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Benefits from mining in Papua New Guinea – where do they go?

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The National Research Institute (NRI) has published an interesting study of the economic benefits from the Porgera Gold Mine over its lifetime, see NRI Discussion Paper No 124, Peter Johnson, Lode Shedding: A Case Study of the Economic Benefits to the Landowners, The Provincial Government, and the State from the Porgera Gold Mine, Background and financial flows.

Vets and horse owners need to work together to prevent Hendra virus spillovers

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Cartoon by Ken Miller to illustrate horse owners ignoring veterinary instructions (Mendez et al 2012).

Torres Strait Australia-PNG border: Hot spot for Emerging Infectious Diseases

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In a paper just published online in Environmental International the authors (which includes THS Director, Rick Speare) make the case that the Australia-Papua New Guinea border in Torres Strait is critical for Australia's biosecurity. Entry of emerging infectious diseases is much more likely via this Indo-Papuan conduit than elsewhere in Australia.

2012 Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference

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THS Director, Rick Speare, gave the opening address at the Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference being held in Townsville 16-20 July. The lecture was titled Adventures in wildlife disease research: from benign curiosities to global epidemics.

Nigeria has the most polio cases

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Three countries remain endemic for polio: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Nigeria sadly leads with 40 cases this year. Pakistan has had 19 cases and Afghanistan 10. Globally there have been 73 cases of polio caused by wild polio viruses. The 4th Round of the Immunisation Plus Days has just started in the north of Nigeria.

Influenza in unvaccinated people trending up

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Flutracking shows that cases of influenza-like illness are starting to trend up as Australia enters winter. The increase is greatest for those not vaccinated against influenza. This highlights the value of receiving the flu vaccine.

The predominant circulating strains are influenza A (H3N2) viruses, the most isolated being A/Victoria/361/2011-like. The "swine flu" strain has decreased markedly. The current 2012 season influenza vaccine contains the following: A (H1N1): A/California/7/2009, A (H3N2): A/Perth/16/2009, and B: B/Brisbane/60/2008.

Hot from the Australian Society for Microbiology 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting

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What's in a name? West Nile Virus is in Australia
West Nile Virus (WNV), a flavivirus spread by mosquitoes, and now a serious global emerging infectious disease, is finally in Australia. In fact it has been here since 1960, but disguised as Kunjin virus! Dr Roy Hall in a fascinating presentation on 4 July clarified the taxonomy of the West Nile Viruses.

First THS MHFA course successful

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THS has completed its first MHFA course at the new Mater Education Centre. Feedback received from participants:

"Very informative and enjoyable. Excellent presenters, always mindful of people's personal experiences and possible adverse feelings and reactions to any shared information."

"I have more confidence that I can be helpful if exposed to a person suffering a mental illness."

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