Murdoch Uni virologist sends warning to winter travellers about health risks in Asia

Murdoch University virologist Cassie Berry.
Murdoch University virologist Cassie Berry.

A MURDOCH University virologist is warning families about the health risks they face when heading away on winters breaks to Asia.

Professor Cassie Berry said there was an increasing occurrence of dangerous viruses being brought back to Australia from neighbouring tropical countries.

“We are seeing more and more travellers contracting viruses in South East Asia such as dengue fever, rabies, measles, hepatitis A, avian influenza and chikungunya,” Prof Berry said.

“Many of these illnesses could be prevented with a dose of good planning.”

Prof Berry said it was important for travellers to check with their doctor if they required vaccines for the areas they were travelling to a couple of months before departing.

She also said preventing insect bites and avoiding contact with bats and monkeys could help mitigate potentially serious health risks and that people were contracting preventable illnesses through swimming pools and by eating raw foods.

Prof Berry is giving a free presentation this Monday on the threats facing humans from some of the major viruses sweeping the planet.

“Recently, lessons have been learned from three major outbreaks of deadly viruses: Zika (2015-16), Ebola (2014-15) and pandemic Swine Flu (2009), which exploded across the globe,” she said.

“Certain viruses present a dangerous threat, especially when we have little or no immunity.

“Their transmission and ability to jump species has increased as people have moved these diseases from isolated places into cities.

“However we do have ways to stop the spread of some viruses, as vaccines can assist the frontline battle.

“My vision is to see a world protected from the silent spread of unleashed viruses by protecting people against their spread. Everybody needs to do their bit to enhance public health.”

Prof Berry’s talk ‘Virus Wars: Defeating the Invisible Enemy’ will be held 6pm June 12 at Murdoch University’s Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre.

Bookings are essential and can be made at

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