In this issue

Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 3

Microbial Diseases and Products that Shaped World History

Vertical Transmission

We can expect to see the beginnings of some changes in ASM over the next couple of years, as work begun by my predecessors in this role begins to take shape.

Microbial diseases and products that shaped world history

Typhus, with its brothers and sisters: plague, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, has decided more campaigns than Caesar, Hannibal, Napoleon and all the inspector generals of history. Hans Zinsser 19351,2

A brief history of Australian microbiology

Acquired over a long period of time, Australia has an enviable record of involvement in the discipline of microbiology and continues to punch above its weight in terms of research output and translational outcomes. A comprehensive review of those involved, the characters and institutions, their achievements, successes and failures is far beyond the scope of this short article. So instead, a snapshot of a few of the interesting highlights from one person's perspective will be provided. I apologise in advance for any omission of your favourite st...

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.

Advancement of medical microbiology in Turkey and the Turkish Society for Microbiology

The history of Bacteriology in Turkey is also regarded as the history of Microbiology. As in many countries, advances in microbiology and its acceptance as a proper scientific field started in the second half of the 19th Century. The earliest work in the field of microbiology in Turkey was related to branches of medical, clinical and veterinary microbiology as expertise was cross-disciplinary111. This article will provide an overview of the hist...

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...


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 ...

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...

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.

Losses related to infectious diseases in the Turkish army during World War I

The lengthy period that encompasses the Balkan War (8 October 1912 to 29 September 1913), followed by WWI (28 July 1914 to 30 October 1918) fought by the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent Turkish War of Independence initiated by the secret arrival of the great leader Mustafa Kemal (in the Republican era Atatürk) at the Black Sea town of Samsun on 19 May 1919 came to an end with the signing of the Mudanya Agreement on 11 October 1922 and formally terminated with the Lausanne Agreement on 24 July 1923. Turks bravely fought at different front...

The fight against typhus in the Ottoman Army during WWI

Five major outbreaks were encountered in the armed forces: (1) typhoid fever; (2) typhus (Rickettsia spp.); (3) Borrelia reccurentis-induced relapsing fever; (4) dysentery; and (5) cholera. Infectious diseases had a devastating effect on Turkish soldiers and in particular typhus was one of the most recognised and widespread diseases throughout Ottoman Empire.

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...

History and eradication of smallpox in Turkey

Turkey has played a prominent role for the Western World in the prevention of disease from two different angles. The first is the İstanbul connection from where the variolation originated. The Ankara connection, on the other hand, provided the source for the modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) as both the third generation smallpox vaccine and the recombinant vector for modern day vaccine development. In this article, the history of disease and eradication efforts both in the Ottoman Empire and in the Republic era of Turkey will be...

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...

History of tuberculosis and tuberculosis control program in Turkey

Tuberculosis (TB) is debatably the most infectious disease with highest rate of causalities throughout human history. The Ottoman Empire also had the profound effect of the disease; however, following the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 effective TB control programs were implemented at times jointly with the WHO. From 1949 onwards, significant reduction in disease incidence and death rates in Turkey was recorded due to the significant efforts of the state and civil established Tuberculosis Associations. These successful T...

Holistic approach to infection control and healing: the Florence Nightingale story

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), with a life devoted to the care of the sick and wounded, is the founder of modern nursing. She was named after the city ‘Florence' in Italy where she was born. She belonged to a rich and aristocratic family in England and with the encouragement of her father she received education in mathematics, religion, history and philosophy of education, as well as the languages, Latin, German, French and Italian. Rejecting authority and religious dogmas, she became a pioneer of human rights movement, advocat...

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.

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 ...

Volume 35 Number 3

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