Thankfully there are signs that the horrific outbreak of ebola virus disease that has ravaged west Africa is abating. NSW has so far been spared cases, but preparedness remains vital, not only to provide confidence to health workers and the broader community that effective control systems are in place should a case present in NSW, but to ensure ongoing protection from other nasty infections that may come our way. The list of these varies over the years as new diseases emerge, and includes viral haemorrhagic fever aside from ebola (lassavirus, Crimea-Congo), novel strains of influenza, SARS and MERS.
In the meantime health protection work continues locally, with recent high rates of Ross River virus infections on the North Coast, unusually early influenza activity, local incursions of measles, a new program of free whooping cough vaccine to pregnant women, enhanced monitoring and work to ensure safe drinking water during the recent coastal floods, and working across government on understanding and managing potential health risks associated with development and asbestos.
In this edition we review MERS, describe an innovation to improve immunisation rates in Aboriginal children, celebrate 25 years of public health units, and test your skills with the usual gaggle of quizzes.