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ICYMI: pandemic negotiations, self-determination and environmental destruction

Introduction by Croakey: This week we bring news on the avian influenza outbreak, World Health Organization Pandemic Agreement and the devastating destruction of valuable habitat and woodlands on Larrakia Country, Northern Territory.

We also report on new Indigenous research and sexual health resources.

The Conference Watch section features a selection of tweets from the Preventive Health Conference and National Suicide Prevention Conference, highlighting discussions on the commercial determinants of health, artificial intelligence and cultural safety.

The quotable?

Up there in the canopy, can you hear the birdsong?”


Not “nature positive”

Independent Senator David Pocock has called for reform of Australia’s national environmental laws as land clearing commenced this week at Darwin’s Lee Point, on Larrakia Country, to make way for a Federal Government-owned Defence housing development.

Link to video on X/Twitter

Government failing to protect

Torres Strait Traditional Owners Paul Kabai and Pabai Pabai will deliver their closing arguments this week “seeking orders from the court that require the Federal Government to take steps to prevent further harm to their communities, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the best available science”.

At time of publication, no verdict had been delivered.

NIT: Traditional Owners’ legal bid for climate justice
ABC: Residents of climate change-affected communities support Torres Strait Islanders in landmark federal court case

Avian influenza

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued advice that pasteurisation is effective in inactivating the H5N1 virus.

StatNews: Pasteurization inactivates H5N1 bird flu in milk, new FDA and academic studies confirm

Professor Devi Sridhar, Chair in Global Public Health, at University of Edinburgh, shared her takeaways about the avian influenza outbreak on X/Twitter following attendance at several briefings:

  1. 36 herds in 9 separate U.S. states now have confirmed H5N1. These seem to all have originated from 1 cow getting infected and then virus spreading cow to cow. First time avian flu detected in cattle.
  2. One dairy farm worker is confirmed to be infected from a cow. Samples were taken and tested against current antivirals & vaccine candidates in the U.S. Medical counter-measures look effective.
  3. This is a serious virus for humans. Since 2023, 889 confirmed cases have resulted in 463 deaths globally – roughly a 52% case fatality rate.
  4. Some species have mild to asymptomatic disease with H5N1 (ducks and cows) while in others the virus is quite lethal (chickens and cats).
  5. Other countries should be doing surveillance (ie testing) in their cattle populations- just to have line of sight on the virus if it’s present or not. If a U.S. cow got H5N1 from infected birds, this could be happening anywhere in the world. We know H5N1 has been detected in birds all across the globe.
  6. The risk is still low to the general public. Those in close contact with cattle/poultry/farms are current focus. But this risk assessment would change if there is human to human transmission esp unrelated chains. This would require several mutations in H5N1.

Read previous recent editions of ICYMI and The Health Wrap for more on avian influenza.


Pand