Current Articles

The historic effect of plague

As palaeopathology appears to have confirmed Yersinia pestis as the organism responsible for all three pandemics of plague (Justinian1,2, Black Death3 and Modern), arguments for the origin of the disasters have given way to debates on their effects. Records narrate the horrors but barely hint at historical results4. This article maintains each pandemic has had a lasting effect and, cumulatively, Y. pestis has been more influential than gun powder and could still be e...

John Whitehall     31-Jul-2014
Penicillin: World War II infections and Howard Florey

Howard Florey is celebrated for his major contributions to the large-scale production of the fungal product, penicillin, during World War II (WWII), leading to life-saving outcomes for many more than those with war wounds.

Ian Gust     16-Jun-2014
Impact of the 1918–19 influenza pandemic on the New Zealand Military and persisting lessons for pandemic control

We aimed to briefly review literature on the impact of the 1918–19 influenza pandemic on New Zealand's military forces in the First World War. Collectively, this work identified established risk factors, for example, relating to age, pre-existing chronic conditions, a relatively short time from enlistment to foreign service, and crowded conditions (e.g. in military camps and on a troop ship). But novel risk factors were also identified, e.g. larger chest size and relatively early year of military deployment. The historical experience als...

Nick Wilson, Jennifer Summers and Michael G Baker     16-Jun-2014
The Gallipoli gallop: dealing with dysentery on the ‘fringes of hell’

The Gallipoli campaign is a well recorded piece of New Zealand history, particularly remembered every year on ANZAC Day. Dealing with the seemingly hopeless task of facing an enemy in well entrenched positions on higher ground was made even more challenging by the appalling conditions the soldiers had to face in terms of addressing basic survival needs and dealing with infections. A particularly burdensome part of the latter was dysentery.

Steve Flint, Glyn Harper and Nick Wilson     16-Jun-2014

Influenza virus infection has probably shaped human populations for centuries, if not millennia. Novel influenza viruses formed by genetic reassortment of avian and mammalian viruses emerge sporadically and, if they have the necessary infectivity and transmissibility in humans, spread rapidly around the globe causing a pandemic. While mortality and morbidity varied widely between the pandemics of the last century, the loss of an estimated 50million lives in the most devastating pandemic of 1918–1919 has had a lasting global impact. Here ...

John S. Mackenzie, Anne Kelso and Alan W. Hampson     24-Jul-2014
The global eradication of smallpox and the work of Frank Fenner

The 1950s and 1960s represented a golden era in scientific discovery when many believed science would solve the world's greatest problems. It was the era when colour television was introduced and the role of DNA described, space programmes, the introduction of vaccines for polio, measles and mumps, and the structures of proteins began to be described. Many discoveries were controversial, but there was a strong belief science was taking the world forward and reducing medical problems rapidly. The Intensified Smallpox Eradication Program (ISEP) w...

CR Robert George and William Rawlinson     26-Aug-2014
Early developments in New Zealand Microbiology

The inception of Microbiology in New Zealand was, as elsewhere, strongly linked to the investigation of infectious diseases in humans. However, since the country's economy has always been firmly based on primary industries, the need to maintain animal and plant health was also a powerful early influence.

John Tagg, Frank Austin, Terry Maguire and Sandy Smith     01-Jul-2014
The Malaria War

The 25th of April is a national day to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), who gave their lives at Gallipoli during the First World War (WWI). The 25th of April has also been designated World Malaria Day by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is commemorated every year to bring awareness of deaths caused by malaria infection and global efforts to control infection. There is no coincidence that these two commemorative events are on the same day, as military campaigns suffered great burdens caused by mala...

Aya C Taki and Peter M Smooker     26-Aug-2014
5th Australasian Vaccine and Immunotherapeutics Development Meeting, 7–9 May 2014

The AVID meeting is held every 2 years bringing together immunologists, virologists, microbiologists and vaccinologists both nationally and internationally. The AVID committee acknowledge the support of the ASM as a major partner to this meeting, together with generous support from CSL, QIMR, Burnet Institute, Australasian Society for Immunology, EMBO, Immunology Group of Victoria (IgV) and trade partners Miltenyl Biotec, Millennium Science and PALL Life Sciences. The IgV coordinated their Master Class with the AVID conference allowing them to ...


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