Latest News

Frog fungus damages immune system even when eliminated


The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendribatidis (Bd), has a significant effect on the immune system of Australian tree frogs even after the fungus has been cleared. Dr Sam Young, a veterinarian at Mogo Zoo, NSW,, led the research team at James Cook University's One Health Group (Young et al 2014). Her work demonstrated that experimentally infecting green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea) caused multiple defects in systemic host immunity with both antibody and cell mediated immune fuctions affected.

Sierra Leonne orders Ebola lockdown


Sierra Leone has ordered a lockdown to help control Ebola virus. The government has stated that people must stay at home from 18 to 21 September. Read the story in All Africa -

Ebola in West Africa


No sign of the epidemic abating. The cumulative case curve contnues to climb exponentially. Cases in Nigeria continue to increase (now 21) with cases now occurring outside Lagos in Port Harcourt.

Ebola in Africa - Crisis as another epidemic begins!


The West African Ebola outbreak is continuing unabated. By the 22nd August there had been 2,615 cases and 1,427 deaths, a case fatality rate of 55%. A very high number of health workers have become infected; 240 with 120 deaths. See report by WHO - WHO identifies inadequate infection control as causing these cases. However, has transmission of Ebolavirus changed in West Afrca?

Atoifi rushes into the digital age!

Atoifi satellite dish

Our research capacity strenthening work at Atoifi, Solomon Islands, has been hampered by the slowness and unreliablity of the broadband satellite link. However, that changed last week with the upgrade of the hardware and the bandwidth due to combined inputs from WHO Tropical Diseases Research and the Seventh Day Adventist Pacific mission. The former provided funding while the latter (Michael, Kevin and Harry) set up new hardware and configured software to get an outstanding result.

Sierra Leone amends Public Health Act to make hiding Ebola patients a crime


Sierra Leone parliament on 22 August made it a crime to hide Ebola patients. Legally defining an "Ebola patient" may be challenging prior to confirmation by laboratory testing. Does the law refer to confirmed cases only or include suspect cases also? Story is at Al Jazeera.

Other regulatory actions by countries include border closures by Senegal, Cote d'Ivore and South Africa. Senegal has banned flights to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Brussels Airlines has also cancelled flights to these countries.

Ebola epidemic now in Nigeria


Ebola virus (EBOV) has now started an epidemic in Nigeria. This was initiated by the Liberian man who flew into Lagos, collapsed at the airport, was hospitalised and died. Six secondary cases have been detected and one, a nurse who cared for the Liberian, has died. The West African Ebola epidemic is very serious. Not only is the virus still spreading in all 4 countries, but it will start to adapt to transmission in an urban environment. WHO reports a cumulative total of 1,172 cases with 932 deaths, a case fatality rate of 54%.

Moving Ebola patients by plane


Two US citizens infected with Ebola virus (EBOV) are to be brought home in a specially equiped plane carrying an Aeromedical Biological Containment Unit. They will be housed in a PC3 isolation unit inside a negative pressure unit. See the CNN report and watch the informative video.

Ebola virus takes the plane - from Liberia to Lagos


A man has died in Lagos, Nigeria, from Ebolavirus disease (EBV) after flying from Liberia. See report on ABC News. The flight was not direct; he transited in Togo.

Polio expands - travelers need to be vaccinated.


The number of countries with polio and the total number of cases increased so much in 2014 that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an emergency. In 2013, 416 cases occurred in five countries, then, in the first six months of 2014, the numbers were 106 and nine countries. WHO has made polio the world's second Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).