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Polio is still not adequately controlled in Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Wen-Yan King/Flickr

Explainer: ridding the world of polio

Polio (poliomyelitis) is a viral disease that can lead to incurable paralysis. The World Health Organisation is coordinating a programme to eradicate this disease from the face of the earth, and we are…
Bottled and ready to go. NIAID/SGK Handout

Why we need volunteers for the first human Ebola trials

The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has emerged rapidly and evolved with alarming ease. An unprecedented number of lives have been lost and WHO predictions are that the virus will infect in excess…
A very simple answer to suffering. Ascom

Race against time to prevent deadly spread of polio

Poliomyelitis is a devastating, highly infectious viral disease. It is spread from person to person or through poor sanitary conditions. It can kill those infected or result in permanent paralysis to the…
A child is vaccinated against polio during a three-day nationwide campaign to eradicate polio, in Karachi, Pakistan, May 2014. EPA/SHAHZAIB AKBER

CIA stops fake vaccination programs, but will it matter?

The US government has told a group of local health educators that it will no longer use immunisation programs as a cover for espionage. But the damage from previous such programs is difficult to undo…
A new oral drug could help reduce the spread of measles. Destinys Agent/Flickr

Scientists hold hope for new measles drug

A new oral antiviral drug may be a future tool in the global fight against measles, according to a new international study…
Many adults missed out on vaccines that are routinely given to children today. Shutterstock

Health Check: when do adults need to be immunised?

Most of us will receive the majority of our vaccinations in childhood. But Australian adults still die and become disabled from vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunisations are therefore an important preventive…
Any action taken at the community level should start with acknowledging that parents want the best for their children. Bridget Coila/Flickr

Why do people not vaccinate?

The National Health Performance Authority’s report on childhood vaccination coverage released this morning shows immunisation rates have slightly increased in 2011-2012. But there are still some areas…

DIY flu vaccine takes form of painless patch

A painless do-it-yourself injection device may make the flu vaccine more popular, research shows. The patch contains a micro-needle…
A little bit of pain is a worthwhile price for child health and community well-being. Sarah Gilbert

Vaccinations are a vital part of ethical ‘alternative’ lifestyles

Often cited as one of the most important medical breakthroughs in human history, immunisation has been a hallmark of public health interventions for more than 200 years. Globally, an estimated 2.5 million…
Armed conflict remains the major obstacle to ridding the world of this devastating disease. James Gordon, Los Angeles.

Syria’s polio outbreak is a global public health emergency

As if the children of Syria had not suffered enough, the news of an outbreak of polio (poliomyelitis) signals that even more suffering lies ahead. The polio virus invades the nervous system and can kill…
Open wide. Muhammed Muheisen/AP/PA

War, conflict and distrust threaten fight against polio

The World Health Organisation has launched a huge immunisation programme to tackle the first suspected cases of polio in Syria for 14 years. War in the country has seriously affected health services and…
In the meantime, use your hanky. David Jones/PA

A universal flu vaccine is still some time off

After standing in line for the latest year’s flu jab one might wonder why all this in necessary. The answer lies in the flu virus itself and its ability to rapidly evolve and avoid the human immune system…

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