The Epidemiology Unit was established in 1998. Its primary objective is to identify trends in, and assess the impact of, infectious diseases of public health importance. The Unit also conducts applied public health research and works closely with diagnostic and research laboratory staff within VIDRL.
Important external collaborations have been established with the School of Population Health and the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, the Network of Infectious Diseases Modellers of Australia, the Burnet Institute, the Centre for International Child Health and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.
The major areas of activity of the Unit are
• Influenza surveillance and associated research
• Influenza pandemic preparedness
• National surveillance for patients aged 0-15 years presenting with acute flaccid paralysis as part of the WHO global polio eradication initiative
• Measles surveillance and associated research as part of the WHO global measles control initiative
• Surveillance for diseases caused by varicella zoster virus (chickenpox and shingles)
• Surveillance of sexually transmitted diseases
• Surveillance of laboratory confirmed tuberculosis
• Investigation into the epidemiology of hepatitis B virus infection in Victoria
• Sero-epidemiological studies including the development of novel approaches to laboratory-based serosurveys
• International health
• Test development and evaluation
• Quality assurance
• Post-graduate teaching and training