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Diseases centre needed

Experts call for new disease control centre for Australia.

A new disease control agency is needed in Australia to combat rapidly evolving infectious diseases in future, health experts say.

Local and overseas public health experts are converging on Canberra today for the three-day Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) communicable diseases control conference.

PHAA chief executive Michael Moore said the focus of the biennial event was the establishment of an Australian centre for disease control (ACDC) to address the threat of new infectious diseases across the country and regionally.

"Australia has a track record of positive outcomes in disease control," Moore said before the event.

"However, the pressures of globalisation, travel and environmental change have resulted in a complex and rapidly evolving infectious disease agenda."

A greater capability is needed to deal with the threat than exists now, Moore said.

"Modern and future communicable disease threats require a much more robust response capability than can be delivered through current systems and many experts now believe a new agency is required.

"The aim of establishing an ACDC would be to provide strong central, expert-driven leadership and coordination of national communicable disease control."

A report on the issue of whether the agency is needed has been the subject of a report by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians' Australasian Faculty of Public Health.

AAP

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