Latest News

Do streptococci swap between dogs and children?


A paper by the Indigenous scientist, Layla Schreiber, and her colleagues (including THS Director Rick Speare) has helped answer this important question. The paper describes a case where a species of bacteria, Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (SDSE), was isolated independently from a dog and a child in the same household (Schreiber et al 2013).

Review of HIV and women in PNG


A review just published in BMC Public Health investigates understandings about women and HIV in Papua New Guinea (PNG)(Redman-MacLaren et al 2013). As found in the recent general review of HIV literature 2009-2012 in PNG conducted by THS for the PNG National AIDS Council Secretariat, the literature on women and HIV is predominantly descriptive original research. The literature is largely focussed on women who sell sex, women as mothers or young women.

Good result for malaria vaccine trial

BK-SE36 - impact on malaria

A Ugandan trial of a malaria vaccine based on the BK-SE36 antigen reduced the incidence of heavy parasitaemia with fever by about 60% in 6-20 year olds (Palacpac et al 2013). The only side effect was local induration at the inoculation site in >90% of subjects. Two doses of 1 ml were given subcutaneously 3 weeks apart. A 0.5 ml dose was less effective.


Advances in TB control - Solomon Islands


Tuberculosis (TB) control is improving rapidly in a remote area of the Solomon Islands with high incidence of TB cases. Atoifi is addressing the serious East Kwaio TB problem with assistance from Australian organisations, including the Australian Respiratory Council.

Avian influenza H7N9 mutates further!


Bad news! Influenza H7N9 is evolving fast. In a paper published in the Lancet online today Hu et al (2013) report genetic resistance to nueraminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir and zanamivir. They demonstrated that patients with resistant genotypes had higher viral loads, more severe illneess and poorer clinical outcomes. In one patient they found no genetic resistance in H7N9 on admission, but in an isolate after 9 days of antiviral therapy mutation conferring resistance to neuraminidase inhibiotors had appeared!

Histoplasmosis - THS Director's latest column


THS Director, Rick Speare's latest Travel Bug column in Medical Observer discusses a cluster of cases of acute pulmonary histoplasmosis acquired in Chagga Caves, near Moshi, Tanzania. This disease is caused by inhaling spores of the environmental fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum. It typically presents as acute pulmonary disease with nodular changes on X-ray in a patient who has been in a cave 15 days previously. Read the Medical Observer colum here.

Avian influenza H7N9 - first vaccine candidate virus identified


Great news! The first candidate virus for vaccine production against the new Chinese avian influenza has been produced (WHO 2013). This is IDCDC-RG32A, a reverse genetics virus from isolate A/Shanghai/2/2013. It has passed relevant safety testing and can be handled under BSL-2 enhanced containment. Three other potential candidate viruses have also been identified. A candidate vaccine virus will allow development and testing of a H7N9 vaccine for humans to begin soon.

Development of a vaccine for Influenza A H7N9 is essential.

Influenza H7N9 still killing people


The number of deaths due to influenza H7N9 has now reached 35. China has had 34 deaths and Taiwan one death. The total number of confirmed cases is 130, giving a very high case fatality rate of 26.9%.

How to identfy the species of Strongyloides - case study


I have just added a case study of how to identify species of Strongyloides, a gastrointestinal worm, if free-living females are found in human faecal specimens. It is particularly important to be confident a patient has Strongyloides stercoralis since this species causes a life-long infection that can cause serious disease and even death occasionally.

See this page.

Image of Strongyloides free-living females from Miles Beaman.

Posted by Rick Speare

Dengue mosquito (Aedes aegypti) bites well in dry environments!


The latest publication from THS Director, Reinhold Muller - Aedes aegypti disregard humidity-related conditions with adequate nutrition - adds to the understanding of dengue epidemiology in the dry tropics.