Latest News

ARDS with MODS: Rule out HCoV-EMC


For cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiorgan dysfunction syndrome (MODS) with no cause identified, clinicians should think of excluding the newly discovered coronavirus, HCoV-EMC. Nine laboratory confirmed cases have now been identified since April 2012 in Jordon, Saudi Arabia and Quatar, and 5 died. The latest case was in October 2012, but retrospective testing diagnosed cases in April 2012. A case fatality ratio of >50% plus clustering of cases over time and geography makes this virus of significant concern.

Two way research capacity strengthening: a model from Atoifi, Solomon Islands

Analysing interviews of TB patients

A better model for research capacity strengthening is two way, rather than unidirectional. In the two way model valuable skills and experience are gained by those regarded as "experts" as well as those learning how to do research. This is the main message from a study just published by the International Journal for Equity in Health.

World Malaria Report 2012: Situation stable, but rate of improvement slowed since 2010


WHO’s 2012 World Malaria Report, just released, shows that the gains of the last decade in reducing morbidity and mortality due to malaria have been maintained.

Sharing of cultures during the solar eclipse


The Gurruwiling Eclipse Festival was held during the recent solar eclipse in East Arnhem Land. It was hosted by the Yolŋu peoples of Ramingining and Gurruwiling. What an amazing festival! Visit the festival website Listen to the 12 canoes story. View the pictures from the festival on Ben Speare's Facebook site. (You will have to log in to Facebook first)

McBryde Report Highlights Severe Problems with Tuberculosis in Western Province, Papua New Guinea

TB control vehicle in Madang 2009

A report just released “Evaluation of Ricks of Tuberculosis in Western Province Papua New Guinea” concludes that the prevalence of TB is very high (at least 500/100,000). This is one of the highest levels globally. From data in the WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2012 the only countries with higher prevalences (cases/100,000) are Cambodia (817), South Africa (768), Democratic Republic of the Congo (512), Zinbabwe (547), and Myanmar (506). PNG in the WHO report had a prevalence of 534/100,000 for 2011; so the Western Province data is consistent with PNG nationally.

Post that pee! Detecting chlamydia by mail.

QH Chlamydia poster - pee it, pack it, post it!

In a paper just published in Sexual Health Monika Buhrer-Skinner with several coauthors, including Tropical Health Solutions' Directors (Ray Muller and Petra Buttner), tested the acceptability of a self-collection kit for chlamydia. The kit involves clients putting urine into a powder which then forms a solid gel able to be posted to diagnostic laboratories by mail. The study matched chlamydia result with risk factors collected by questionnaire. 9% were positive for chlamydia. 77% of participants reported that they would not have sought testing using standard means.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Hunter Valley (NSW): UPDATE


H7 avian Influenza virus has been confirmed in a flock of 50,000 layer hens in the lower Hunter Valley, near Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. The property has been quarantined and the birds are being culled. DPI and the Livestock Health and Pest Authority are continuing surveillance and tracing to confirm the virus has not spread.

TB in Solomon Islands - Research capacity building

Laete’esafi’s mountain hamlet, East Kwaio:

A fascinating study of why people in Solomon Islands present late with pulmonary tuberculosis has just been published in Rural and Remote Health. An unusual finding was that a clash of worldviews is the major problem, owing to residents with strong traditional beliefs having great difficulty entering a place (the TB ward) that they perceive as taboo.

Need for medical researchers to have biostatistical skills highlighted


In the Weekend Australian (20-21 October 2012 p48) Professor Douglas Hilton, the Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), highlighted the great need for more medical and biological researchers to have statistical expertise.

Need for better tools to measure disability due to lymphatic filariasis

Elephantiasis (Grade IV) in a man from Tuvalu

Globally, 40 million people live with the chronic effects of lymphatic filariasis (LF), making it the second leading cause of disability in the world. An article by a team led by Lynne Zeldenryk, which included THS Director Rick Speare, has just been published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases and identifies the tools currently being used to measure LF-related disability and reviews their applicability against the known impacts of LF (Zeldenryk et al 2012).