Metro North Public Health Unit

Windsor, Australia

Metro North Public Health Unit

Windsor, Australia
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Montgomery B.L.,Metro South Public Health Unit | Shivas M.A.,Mosquito and Pest Management | Hall-Mendelin S.,Queensland Government | Edwards J.,Rockhampton Public Health Unit | And 5 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2017

Background: The globally important Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses are primarily transmitted by the invasive mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. In Australia, there is an increasing risk that these species may invade highly urbanized regions and trigger outbreaks. We describe the development of a Rapid Surveillance for Vector Presence (RSVP) system to expedite presence- absence surveys for both species. Methodology/Principal findings: We developed a methodology that uses molecular assays to efficiently screen pooled ovitrap (egg trap) samples for traces of target species ribosomal RNA. Firstly, specific real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays were developed which detect a single Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus first instar larva in samples containing 4,999 and 999 non-target mosquitoes, respectively. ImageJ software was evaluated as an automated egg counting tool using ovitrap collections obtained from Brisbane, Australia. Qualitative assessment of ovistrips was required prior to automation because ImageJ did not differentiate between Aedes eggs and other objects or contaminants on 44.5% of ovistrips assessed, thus compromising the accuracy of egg counts. As a proof of concept, the RSVP was evaluated in Brisbane, Rockhampton and Goomeri, locations where Ae. aegypti is considered absent, present, and at the margin of its range, respectively. In Brisbane, Ae. aegypti was not detected in 25 pools formed from 477 ovitraps, comprising ≈ 54,300 eggs. In Rockhampton, Ae. aegypti was detected in 4/6 pools derived from 45 ovitraps, comprising ≈ 1,700 eggs. In Goomeri, Ae. aegypti was detected in 5/8 pools derived from 62 ovitraps, comprising ≈ 4,200 eggs. Conclusions/Significance: RSVP can rapidly detect nucleic acids from low numbers of target species within large samples of endemic species aggregated from multiple ovitraps. This screening capability facilitates deployment of ovitrap configurations of varying spatial scales, from a single residential block to entire suburbs or towns. RSVP is a powerful tool for surveillance of invasive Aedes spp., validation of species eradication and quality assurance for vector control operations implemented during disease outbreaks. © 2017 Montgomery et al.


Mutch A.J.,University of Queensland | Lui C.-W.,University of Queensland | Dean J.,University of Queensland | Mao L.,University of New South Wales | And 5 more authors.
BMC Health Services Research | Year: 2017

Background: The success of ‘treatment as prevention’ (TasP) to control HIV relies on the uptake of testing across priority population groups. Innovative strategies including; rapid HIV testing (RHT) in community and outreach settings, engaging peer service providers, and not requiring disclosure of sexual history have been designed to increase access. This paper reports on the implementation of ‘RAPID’, a community-based testing program in Queensland, Australia that employs these strategies to increase access to testing. Methods: Service data, including client registration forms and a satisfaction survey from all clients attending RAPID between August 2014 and July 2015 were analysed. Results: In 2014/2015 1,199 people attended RAPID to receive a free HIV test. The majority were urban-based gay men. 17.1% were first-time testers and 20.1% of participants were not eligible to access Medicare, Australia’s universal health care scheme. Conclusions: RAPID’s evidence-based strategies appear to facilitate access to HIV testing, particularly among those who have never tested before; however the implications for the ongoing treatment and care of people ineligible for Medicare, who test positive to HIV warrants careful consideration. © 2017 The Author(s).


Jansen C.C.,Metro North Public Health Unit | Williams C.R.,University of South Australia | Van Den Hurk A.F.,Queensland Government
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

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.


Tinggi U.,Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services | Schoendorfer N.,University of Queensland | Scheelings P.,Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services | Yang X.,Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services | And 4 more authors.
Food Additives and Contaminants: Part B Surveillance | Year: 2015

Levels of arsenic in Australian and imported rice (n = 36) were evaluated using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for total arsenic and a hyphenated high-performance liquid chromatography ICP-MS system for arsenic species. The study also assessed the daily intake of total As from diets of healthy children (n = 15), collected over three consecutive days. A wide variation of total As levels (range: <0.05–0.42 mg/kg) in Australian and imported rice was found. The mean level of total As (0.24 ± 0.09 mg/kg, n = 10) in the Australian rice was relatively higher than imported rice from other countries (0.09 ± 0.04 mg/kg, n = 26). The mean level (0.25 ± 0.08 mg/kg, n = 7) of dimethylarsenic acid was considerably higher than that of inorganic As (III) (0.07 ± 0.03 mg/kg, n = 7) in the Australian rice. Children’s daily intakes of total As varied widely, ranging from 1.7 to 31.2 (11.5 ± 8.9 µg/day), which was comparable to other countries. © 2015 Department of Queensland Health.


PubMed | University of South Australia, Metro North Public Health Unit and Queensland Government
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

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.


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 | Year: 2014

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.


O'Mullan C.,Central Queensland University | Debattista J.,Metro North Public Health Unit | Browne M.,Central Queensland University
Health Promotion Journal of Australia | Year: 2016

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.


Jansen C.C.,Metro North Public Health Unit
International journal of environmental research and public health | Year: 2013

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.


Heersink D.K.,CSIRO | Meyers J.,CSIRO | Caley P.,CSIRO | Barnett G.,CSIRO | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Pest Science | Year: 2016

Container-inhabiting mosquitoes such as Aedes notoscriptus, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus are potential vectors of a number of arboviruses of significance to human health and domestic animals. To assess the risk of mosquito-borne viruses, residential properties were surveyed for mosquito larvae within the Brisbane area during 2010–2012. A two-stage modeling approach was used to model both the presence/absence of Ae. notoscriptus larvae and abundance of larvae when present. Results indicate the total number of wet containers found on a property is the main driving factor of both presence/absence and abundance of Ae. notoscriptus larvae. The generalized additive modeling approach used indicates more standard logistic regression and odds ratios may overestimate the importance of common covariates. The two-stage modeling also potentially allows for predictions of Ae. notoscriptus abundance and common risk indices that are not possible using traditional logistic regression. Factors influencing the number of wet containers are explored with a view toward risk mitigation. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


PubMed | Central Queensland University and Metro North Public Health Unit
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Health promotion journal of Australia : official journal of Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals | Year: 2016

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 (x(2) (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.

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