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Windsor, Australia

Jansen C.C.,Metro North Public Health Unit | Williams C.R.,University of South Australia | Van Den Hurk A.F.,Queensland Government

The global re-emergence of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) over the last decade presents a serious public health risk to Australia. An increasing number of imported cases further underline the potential for local transmission to occur if local mosquitoes bite an infected traveller. Laboratory experiments have identified a number of competent Australian mosquito species, including the primary vectors of CHIKV abroad, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, and local endemic species Aedes vigilax and Aedes notoscriptus. The implication of these additional endemic species as potential vectors has generated much uncertainty amongst public health professionals regarding their actual role in CHIKV transmission in the field. Using data estimated from or documented in the literature, we parameterise a simple vectorial capacity model to evaluate the relative roles of Australian mosquito species in potential CHIKV transmission. The model takes into account a number of key biological and ecological variables which influence the role of a species in field transmission, including population density, human feeding rates, mosquito survival rates and vector competence. We confirm the relative importance of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus in sustaining potential CHIKV transmission in Australia. Even at maximum estimated densities and human feeding rates, Ae. vigilax and Ae. notoscriptus are likely to play a relatively minor role in CHIKV transmission, when compared with either Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus. This relatively straightforward analysis has application for any region where mosquito species have been incriminated in vector competence experiments, but where their actual role in CHIKV transmission has not been established. © 2015 Jansen et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

Dean J.,Griffith University | Mitchell M.,Griffith University | Mitchell M.,Nurse Practice Development Unit | Stewart D.,Griffith University | Debattista J.,Metro North Public Health Unit
Culture, Health and Sexuality

The aim of this study was to develop intergenerational understanding of the factors perceived to be influencing the sexual health and wellbeing of young Sudanese refugees in Queensland, Australia. Data from 11 semi-structured, face-to-face interviews exploring sexual health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours with young people aged 16 to 24 years, and five focus groups with adults from the broader Queensland Sudanese community, were compared and contrasted. Findings indicate that sexual health-related knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, along with patterns of sexual behaviour, are changing post-resettlement and this creates considerable intergenerational discord and family conflict. Study findings provide an understanding of how the interplay between traditional cultural gender, parenting and relationship norms and perceived normative Australian beliefs and patterns of behaviour influence the construction of both young people’s and their parents’ attitudes to sexual health post-arrival. We suggest that sexuality education programmes adapted to the specific cultural- and age-related contexts need to be introduced early within the resettlement process for both young people and their families. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group Source

O'Mullan C.,Central Queensland University | Debattista J.,Metro North Public Health Unit | Browne M.,Central Queensland University
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Issue addressed The fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) models of mining in Australia have led to concerns about adverse health and psychosocial impacts. Despite speculation that increased levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Australia, including HIV, are associated with FIFO/DIDO work, we know little about sexual risk-taking behaviours in mining populations. This study explores differences in sexual risk taking and perceptions of risk between FIFO/DIDO miners and residential miners. Methods A cross-sectional survey was administered to a sample (n≤444) of male miners working in Queensland, Australia. The self-completed survey contained 49 questions relating to knowledge, attitudes and behaviour and included demographic information and specific items related to sex and relationships. Results FIFO/DIDO status was not associated with any differential sexual risk-taking behaviours, except for an increased probability of reporting 'ever being diagnosed with an STI'; 10.8% of FIFO/DIDO respondents versus 3.6% of others (x2 (1)≤4.43, P≤0.35). Conclusions Our results appear to counter anecdotal evidence that FIFO/DIDO miners engage in higher sexual risk behaviours when compared with residential miners. So what? Anecdotal evidence linking the rise of sexually transmitted infections with the FIFO/DIDO mining workforce could drive costly and unnecessary approaches to prevention. Further research, surveillance and monitoring are required to inform health promotion interventions. © 2016 Australian Health Promotion Association. Source

Jansen C.C.,Metro North Public Health Unit
International journal of environmental research and public health

Recent epidemic activity and its introduction into the Western Hemisphere have drawn attention to West Nile virus (WNV) as an international public health problem. Of particular concern has been the ability for the virus to cause outbreaks of disease in highly populated urban centers. Incrimination of Australian mosquito species is an essential component in determining the receptivity of Australia to the introduction and/or establishment of an exotic strain of WNV and can guide potential management strategies. Based on vector competence experiments and ecological studies, we suggest candidate Australian mosquito species that would most likely be involved in urban transmission of WNV, along with consideration of the endemic WNV subtype, Kunjin. We then examine the interaction of entomological factors with virological and vertebrate host factors, as well as likely mode of introduction, which may influence the potential for exotic WNV to become established and be maintained in urban transmission cycles in Australia. Source

Young M.K.,Griffith University | Young M.K.,Metro North Public Health Unit | El Saadi D.,Communicable Diseases Unit | McCall B.J.,Metro South Public Health Unit
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

Objectives: Ongoing potential exposure of members of the public to Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) in South East Queensland, Australia, prompted investigation of community knowledge, risk perception, and intention to handle bats to inform future prevention efforts. Methods: After pilot testing, a computer-assisted telephone survey of a representative sample of 700 adults without previous potential exposure to ABLV was undertaken in the defined geographic region. Results: Twenty-four percent of eligible contacted individuals participated. Basic knowledge of bats and ABLV was generally high, with 65% of participants answering nine or more of 12 knowledge questions correctly. The perceived risk that bats pose to human health was also high, with 93% indicating some degree of risk. Although 88% of participants indicated they would handle bats in one or more of the scripted situations, overall intention to handle bats was low, with 59% indicating they would handle a bat in four or less of the 12 scenarios. Younger males with lower risk perception of bats most frequently indicated intention to handle bats in varying situations. Knowledge score was not associated with intention to handle bats on multivariate modeling. Conclusions: Future public health prevention efforts, both in Australia and overseas, should focus further on conveying the risk to humans and to bats when nontrained, nonvaccinated people attempt to handle bats rather than attempting to purely convey knowledge about bats and ABLV or rabies. Suitable alternative measures to handling should be included. Younger adult males are a particular target group for prevention efforts. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source

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