Science Media Centre

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Science in crises – some communications dos and don’ts

Peter Griffin posted in on February 10th, 2017.

This week I had the pleasure of attending part of a University of Otago symposium on infectious diseases and gave a short talk on the role the media can play in communicating risk and uncertainty in times of crisis. It was a fascinating afternoon, capped off with an excellent public lecture by visiting expert Professor […]

Pacific origins for Brazil Zika outbreak? – Expert Reaction

John Kerr posted in on April 13th, 2016.

The current Zika outbreak in Brazil may have had its origins in Polynesia, says new research speculating the virus was brought to South America by Pacific Island canoeing teams competing in Rio in 2014. The ongoing Zika outbreak in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, has been scrutinized by Brazilian and German scientists who have revealed its […]

Zika virus may be be carried by mosquito found in NZ – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on March 4th, 2016.

The Zika virus may be carried by a mosquito species found in New Zealand, according to preliminary results from Brazilian researchers. Reuters reports that scientists have shown Culex quinquefasciatus – a mosquito species found in New Zealand – can be infected with the Zika virus in the lab. The researchers said more studies are needed to […]

Possible sexual transmission of Zika virus – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on March 3rd, 2016.

The Ministry of Health has reported a case of possible sexual transmission of the Zika virus in New Zealand. A full release from the Ministry is available here. The SMC gathered the following expert commentary on the announcement. Prof Michael Baker, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, comments: “If confirmed, this possible case […]

Evidence for Zika – microcephaly link – Expert Reaction

John Kerr posted in on February 18th, 2016.

A new research article has provider further evidence for the link between the Zika virus and cases of microcephaly. The case study, published today in Lancet Infectious Diseases, analysed amniotic fluid samples from two pregnant women from the state of Paraíba in Brazil whose fetuses had been diagnosed with microcephaly – underdevelopment of the brain […]

Latest updates on Zika – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on February 5th, 2016.

As more Zika virus cases are reported in South America and the Pacific, media attention has turned to GM mosquitoes and the first  infection – a pregnant woman – reported in Europe. In Spain, health authorities have confirmed a pregnant woman recently returned from Columbia is infected with the virus. It is the first reported […]

Potential sexual transmission of Zika – Expert Reaction

John Kerr posted in on February 3rd, 2016.

A healthcare department in Dallas, Texas, USA, has reported a case of Zika virus infection acquired through sexual intercourse rather than mosquito bite. Officials at Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) have received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the first Zika virus case acquired through sexual transmission in […]

Updated: Zika virus outbreak – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on January 27th, 2016.

Concern over the current outbreak of the mosquito-spread Zika virus in the Americas is growing. The virus is likely to spread to all countries in the Americas except for Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization said yesterday. The US Centres for Disease Control currently lists 22 countries with active transmission of the virus, including […]

Ebola outbreak declared over – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on January 15th, 2016.

[UPDATE: Health officials in Sierra Leone have confirmed another death from Ebola, just hours after the World Health Organisation declared an end to the outbreak in West Africa – RNZ] The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the West African Ebola outbreak officially over. The WHO announcement is based in data which shows that for […]

Whooping cough spreads in South

John Kerr posted in on August 14th, 2015.

Increased rates of whooping cough in the South Island have authorities reminding parents of the importance of vaccinations. Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a contagious bacterial disease characterised by nasty and persistent bouts of coughing. The Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health, Marion Poore, told the Otago Daily Times that there had been 174 […]

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