Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson, Louise Delany, Prof Richard Edwards, Prof Philippa Howden-Chapman
The current national measles epidemic in New Zealand is amongst the largest we have experienced in the last 40 years. It can be linked to the problems created by long-term erosion and fragmentation of national public health capacity. Fortunately the present Health and Disability System Review provides an opportunity to describe and build the kind of public health capacity needed to manage measles, pandemics and other population health threats. We argue for consolidating a range of dispersed public health activities into a strong national agency, Public Health Aotearoa, to take responsibility for the multiple public health challenges faced by NZ.
Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Osman Mansoor, Prof Michael Baker
To help explain the concept of ‘herd immunity’, The Guardian Newspaper has produced a clever online simulator of measles spread. We comment on why this simulator is informative and how it also demonstrates chance effects in the spread of infectious diseases. Then we take the opportunity to explain why NZ should be doing more to wipe out diseases like measles.
Source: The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/society/ng-interactive/2015/feb/05/-sp-watch-how-measles-outbreak-spreads-when-kids-get-vaccinated
Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Megan Smith (UNSW Australia), Professor Tony Blakely
This blog looks at a study we just published on a cost-utility analysis around extending HPV vaccination to boys in NZ. In a nutshell, it is not currently cost-effective for boys. Here we put these results into a wider context of vaccination – which is often, but not always, a good use of limited health sector resources.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Professor Tony Blakely, Dr Amber Pearson, Dr Nisha Nair
In a just published study (and accompanying evaluation summary and media release), we found that the NZ Government’s investment in HPV vaccination for girls is clearly a “good value-for-money” way to protect health – even at the modest 47% coverage. Because of slightly higher coverage for Māori girls, and higher anticipated future HPV-related diseased rates, the programme makes a contribution to reducing health inequalities. But a more intensive school-only vaccination programme (73% coverage as in Australia) would achieve more health gain and still be cost-effective. In this blog we discuss these findings and how the country could catch-up to the much higher HPV vaccination coverage levels seen in Australia and the UK.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson and Professor Michael Baker
Crowding on this NZ troopship (the Tahiti) may have contributed to a particularly severe outbreak during the 1918 influenza pandemic
Flu pandemics are important but relatively rare so the lessons learned from such events may not be available when they are most needed. This is where historical research can help. Here we reflect on some lessons that could be learnt from the 1918 influenza pandemic – building on a presentation we are presenting today at a Victoria University based conference on World War One .