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Infectious diseases — sometimes out of sight, never out of mind

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Created 4 years before the first issue of the MJA, de Trye-Maison’s lithograph (front cover) captures the sense of fear and desperation that infectious disease provoked then and still does today — consider society’s response to HIV/AIDS or the recrudescence of polio in war-torn Syria. As the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases will soon hold its annual conference, this issue of the Journal includes articles on this theme.

While its remoteness may have spared Australia from northern hemisphere outbreaks of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), it was inevitable that serious strains would reach our shores. But, as Johnson and Stuart note, our surveillance has paid dividends. Slimings and colleagues report that CDI, once considered mostly hospital-acquired, is becoming more common in the community, a finding similar to overseas trends.

Surveillance and vigilance are essential, although not always successful. Worth and colleagues show that continuous surveillance for Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection in Victorian hospitals has been effective,…

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