic Goods Administration wrote to senior doctors at the Balmoral Naval Hospital in Sydney to warn they had no authority to acquire or use the drug under existing arrangements.
Six months later, the hospital received 13 capsules of tafenoquine from pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to use on a 26-year-old on the condition it would not be held responsible for side-effects.
Read more:

The Conversation Harin Karunajeewa April 27, 2016
Weekly Dose: mefloquine, an antimalarial drug made to win wars

Mefloquine was one of around 250,000 chemical compounds tested for malaria-killing activity in the 1960s by the United States military, with a strategic imperative: protecting troops from malaria in the tropics.
These types of drugs had a military advantage. The use of preventive medicines by Allied forces in the Pacific during the second world war was considered a decisive factor in their victory over Japan.
The drugs that preceded mefloquine were prone to unpleasant side effects and malaria parasites in Southeast Asia had developed resistance to them by the 1960s. Alternatives were urgently needed to protect troops fighting wars in Indo-China.
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Job insecurity is driving the best and brightest out of medical research

Brisbane Times Anna Patty April 29 2016

Darren Saunders was developing a cure for pancreatic cancer when he gave up his medical research job to find one that was more secure.
The constant stress of going from contract to contract each year and spending precious time applying for research grants finally took its toll.

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MRPSA Report link:

Disease evolution: how new illnesses emerge when we change how we live

The Conversation Simon Reid April 29, 2016

Humans have been “acquiring” infectious diseases from animals (zoonotic diseases) since we first started hunting wild game on the African savannahs. Indeed, nearly 60% of bugs that infect humans originated in animals.
These days, we seem to see more “new” diseases, such as Zika, Ebola and SARS. But there are plenty more lurking. A recent study suggests there are around 300,000 pathogens we don’t even know about and some have the potential to spread from animals to humans.
The world’s scientific community is focused on how to improve detection and responses to emerging diseases such as Zika virus and Ebola. So what can we learn from the most recent large-scale outbreaks?

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Link to mBio article:

Ross River virus and dengue fever increasing as global temperatures rise

Brisbane Times Harriet Alexander April 28 2016

A record number of people were infected with Ross River virus last year in what doctors believe may be a consequence of global warming.
There were 9549 cases of Ross River fever notified in 2015 – more than double the previous year – and 21 per cent of them were from NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT.

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North Queensland woman tests positive for Zika

Brisbane Times AAP April 28 2016

A north Queensland woman has tested positive to Zika virus after returning from an overseas holiday.
Tests show the Townsville resident picked up the mosquito-borne virus while at an island in the Pacific, but was no longer infectious when she returned to Australia, health authorities say.

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Asylum seekers issued with repellent after Zika virus confirmed on Nauru

The Sydney Morning Herald April 27, 2016

Pregnant asylum seekers detained on Nauru could be exposed to the Zika virus, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirming there had been cases of the mosquito-borne disease on the island nation.
The revelation was made in the department’s submission to the Senate inquiry into the treatment of asylum seekers at Australia’s regional processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
Detainees have been issued with heavy-duty insect repellent in order to fend off the virus, which has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly.