Infectious diseases

Peter J McDonald
Med J Aust 2002; 176 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2002.tb04256.x
Published online: 7 January 2002

Recent years have seen the continuing emergence of new infectious diseases and the re-emergence of old ones. However, there have also been major advances in diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, as well as in our understanding of their pathogenesis. Future control of these diseases will require attention to the behavioural, environmental and healthcare factors that drive microbial evolution. For example, the "epidemic" of injecting drug use promotes HIV spread; Legionnaires' disease is "opportunistic" on air-conditioning and water-treatment systems; and immunosuppressive therapies and medical instruments that are difficult to sterilise (eg, endoscopes and phaco-emulsification handpieces) create opportunities for new infections.

  • Flinders Institute for Health Research, Flinders University of South Australia, Bedford Park, SA.

  • 1. United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS. Declaration of commitment on HIV/AIDS. 2 August 2001. (Accessed Dec 2001) <>
  • 2. Law MG on behalf of the Hepatitis C Virus Projections Working Group. Modelling the hepatitis C virus epidemic in Australia. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 1999; 14: 1100-1107.
  • 3. Freeman AJ, Dore GJ, Law MG, et al. Estimating progression to cirrhosis in chronic hepatitis C virus infection. Hepatology 2001; 34: 809-816.


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