Due to the large outbreaks and threats occuring by malaria; scientists join hands to protect Australia from growing threat of infectious disease. Initiating better protect and rapidly respond to the growing global risk of emergent infectious diseases which can spread to humans through animals and insects. Increased surveillance of wildlife, improving disease monitoring; and more extensive field-basing sampling are some of the initiatives being targeting by the new project.
Northern Australia is at increased risk of infectious diseases found in South East Asia because of its close proximity to Asia, potentially providing a gateway to the rest of Australia. Australia’s susceptibility is also increased because of global mobility, growing trade, increased urbanisation leading to human encroachment into wildlife habitats, expanding agricultural development including the rise of peri-urban farming, as well as environmental and land use changes.
Threat of infectious disease
This collaboration will create an integrated northern and southern research capability that will be pivotal in helping to strengthen Australia’s preparedness and response to emerging infectious diseases. The global annual incidence of zoonotic infectious disease outbreaks; has increased by more than 300% since the 1980s; This worrying trend is now seeing as a global and national health security risk; with recent global outbreaks include Ebola virus disease; highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu); and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Commitment to collaboration
But bringing together world-class capabilities from the north and south of Australia; the program will connect JCU’s College of Public Health, Medicinal and Veterinary Sciences in Townsville with two CSIRO facilities; but the Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Precinct (ATSIP) in Townsville and the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong.
However, JCU and CSIRO will share knowledge and training opportunities to foster an agile team of experts able to respond rapidly to emerging infectious disease events in the future. But the CSIRO Board met in Townsville this week and welcomed the announcement. CSIRO Chair; David Thodey AO, said CSIRO’s wide-ranging expertise, broad geographical footprint; and commitment to collaboration can connect knowledge and research capability from Northern Australia to Victoria for the benefit of the whole country.