Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases remain a significant public health concern and priority. In Australia and globally we face major challenges associated with emerging infectious, neglected tropical and zoonotic diseases; as well as bloodborne viruses, sexually transmissible infections, and antimicrobial resistance. These risks pose considerable challenges for local, regional and global health systems.

Our researchers are at the forefront of the infectious diseases field, with expertise spanning epidemiology, surveillance, health services and policy.

Infectious diseases cause significant disease burden globally, but disproportionately affect certain populations, often those in low-resource settings. It is crucial for Australia to build local and regional capacity to respond to emerging and existing threats. Optimisation of surveillance and infection control strategies is needed to enable prediction and detection of outbreaks and their drivers, and improve understanding of elements that influence the effectiveness of infection control practices. Our researchers are leaders in developing practical, user-friendly decision support systems that are needed to translate evidence into action.

In the area of infectious disease, our researchers are passionate about improving access to health services. We bring to this specific expertise in health inequalities, social determinants of health, with a focus on priority communities such as Indigenous peoples, and culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Our work spans research on program design, implementation and evaluation of health services and policy to optimise health protection. For example, our work in drug-resistant infections aims to identify and prioritise future directions for antimicrobial stewardship; and in the study of One Health we aim to improve global health security by exploring and understanding the driving factors of infectious disease transfer from animals to humans.

Infectious diseases continue to be a major health issue in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. While Australia as a whole is rated a low-risk country by global standards, sub-groups of our population also remain at high risk for some bloodborne infections; and people living in particular geographical regions are at risk of certain vector borne diseases.

  • In the area of bloodborne viruses, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, our researchers aim to understand the lived experience of priority populations to determine the best approaches to prevention, testing, treatment and harm reduction.
  • Many vector borne (via animals or insects) infectious diseases are preventable through protective measures and community mobilisation. Our researchers use epidemiology, mapping, surveillance and trial elimination strategies to answer practical questions for clinical management and public health prevention.