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Port Adelaide, Australia

Derne B.T.,University of Queensland | Fearnley E.J.,Communicable Disease Control Branch | Lau C.L.,University of Queensland | Paynter S.,University of Queensland | And 2 more authors.
Medical Hypotheses | Year: 2011

Well balanced ecosystems have an essential role in disease regulation, and consequently their correct functioning is increasingly recognised as imperative for maintaining human health. Disruptions to ecosystems have been found to increase the risk of several diseases, including Hantavirus, Lyme disease, Ross River virus, malaria and Ciguatera fish poisoning. Leptospirosis is a globally important emerging zoonosis, caused by spirochaete bacteria, borne by many mammalian hosts, and also transmitted environmentally. We propose that leptospirosis incidence in humans is also linked to ecosystem disruption, and that reduced biodiversity (the diversity of species within an ecological community) may be associated with increased leptospirosis incidence. To investigate this hypothesis, the relationship between biodiversity levels of island nations and their annual leptospirosis incidence rates (adjusted for GDP per capita) was examined by linear correlation and regression. Supportive, statistically significant negative associations were obtained between leptospirosis incidence and (a) total number of species (r 2=0.69, p<0.001) and (b) number of mammal species (r 2=0.80, p<0.001) in univariate analysis. In multivariable analysis only the number of mammal species remained significantly associated (r 2=0.81, p=0.007). An association between biodiversity and reduced leptospirosis risk, if supported by further research, would emphasise the importance of managing the emergence of leptospirosis (and other infectious diseases) at a broader, ecosystem level. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Selvey L.A.,Curtin University Australia | Dailey L.,Independent Consultant | Lindsay M.,Environmental Health Directorate | Armstrong P.,Communicable Disease Control Directorate | And 4 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2014

Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) is the most serious of the endemic arboviruses in Australia. It was responsible for six known large outbreaks of encephalitis in south-eastern Australia in the 1900s, with the last comprising 58 cases in 1974. Since then MVEV clinical cases have been largely confined to the western and central parts of northern Australia.In 2011, high-level MVEV activity occurred in south-eastern Australia for the first time since 1974, accompanied by unusually heavy seasonal MVEV activity in northern Australia. This resulted in 17 confirmed cases of MVEV disease across Australia. Record wet season rainfall was recorded in many areas of Australia in the summer and autumn of 2011. This was associated with significant flooding and increased numbers of the mosquito vector and subsequent MVEV activity. This paper documents the outbreak and adds to our knowledge about disease outcomes, epidemiology of disease and the link between the MVEV activity and environmental factors.Clinical and demographic information from the 17 reported cases was obtained. Cases or family members were interviewed about their activities and location during the incubation period.In contrast to outbreaks prior to 2000, the majority of cases were non-Aboriginal adults, and almost half (40%) of the cases acquired MVEV outside their area of residence. All but two cases occurred in areas of known MVEV activity.This outbreak continues to reflect a change in the demographic pattern of human cases of encephalitic MVEV over the last 20 years. In northern Australia, this is associated with the increasing numbers of non-Aboriginal workers and tourists living and travelling in endemic and epidemic areas, and also identifies an association with activities that lead to high mosquito exposure. This outbreak demonstrates that there is an ongoing risk of MVEV encephalitis to the heavily populated areas of south-eastern Australia. © 2014 Selvey et al. Source


Fearnley E.,Communicable Disease Control Branch | Fearnley E.,Australian National University | Raupach J.,Australian National University | Lagala F.,Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science | Cameron S.,Australian National University
International Journal of Food Microbiology | Year: 2011

Varieties of Salmonella enterica are the second most commonly notified causes of gastroenteritis in Australia. Outbreaks of Salmonella infection are commonly linked to food, particularly foods containing chicken meat and eggs. A number of European countries have introduced interventions based on Salmonella surveillance systems in the food industry and these have led to subsequent decreases in notification rates in humans. A descriptive case-series of human Salmonella infections notified in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia, was conducted in 2008. Human Salmonella serotypes identified were then compared to serotypes identified from a retail chicken and egg survey conducted over the same time period in Adelaide. Ninety-four human cases of salmonellosis were included in the study. Thirty-one serotypes were identified and 61.7% of these were Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium). In the week prior to illness, 62.8% of participants reported eating chicken and 47.9% reported eating eggs. Salmonella was identified in 38.8% of retail chicken samples; S. Infantis and S. Typhimurium phage type 135a were most commonly identified. No egg contents were found to contain Salmonella, but the pathogen was isolated on 3.5% of egg external surface samples. Eleven serotypes were common to both chicken and human samples, two serotypes were common to eggs and humans, and one serotype (S. Infantis) was common to all three sources. Serotypes of Salmonella isolated from chicken and egg samples included serotypes that were also isolated from humans, in cases included in this study, and in outbreaks previously investigated within Australia. Poultry meat and eggs are potential sources of introducing a defined range of human pathogens into South Australian kitchens. Ongoing systematic surveillance of animals and their food products, at farm and retail level for Salmonella could provide more definitive evidence of links between food sources and human infections; and also allow accurate measurement of interventions taken to reduce rates of Salmonella isolations in animal-based foods. © 2011. Source


Selvey L.A.,Curtin University Australia | Dailey L.,Independent Consultant | Lindsay M.,Environmental Health Directorate | Armstrong P.,Communicable Disease Control Directorate | And 4 more authors.
PLoS neglected tropical diseases | Year: 2014

Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) is the most serious of the endemic arboviruses in Australia. It was responsible for six known large outbreaks of encephalitis in south-eastern Australia in the 1900s, with the last comprising 58 cases in 1974. Since then MVEV clinical cases have been largely confined to the western and central parts of northern Australia. In 2011, high-level MVEV activity occurred in south-eastern Australia for the first time since 1974, accompanied by unusually heavy seasonal MVEV activity in northern Australia. This resulted in 17 confirmed cases of MVEV disease across Australia. Record wet season rainfall was recorded in many areas of Australia in the summer and autumn of 2011. This was associated with significant flooding and increased numbers of the mosquito vector and subsequent MVEV activity. This paper documents the outbreak and adds to our knowledge about disease outcomes, epidemiology of disease and the link between the MVEV activity and environmental factors. Clinical and demographic information from the 17 reported cases was obtained. Cases or family members were interviewed about their activities and location during the incubation period. In contrast to outbreaks prior to 2000, the majority of cases were non-Aboriginal adults, and almost half (40%) of the cases acquired MVEV outside their area of residence. All but two cases occurred in areas of known MVEV activity. This outbreak continues to reflect a change in the demographic pattern of human cases of encephalitic MVEV over the last 20 years. In northern Australia, this is associated with the increasing numbers of non-Aboriginal workers and tourists living and travelling in endemic and epidemic areas, and also identifies an association with activities that lead to high mosquito exposure. This outbreak demonstrates that there is an ongoing risk of MVEV encephalitis to the heavily populated areas of south-eastern Australia. Source


O'Connor B.A.,Australian National University | Tribe I.G.,Communicable Disease Control Branch | Givney R.,Communicable Disease Control Branch | Givney R.,University of Newcastle
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2015

In December 2004, the Department of Human Services investigated an outbreak of Q fever in South Australia. A case-control study tested an association between attending a local saleyard and human illness. A case was defined as a person with clinical illness and evidence of seroconversion or high phase II IgM. Controls were selected from a database of community controls matched on sex, age group and postcode. Matched analysis of the first 15 cases with 45 controls indicated that contracting Q fever was associated with attending the saleyard on one particular day (adjusted odds ratio 15·3, 95% confidence interval 1·7-undefined, P = 0·014). Saleyard conditions were windy and conducive for airborne dispersal of contaminated particles. In total, 25 cases were detected. Of these, 22 cases had attended a local saleyard on the same day. This outbreak suggests cases were probably infected by a single exposure at a saleyard from infected sheep and dust. The investigation resulted in an increase in the local uptake of Q fever vaccination and extension of the Australian national vaccination programme. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014. Source

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