Category Archives: Virology

INCLUDES Measles; Smallpox; Virus genotyping; Hepatitis – all; Waterborne virus (Norovirus, Rotavirus), population health, communicable diseases, gastrointestinal disease outbreaks.
EXCLUDES Lyssavirus, Hendra, Influenza or Vectorborne diseases

Call for kiss ban for pregnant women to prevent spread of virus which can cause serious complications in babies

The Courier Mail ROSE BRENNAN April 17, 2015

MANY pregnant women are unaware of the devastating effects a common infection can have on their unborn baby and how to prevent it.
Health expert Professor Rajiv Khanna is urging women to avoid kissing their partners or children on the mouth or share cutlery in a bid to stop the spread of cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common viral disease from the herpes family.
CMV, which presents with flu-like symptoms, can be passed on through sex or saliva, with about 50 per cent of the population carrying it.
One in 10 babies will have lasting problems if their mums contract CMV while pregnant.
Serious complications include blindness, intellectual disability and deafness.
A conference will be held at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research next week to tackle the issue and draw up guidelines to take to the Government.
“Congenital CMV is more prevalent than Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis,” conference organiser Prof Khanna said. “The lack of awareness about the virus is amazing.”
CMV is the leading cause of deafness in children after genetics and there is no vaccine, cure or treatment.
Many mothers don’t find out they are infected until their baby is born. “If you’re pregnant, even if it’s just a sniffle or a cold, go to your GP and be tested for CMV,” Prof Khanna said.
Radio and TV personality Abby Coleman knows firsthand the stress a CMV diagnosis puts on pregnancy and will speak at the conference.
“Doctors feel they don’t want hysteria in pregnant women about it but I don’t think it would lead to that, it would help for women to know,” she said.
Ms Coleman was 26-weeks pregnant with Jagger when her husband returned from Papua New Guinea and was diagnosed with CMV. Subsequent tests showed she and toddler Finlay, 3, had also contracted it.
“It was really difficult for me… I just thought: ‘Why didn’t anyone warn me about it?’ The precautions aren’t talked about in Australia,” she said.
Upon Jagger’s birth she found out she had not passed on CMV to him after spending “sleepless nights” worrying about his future.
“It’s so hard carrying a child and not knowing if (their health) is going to be guaranteed,” Ms Coleman said.

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Patties Foods tests fail to find any hepatitis A

The Australian Eli Greenblat April 15, 2015

The food manufacturer at the centre of the hepatitis A outbreak earlier this year linked to frozen packets of Nanna’s mixed berries claims the integrity of its quality-assurance systems has been vindicated after its own testing failed to find any trace of the disease.
However, testing by the federal government’s health officials has detected some traces of hepatitis A, delivering a mixed result for the company as it strives to fend off claims its food was contaminated.
Patties Foods said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this afternoon that government health department testing of eight randomly selected Nanna’s packs taken from supermarkets revealed that for seven samples hepatitis A was not detected. One packet did show up a trace amount of hepatitis A, however.
Furthermore, of two packets recovered from shoppers who caught hepatitis A one sample tested positive for the virus. But Patties Foods said the Health department noted the positive sample taken from the open pack could have been open to contamination.
Patties Foods reputation and brands took a battering nearly two months ago when four cases of hepatitis A were discovered in Victoria and New South Wales with the initial, and still only, suspect Patties Foods’ Nanna’s brand of frozen mixed berries.
The outbreak triggered a wave of debate and calls for action over food safety with Patties Foods’ frozen berries products picked and packed in a factory in northern China, causing consumers to grow increasingly anxious over the source of their food.
Within days of the first sufferers being diagnosed the number of victims quickly increased and Nanna’s, the nation’s most popular brand of frozen berries, was stripped from supermarket shelves along with the company’s Creative Gourmet berries line.
Since then the total number of victims has grown to 32 with all claiming to have consumed Nanna’s mixed berries.
Patties Foods said this afternoon that its own testing, across four labs, did not detect any hepatitis A. It has also failed to detect any traces of e.coli in frozen berry stocks.
“Based on the scientific test results to date there is no evidence to indicate the presence of a systematic quality assurance failure of Patties Foods supplier program, microbiological testing regime or compliance with its Australian Food Import Compliance Agreement,” the company said.

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Australian Academy of Science – Nominations for the 2016 honorific awards for scientific excellence are now open

Honorific Awards

Most honorific awards are open to any scientist normally resident in Australia. Nominations may be made by anyone in the scientific community, with the exception of the Macfarlane Burnet or the Matthew Flinders Medals and Lectures for which nominations may only be made by Academy Fellows.

Criteria and nomination forms are available under each individual award.  Awards are available for a range of disciplines including chemistry, physics, human genetics, and women in science, and include early and mid-career awards.

View the full-list of awards


Plotting the elimination of dengue

EurekAlert |  April 8, 2015

Dengue is a viral infection spread between humans by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Dengue causes flu-like symptoms, including intense headaches and joint pains. Published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, Professor Cameron Simmons, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, said that the discovery could lead to improved strategies to reduce the incidence of dengue.  Continue reading…

Source article

Modeling the impact on virus transmission of Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus infection of Aedes aegypti | Cameron P. Simmons et al.

Sci Transl Med 18 March 2015 7:279ra37. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3010370

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The hippie hotbeds of anti-jab agitation

Daily Telegraph Geoff Chambers 14 April 2015

STEINER schools in northern NSW promote choice of parents to reject immunisation as the percentage of unvaccinated children almost eclipses South Sudan.

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Health worker in ACT cleared of Ebola

Sydney Morning Herald AAP 13 April 2015

ACT Health has deemed a Canberra health care worker free of Ebola after a second test for the disease returned a negative result.

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Education best way to get parents to vaccinate children, expert says

ABC News | AM Michael Edwards 13 April 2015

Improving education about immunisation is a better way to get people to vaccinate their children than the “draconian” move to withhold their welfare payments, experts say.

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