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Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 4

Vertical Transmission

In this issue of Microbiology Australia, the guest editors Martyn Jeggo and John Mackenzie have assembled an excellent series of contributions around the important concept of "One Health". This is a relatively new label for what is essentially a more holistic view of health that has been around for a very long time.

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One Health: its recent evolution and driving issues

Global health security has become a major concern, particularly the threats to human and animal health from the emergence and re-emergence of epidemic-prone infectious diseases, as well as the significant and growing impact of these outbreaks on national and international economies. It has long been known that many of these diseases can cross the species barrier between humans, wildlife and domestic animals, and indeed over 70% of novel emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, that is, have their origins in animal reservoirs. There have been ...

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The Concept of One Health - a holistic approach

One Health is a global movement of practitioners and policy-makers to support a better understanding of the ecology of diseases at the animal–human–ecosystem interface. Globally, diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1 HPAI) have resulted in significant human fatalities, animal deaths and multi-billion dollar impacts. Recent disease events in Australia also highlight the complexity of these issues, in particular, the outbreaks of Hendra virus i...

The importance of a One Health approach to public health and food security in Australia – a perspective from the Chief Medical Officer

I have had the privilege of being Australia’s Chief Medical Officer for the past 18 months, which has given me a unique perspective on a range of health-related matters. My role is to provide advice to the Minister and the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) including input to the development and administration of major health reforms for all Australians and ensuring the development of evidence-based public health policy. I am responsible for the DoHA’s Office of Health Protection and I chair the Australian Health Protection Principal Commit...

The role of One Health in understanding and controlling zoonotic diseases in Australia

One Health recognises that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems is intimately connected. One Health involves a coordinated, collaborative, multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach to addressing a wide range of potential or existing risks at the animal–human–ecosystem interface. Globally, a surge in emerging infectious diseases and their associated costs to society over the last 15 years has reignited interest in the idea that human health is linked to animals and our shared environment. In 2004 at the meeting Building Interdiscipli...

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Bats as a source of emerging zoonotic diseases – the interface with wildlife

Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are defined as infections that have newly appeared in a population or have undergone a rapid change in incidence or geographic location. Since the 1940s, more than 300 EIDs have been recorded, most of which are viruses. Approximately 75% of human EIDs originated from animals. Of all the EIDs, zoonoses from wildlife represent the most significant threat to human health. Zoonotic EIDs have been identified in a variety of wildlife animals, including ungulates, carnivores, rodents, primates, bats and other mammal...

Bats as a source of emerging zoonotic diseases – the interface with wildlife Leptospirosis – importance of a One Health approach

The term leptospirosis represents a spectrum of human and veterinary diseases caused by pathogenic serovars of the spirochaete genus Leptospira. It is of global significance as a cause of human mortality and morbidity, and of disease in domestic and production animals and in wildlife. A One Health approach to leptospirosis control is essential because human infection almost invariably results either from direct animal exposure or from exposure to environments contaminated by infected animals. The relationships between human and veterinary lepto...

Hydatid disease – still a global problem

Hydatid disease (cystic echinococcosis) remains highly prevalent and a serious cause of human morbidity and mortality in many parts of the world. While there are some regions where the disease has been controlled, most efforts to control transmission of the parasite have had limited success. Recent genetic data indicate that Echinococcus granulosus, which was formally thought to be a single species, comprises a number of distinct species. The vast majority of human infections are caused by the most common genotype which is generally transmitted...

Ross River virus - at the interface between humans, animals and the environment

Ross River virus (RRV) is the most common cause of mosquito-borne illness in Western Australians. The virus is maintained in nature principally via transmission between competent mosquito vectors and native (marsupial) vertebrate hosts, although humans are suspected of being amplifiers of RRV in some situations. The influence of prevailing environmental conditions on the ecology of RRV has been extensively documented. Indeed, monitoring of environmental variables, together with vector mosquito populations and infection rates with RRV, now provi...

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Clostridium difficile infection: the next big thing!

Clostridium difficile causes infectious diarrhoea in humans and animals. It has been found in pigs, horses, and cattle, suggesting a potential reservoir for human infection, and in 20–40% of meat products in Canada and the USA, suggesting the possibility of food-borne transmission. It is likely that excessive antimicrobial exposure is driving the establishment of C. difficile in animals, in a manner analogous to human infection, rather than the organism just being normal flora of the animal gastrointestinal tract. Outside Australia, PCR ribotyp...

Eliminating bovine tuberculosis from Australia

Mycobacterium bovis, the causative organism of bovine tuberculosis (TB), has a worldwide distribution. Australia, like most developed countries, recognised the zoonotic risk of bovine TB, and embarked on state control programs to minimise the incidence of disease in cattle in the 1960s and a national campaign to eradicate the disease in 1970. Veterinarians, physicians and many other different disciplines worked cooperatively in Australia to understand and solve the problem; perhaps a very early example of the One Health concept in action.

Hendra virus – a One Health success story

Zoonoses account for 60% of emerging diseases threatening humans. Wildlife are the origin of an increasing proportion of zoonoses over recent decades to a point where they now account for 75% of all zoonoses. Concurrently and/or consequentially, there has been an increasing recognition of the inter-connectedness of wildlife, livestock and human health, and increasing momentum of an ecosystem-level approach (most commonly termed One Health) to complex emerging disease scenarios. This paper describes the evolution and application of such an appro...

Q fever

Q fever is a zoonosis caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii. North Queensland has some of the highest rates of Q fever notifications in Australia. The clinical diagnosis of Q fever can be difficult with non-specific symptoms. Up to 5% of cases will develop chronic Q fever with a high likelihood of endocarditis. Diagnosis is essentially by serology. In North Queensland cases have clustered in relatively new, semi-rural suburbs which lie adjacent to native bushland. Native mammals are attracted to new growth in these cl...

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Avian influenza and the implication for human infection

Highly pathogenic avian influenza due to H5N1 virus has decimated poultry flocks throughout the eastern hemisphere and resulted in over 600 human infections. Despite the H5N1 virus being endemic in several Asian countries, with ongoing human exposure and infection, efficient human-to-human transmission has not been reported. There is much concern over the pandemic potential of this virus should this transmissibility develop due to its widespread circulation, continued evolution and recent research showing relatively few mutations are needed for...

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Cat scratch disease in Australia

Companion animals such as cats are important for their health benefits. However, one of the risks of bringing cats into the household is cat scratch disease (CSD), with kittens or stray cats posing the highest risk. CSD is a clinical syndrome caused mainly by Bartonella henselae and is characterised by regional lymphadenopathy in patients with a history of close cat contact within three months of onset of symptoms. In most cases, CSD is a benign, self-limited infection, with more severe infections occurring only rarely in immunocompetent people...

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How rapidly do pathogens decay in sewage sludge treatment?

Can sewage sludge be treated for shorter times than those currently required by national regulations? Key plant nutrients are lost by long-term storage of biosolids. Shorter treatment times are desirable, provided microbiological safety is assured. We have, therefore, investigated decay times of key pathogens present in raw sewage.

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ASM Affairs, December 2012

Science meets Parliament 2012; Zoonoses Conference 2012; Millis-Colwell Award; Culture Media SIG

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Science meets Parliament 2012

Millis Colwell Award

Culture Media SIG

My FASM Experience


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