Program lead: Dr Alex Rosewell
Dr Anita Heywood, Dr Holly Seale, Dr Rob Menzies, Dr David Muscatello, Dr Abrar Chugtai, Prof Raina MacIntyre
Students: Dr Amit Saha
An outbreak occurs when a disease arises in greater numbers than expected in a community or region or during a season. An outbreak may occur in one community or even extend to several countries, lasting from days to years. An epidemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads rapidly to many people. For example, Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa as recent as 2016. A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. For example, there have been a number of influenza pandemics, including Spanish influenza (1918), Hong Kong influenza (1968) and H1N1 (2009).
UNSW VIRL has great strength in international outbreak response, and is a member of WHO's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. Many of our staff and students work extensively internationally and deploy to international epidemics. Vaccines are a key strategy in epidemic control, and can be used acutely in many epidemics such as measles, hepatitis A and varicella.
We are also part of a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Epidemic Control, ISER, which conducts research on epidemic control and response. UNSW is also a founding member of the ARM network, a national network for epidemic response. UNSW VIRL supports vaccination research that aims to curb the burden of such international health outbreaks.