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The importance of public health genomics for ensuring health security for Australia

Deborah A Williamson, Martyn D Kirk, Vitali Sintchenko and Benjamin P Howden
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50063
Published online: 15 April 2019

Coordination is required to future‐proof Australia's capacity and leadership in public health genomics

Infectious diseases are an ever‐present risk to society, particularly because of globalisation and the threat of antimicrobial‐resistant organisms. Recently, a World Health Organization (WHO) team conducted a joint external evaluation of Australia's core capacities under the International Health Regulations. The evaluation gave Australia a high scorecard in all areas relevant to protecting health from emerging infectious disease threats.1 However, an area that the evaluation team highlighted for critical improvement was the integration of whole genome sequencing‐based surveillance into existing communicable diseases control systems in the Australian setting.1 While Australia scored highly for laboratory testing of priority diseases, the team recommended “integration of laboratory testing data with epidemiological data particularly in the context of whole genome sequencing”.1

  • Deborah A Williamson1
  • Martyn D Kirk2
  • Vitali Sintchenko3
  • Benjamin P Howden1

  • 1 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
  • 3 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW


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