The Ausgem research projects include:
- Identification of the basis of antibiotic resistance in key bacteria
- Identification of the mechanism for transfer of antibiotic resistance between key bacteria and the development of approaches to mitigate this
- Understanding the disease and mitigation strategies for pesti-virus infections of livestock
- Further characterisation of the BTVs present in Australia and the implications for disease control
- Better characterisation and management of pathogens affecting citrus plants
- Characterisation of infections of oysters and the mitigation of their risks to both oyster and human health.
Global Health Security
The term EID has become synonymous with new (newly recognised, previously unknown) infectious diseases (such as SARS which appeared suddenly and unexpectedly in 2003) or with known infections that are increasing in incidence, increasing geographically (such as the dengue viruses causing dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever) or expanding their host range (such as H5N1 avian influenza). Evidence clearly indicates an increase in the risks from Infectious diseases to humans, to animals, to plants and to the environment. The vast majority of such diseases are trans-boundary in nature and require both national and international approaches for their effective management.
|SARS (2003)||Cost to East Asia in excess of US$40 billion.
Global cost approximately US$60 billion
|Avian influenza||Direct economic cost currently more than US$20 billion|
|Nipah (1999)||Cost to Malaysia – estimated to be US$500 million|
|BSE||Cost to the UK – estimated to be US$7.5 billion|
|Bluetongue virus||France (2007): US$1.4 billion
Netherlands: US$85 million
Unites States: US$130 million annually
|Foot-and-mouth Disease (2001)||United Kingdom: US$35 billion|
|Equine influenza||Australia (2007): A$1 billion|
Protecting food production
The risks from pathogens found in our food have been known for many years and the early approaches dealt with managing these post farm-gate. By applying detection processes, both for infectious agents as well as chemical contamination, linked to food production processes, these risks were seen to have been managed. However the increasing impact of food borne pathogens such as Escherichia coli or Salmonella spp. along with the risk management challenges posed by BSE has led to whole of production chain approaches.
Combating antibiotic resistance
Increasingly important is the growing occurrence of antibiotic resistance in a range of different bacteria to a growing number of antibiotics. This is creating a major problem in diverse areas of human and animal health, as the availability of effective antibiotics diminishes. There are a number of underlying causes including misuse of antibiotic, their use as growth promoters in specialised livestock industries, in aquaculture and their widespread use in hospitals. Understanding the mechanisms of resistance development and the transfer of resistance factors across different bacteria genera is a major area of present research.