Denmark and Sweden boost defence ties to fight Russian cyber-attacks | World news

Denmark and Sweden are to boost defence cooperation to counter what they described as a growing threat from Russia, including from “dangerous” fake news campaigns and cyber-attacks, the two countries’ defence ministers have said.

Peter Hultqvist of Sweden and Claus Hjort Frederiksen of Denmark said in a statement before a meeting in Stockholm that Russian hybrid warfare – cyber-attacks, disinformation and fake news – could create uncertainty.

When nations “cannot clearly distinguish false news and disinformation from what is true, we become increasingly unsafe”, the ministers said, adding: “We have both been exposed to forms [of this] and want to better defend our societies in this area.”

This year Stockholm’s Institute of International Affairs accused Russia of using fake news, false documents and disinformation in a coordinated campaign to influence public opinion and decision-making in Sweden.

The study said Sweden had been the target of “a wide array of active measures” including misleading reports on Russian state-run news networks and websites, forged documents, fabricated news items and “troll armies”.

Moscow’s main aim was to “preserve the geo-strategic status quo” by minimising Nato’s role in the wider Baltic region and keeping Sweden out of the international military alliance, the study said.

Hultqvist and Frederiksen said the two countries would also increase more traditional forms of military cooperation, citing the increased presence of Russian naval vessels in the Baltic and airspace violations by Russian military aircraft.

“We already have good cooperation with Sweden and the other Nordic countries, but believe we can expand this more,” Frederiksen said. “We need to stand together when we have an unreasonable Russia moving into the Crimea and building up in our immediate neighbourhood.”

Joint exercises and more cross-border exchanges of military and intelligence expertise would follow, he added.

In January, after accusations that Russian hackers had interfered with the US presidential election, Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven, told a national defence conference that he could not rule out Russia trying to influence the next Swedish elections, due in 2018.

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Chauffeur a core laga auto atras despues di persecucion

Net prome cu mey anochi, polis tabata core tras di un auto. Nan a duna señal pa para, pero esaki a dicidi di huy. Di un manera of otro, e conductor a drenta den cura di un cas na Sero Cristal, cu consecuencia cu el a tras di auto di e doño di cas. E chauffeur a baha for di e auto y a sigui su caminda. E auto, cual tabata un mazda a wordo confisca y hiba na warda di polis.

WEB
Wendys
Banco di Caribe

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9 awesome reasons to spend your Erasmus year in Spain

Some 40,000 Erasmus students come to Spain each year. Photo: Pedro Armestre / AFP

It’s a new school year and that means a whole new intake of Erasmus students will flood into Spain. Here’s what makes Spain the most popular destination for students on the European exchange programme.

1. Cheap

First things first, Spain is still in recovery from the recession which blighted southern Europe, but there is a bright side.  Food and drink can be ridiculously cheap. Your day to day life of buying fruit and veg and going out with your friends to have a copa or caña will be substantially cheaper than what you’re used to – so do your part in helping the Spanish economy and take that wad of newly exchanged euros to the nearest tapas bar.  


Photo: Corie Howell / Flickr

2. Learn in English 

Plenty of university courses are offered in both English and Spanish, so don’t worry if you’re not coming from a languages programme. On the other hand, learning the local language is always a plus and Spain has fantastic language exchange networks, meaning that there are possibilities to meet like-minded Spaniards after native English speakers every night. If you don’t decide to take a Spanish course whilst at your university, classes in local academies can be refreshing alternatives that often include social nights like bar-crawls and sight-seeing.

3. Lots to explore

The formidable size of the Iberian peninsula – at 505,990 km2, it’s the second largest country in the European Union – means that you’ll never be bored in Spain. It is home to a range of different climates and regions all with their own unique personalities; compare the green mountains of Galicia to the arid plains of Andalucía. Take advantage of Spain’s cheap transport fairs as well as coach company ALSA with which you can collect points and lessen the cost of travel each time you go.  

4. Earn extra cash

Still worried you’d be strapped for cash? As a native English speaker, your teaching potential is worth its weight in gold. With the current job climate, many Spaniards are taking the incentive to learn English to boost their employment prospects. It might be worth getting a TEFL certificate because it means you can charge more, and these courses can be done online or at a centre in the UK or Spain.

5. Lots and lots of saints

Whilst the majority of the Spanish public no longer regularly practice Catholicism, the faith shows no signs of dwindling when it comes to ferias and fiestas, and you’ll have plenty of days off because of them. Saints’ days are major affairs in Spain – as much as Easter and Christmas – and they often come with their own unique foods, music and, of course, reckless hedonism. During the day, saints are taken for a walk in elaborate processions followed by crazy partying until well into the night.


Photo: Michalo / Flickr

6. Outdoor binge drinking

Spain is home of the botellón, a practice which sees young people gather in parks or squares to drink and smoke. Grannies pass through with their trolleys to sell you beer and at massive occasions like Gay Pride, the botellon spills out into the streets and the police simply turn a blind eye.  

7. Free museums

Spain’s track record for artistic output is often outshone by that of Italy and France. However, its art houses and museums hold some of Europe’s finest work and Spanish artists have been pioneers of European movements of realism, surrealism and cubism. Armed with your student card, you can see plenty of exhibitions for absolutely nothing, and if you’re a real art lover then many museums often offer student rates for membership.  


Photo: Jon Jackson / Flickr

8. Long holidays

Spain’s interior cities shut down for August as everybody flees the hellish heat to go to the beach. As an Erasmus student, by this point you’ll have tonnes of friends with which you can roadtrip to the coast and revel in the summer fiestas. Travelling to cities not on the coast at this time is essentially sunstroke-suicide, so use Easter and Christmas holidays to do a bit more travelling in inner Spain – why not go skiing in the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada?

9. Spaniards

Last – but by no means least – you’re going to acquire lots of Spanish friends and if you are lucky you might even achieve the ultimate Erasmus dream of a Spanish boyfriend / girlfriend. Nothing quite says ‘cultural immersion’ like falling in love with a Spaniard, meeting their parents and navigating the trials and tribulations of a Mediterranean relationship. Who knows – maybe they’ll make you decide to stick around a bit more, and your Erasmus year in sun-kissed Spain will slowly turn into the rest of your life. Tempting, no?


Photo: Gregory Jordan / Flickr

Compiled by Sophia Smith Galer

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Homber ta wordo maltrata y atraca cerca di House of Cheng

Diahuebs, pa mas of menos 3’or y 20 di marduga, a drenta informacion cu un persona lo a keda maltrata y atraca, riba e caminda entre Olde Molen y House of Cheng.

WEB
Wendys
Banco di Caribe

Desconocidonan, di un manera of otro a malogra e pober homber aki y a bay cu tur su pertenencianan. Tanto polis como ambulance tabata na e sitio. E victima a wordo hiba hospital, pa asina ricibi tratamento medico avansa.

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La sanidad privada lanza un plan urgente para comenzar 2018 sin listas de espera | Compañías

La sanidad privada pasa a la acción. A partir de hoy, las empresas hospitalarias y aseguradoras van a presentar al Gobierno y a las autonomías un plan de choque para acabar con las listas de espera del sistema público. Las compañías ofrecen todos sus recursos y se comprometen a terminar con las listas de espera quirúrgicas el 1 de enero de 2018. Y dan una cifra de lo que costaría esa propuesta a las arcas públicas: 1.500 millones de euros.

Las compañías canalizan esta propuesta a través de la Fundación Idis, una asociación que agrupa a los mayores grupos hospitalarios y de seguros del país. En esta institución, por ejemplo, están presentes Quirónsalud, Vithas (que a su vez controla Nisa), HM Hospitales, Hospitén y Ribera Salud. Entre las aseguradoras destacan Adeslas, Asisa, Caser, Axa, DKV, IMQ, Mapfre y Sanitas.

Actualmente existen 614.100 pacientes en lista de espera quirúrgica en España, con datos del Ministerio de Sanidad a diciembre de 2016, lo que supone un incremento del 38% respecto a seis meses antes. El tiempo en que los ciudadanos aguardan a ser operados alcanza los 115 días. El sector privado ha decidido este plan de choque urgente en vista de esos malos resultados.

“A las cifras me remito. En lugar de reducirse las listas de espera, han seguido aumentándose. Hay que buscar medidas de choque y tomar decisiones para dejar de hacer que funcione”, adelanta Manuel Vilches, director general de la Fundación Idis. Este lobby de la sanidad privada ha calculado el coste de 1.500 millones en base a su experiencia y extrapolación de los costes de las patologías más frecuentes. La asociación apunta a que el mayor volumen de operaciones provendrían en los campos de cirugía general, traumatología y oftalmología.

Actualmente el sistema público cuenta con conciertos con el sector privado por 7.364 millones, según datos de la OCDE de 2016. De los casi 100.000 millones de gasto sanitario en España, alrededor de 29.000 millones corresponde al sector privado. La mayor empresa hospitalaria es Quirónsalud –adquirida por el grupo alemán Fresenius–, seguido de Vithas y Asisa.

Las compañías ponen así a disposición del Sistema Nacional de Salud sus 2.000 quirófanos, casi 100.000 profesionales, 452 hospitales y 51.000 camas. La propuesta se enmarca como un plan a realizar una sola vez. La inversión equivaldría a una dotación extraordinaria del 1,5% sobre el gasto total de la sanidad, una competencia transferida a las autonomías.

Este plan supondría evidentemente un incremento del negocio del sector privado, aunque desde esta asociación se asegura que alrededor de 450 millones retornarían a las Administraciones vía impuestos (IVA, IRPF y Sociedades). “No es una inversión excesiva. Equivale a un mes del gasto farmacéutico o a un 10% del coste anual por secuelas del tabaquismo”, afirma el responsable de la fundación. Incluso asevera que para las compañías no va a suponer un salto grande en beneficios, porque los precios estarán muy ajustados. “Tenemos un coste sensiblemente inferior a la sanidad pública”.

La asociación empresarial cree que técnicamente es factible poner a cero el contador de listas de espera en cuatro meses, aunque reconoce que la burocracia y la variabilidad en cada comunidad autónoma puede retrasar la aplicación de su propuesta.

“El entorno político para esta medida no es favorable”, reconoce el propio Vilches. A las diferencias entre comunidades, se podría sumar la reticencia de la izquierda política a dar un mayor peso al sector privado. “Nosotros creemos que hay que dejar a un lado la ideología en la sanidad y los apriorismos políticos. Somos el único país en Europa en que se discute sobre la titularidad de la sanidad y no sobre la calidad”, opina.

La puesta en marcha de esta actuación permitiría la eliminación de la lista de espera en pocos meses, si se incrementa el número de operaciones (de tres a cuatro) en la red privada de hospitales, según Idis. “Es una propuesta que hemos trabajado mucho”, apunta su director general. “Esto se hace por el máximo bien para el paciente. La salud es una de las mayores preocupaciones de los españoles. Con esto queremos dar un paso adelante”, apunta.

En los próximos días, la asociación va a pedir citas con Dolors Montserrat, ministra de Sanidad, y con los responsables autonómicos. Además, están presentando la propuesta a las asociaciones de pacientes, a la Organización Médica Colegial y esperan contar con el apoyo de la patronal CEOE.

Respecto a las listas de espera quirúrgicas, el problema es especialmente preocupante en comunidades como Canarias (182 días de demora), Cataluña (173), Castilla-La Mancha (162) y Extremadura (134).

En el caso de las áreas más afectadas, por número de pacientes, en traumatología aguardan a ser operados 175.257 ciudadanos. En cirugía general y de digestivo estaban afectadas 115.610 personas y en oftalmología otros 125.638 afectados, siendo la de cataratas el paso por quirófano con más retraso (95.100 pacientes).

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Meet the digital librarians saving social media posts to protect human rights – RN

Updated

August 30, 2017 10:30:33

When 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown was shot six times by police in Ferguson, Missouri, Ed Summers and his colleagues quickly began collecting tweets.

The controversial 2014 killing of Brown had become a focal point of the Black Lives Matter campaign: Mr Summers’ team were looking to use the social media platform as a new tool for documenting abuse.

Within two weeks, more than 13 million tweets had been collected, and the experience had given birth to a new archiving initiative: Documenting the Now, a specifically Twitter-related human rights project.

“[Tweets] are transient and there are so many of them, it’s sometimes difficult to think about them in the context of an event,” says Mr Summers, the project’s technical lead.

Each tweet on the platform, once sent, gets its own webpage in the form a discrete URL. While tweets can be deleted by users, they can’t be edited after publication. For a platform characterised by its impermanence, this presents an irony.

“In some ways it’s very stable,” Mr Summers says. “It has this fixed nature to it. But at the same time, it can be deleted at any time.”

Consent, anonymity and volume

Documenting the Now is a joint initiative between three institutions: Washington University, where Mr Summers works as a researcher, the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Maryland.

Mr Summers admits it’s a “work in progress”, as archivists and activists struggle with the complexity of big data. One of the core issues, he says, is gaining consent. Many people who use a service like Twitter don’t want their comments to last, and Mr Summers says it’s important not to disrespect that.

“There are expectations that perhaps tweets will not last a long time,” he says.

“If you send a tweet with an image of protest, you may want it to be available in the short term to raise awareness about the protest, but you may not want it to live in perpetuity in an archive.”

Consent is doubly important, Mr Summers says, if the use of someone’s tweet for campaigning purposes could risk placing them in danger.

“The other problem is that a platform like Twitter offers a fair degree of anonymity,” he adds. “Unlike Facebook, there is no requirement for your account to reflect your actual identity.”

Not everybody, especially protesters, want to be online in that way, he says. “So to engage with them as individuals raises a lot of challenges.”

A more basic consideration for Mr Summers’ team is one of volume. Modern technologies allow for the gathering of vast amounts of information, but for that information to be of use, it has to be adequately assessed for meaning.

Because of this, archivists in the digital age need to be selective. But how do you decide what to hold on to, and what to discard?

“There is no one answer to that question,” Mr Summers says. His team have used a few strategies: giving priority to the tweets of hashtag creators, or to people whose posts have garnered significant retweets.

“Someone sent a tweet and it happened to get retweeted by a celebrity and it made a lot of impression, so it got retweeted tens or hundreds of thousands of times. So that would be a good candidate for wanting to archive it.”

Keeping an eye on evil

For Jay Aronson, director of the Centre for Human Rights Science at Carnegie Mellon University, this is nothing new. “There have always been accounts of human rights violations,” Professor Aronson says. “I think what’s new here, what’s really exciting, is the volume of data that we have.”

Professor Aronson credits the arrival of the smartphone with a change in the dynamic of human rights monitoring. Today’s protests, he says, often have “hundreds or even thousands” of people recording audio and vision.

“The amount of information that we have about events that take place in public is vastly larger than it was,” he says.

This allows archivists (and journalists) to piece together several accounts. For Professor Aronson, the aim isn’t finding a neutral or authoritative account.

“If you can gather enough accounts, you can understand the biases in each particular view of the event,” he says. “You can better understand what you know, and what you don’t know.”

Aside from helping to establish context, the more cameras there are, the greater the chance of witnessing specific evidence of a violation. Professor Aronson is currently involved in a Ukrainian case focusing on deaths during the Euromaidan protests, where video was “crucial” in making the case against a particular group of riot police.

YouTube, Professor Aronson says, has become the archive of the public present. But online, he says, videos and images are easy to manipulate.

“When we think about the human rights context, one thing that I’m always worried about is the selective use of video to tell a particular story that may not be the truth,” he says.

A case of forensics and counter-forensics

When it comes to the monitoring of potential human rights violations, verification is as important as collection and collation.

Richard Matthews from the University of Adelaide’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering says there’s an arms race between forensics and counter-forensics.

“Every time we release a new technique, somebody very shortly afterwards will release a counter-forensics technique, and we’ve got to then release a counter-counter-forensics technique,” he says.

Dr Matthews works with governmental and non-governmental agencies to help establish what’s real and what’s not, with a focus on determining the unique identifiers that are left on an image by a digital camera’s image sensor — the device that records the image as it is taken.

These unique identifiers can only be seen after running images through complex signal processing algorithms.

“We can extract this difference and get a unique fingerprint for each image sensor,” he says. “Not just between model and model of camera — it’s actually between each individual image sensor.”

Everybody has a phone; not everybody knows how to use it

Taking a video or photo in a war zone or any politically or racially charged environment carries significant risk. The organisation Witness works to sharpen the skills of those keen to help document abuse.

“We train on understanding where video can be used in cases, what aspects of the situation are most useful to capture,” says Yvonne Ng, a senior archivist with the New York-based non-profit.

“We train on how to capture important information about a video so that it can be authenticated and verified by users down the line.”

The organisation has also developed a video evidence field guide for lawyers to help them better understand the ways human rights videos can be used as evidence in legal settings.

“Even outside of the courtroom, documentation needs to be verified for it to be used by journalists or investigators,” Ms Ng says.

“This is particularly important when the video is coming out of conflict zones or heavily censored areas, where eyewitness video is sometimes the only source of information.”

One organisation Witness has partnered with, the Syrian Archives, has developed a workflow to identify, analyse and publish thousands of citizen videos collected from the war-ravaged stage.

“They make those verified videos available online with contextual information so that people can identify and understand what’s going on,” Ms Ng says. “Their hope is that these videos and reports can eventually be used to achieve justice and accountability because they have been verified.”

Protecting your sources

But once you’ve built an archive, how do you safeguard it from the hackers, saboteurs or even subpoenas?

Professor Aronson says there’s no simple answer. That it will depend on the level of threat faced by activists, archivists and their sources. Particularly heinous video — of torture, or sexual violence, say — might be “air gapped”: stored on an internal server not connected to the internet.

Another suggestion is the establishment of an “evidence locker” — a central repository where important human rights related data from all over the world can be stored in safety. But according to Ms Ng, the idea is a contentious one.

“There is a question of transparency: who will be the organisation that owns this evidence locker and whose interests do they serve?” she asks.

“Why do they get to make those decisions about what gets collected, who gets access and how it can be used?”

In the meantime, she says, it’s vital to build awareness: to make people understand that YouTube is not a safe archive and that if they have important material to safeguard, they should also think about making back-up copies.

Witness have a general guide to archiving video for activists. The aim is to provide small groups with fewer resources with the knowledge to have their own videos on hand when they need them — not relying on social media.

“Empowering people to manage and preserve their own videos, it is an approach that makes sense.”

Topics:

human,

rights,

law-crime-and-justice,

activism-and-lobbying,

social-media,

internet-culture,

information-and-communication,

government-and-politics,

united-states

First posted

August 29, 2017 14:05:31

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Un maraviyoso honeymoon pa Dylon y Michelle for di New Jersey

Honeymoonernan Dylon (27) y michelle (34) for di New Jersey, Merca, a sigui conseho pa bay y bishita Aruba y awo nan ta namora di e isla.

“E ta excepciona – tempo ta bek na unda nos kier pa e ta,” nan a bisa ora cu nos a topa cu nan na Salt & Pepper Restaurant den Arawak Garden, unda cu nan a come mango shrimp y “lumpia.” “E isla ta asina bunita y asina maraviyoso pa papia cu e localnan. Tabata un dicha bishit’e. “Pa esnan cu kier bin purba e lumpia na Salt & Pepper: e restaurant popular aki ta specialisa den tapas y ta situa dilanti di Barcelo Resort riba e hi rise strip. Tin musica tur anochi di e siman en bibo den Arawak Garden, cu ta un plaza, rondona pa restaurant y kiosco. Kedando na Marriot Surf Club, Dylon y Michelle ta disfrutando cada minuut di dia. Nos ta spera cu nan bin bek pa celebra tur nan aniversario di casamento. Masha pabien.

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Adults need to be vaccinated, too — are you up to date?

Posted

August 29, 2017 18:27:51

Before vaccines were developed, infectious diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and meningitis were the leading cause of death and illness in the world.

Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements in history, having drastically reduced deaths and illness from infectious causes.

There is a large gap between vaccination rates for funded vaccines for adults in Australia and those for infants.

More than 93 per cent of infants are vaccinated in Australia, while in adults the rates are between 53-75 per cent.

Much more needs to be done to prevent infections in adults, particularly those at risk.

If you are an adult in Australia, the kinds of vaccines you need to get will depend on several factors, including whether you missed out on childhood vaccines, if you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, your occupation, how old you are and whether you intend to go travelling.

For those born in Australia

Children up to four years and aged 10-15 receive vaccines under the National Immunisation Schedule.

These are for hepatitis B, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, haemophilus influenzae B, rotavirus, pneumococcal and meningococcal disease, chickenpox and the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Immunity following vaccination varies depending on the vaccine. For example, the measles vaccine protects for a long duration, possibly a lifetime, whereas immunity wanes for pertussis (whooping cough).

Boosters are given for many vaccines to improve immunity.

MMR, chickenpox, diphtheria and tetanus

People born in Australia before 1966 likely have natural immunity to measles as the viruses were circulating widely prior to the vaccination program.

People born after 1965 should have received two doses of a measles vaccine. Those who haven’t, or aren’t sure, can safely receive a vaccine to avoid infection and prevent transmission to babies too young to be vaccinated.

Measles vaccine can be given as MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) or MMRV, which includes varicella (chickenpox).

The varicella vaccine on its own (not combined in MMRV) is advised for people aged 14 and over who have not had chickenpox, especially women of childbearing age.

Booster doses of diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccines, are available free at age 10-15, and recommended at 50 years old and also at 65 years and over if not received in the previous 10 years.

Anyone unsure of their tetanus vaccination status who sustains a tetanus-prone wound (generally a deep puncture or wound) should get vaccinated.

While tetanus is rare in Australia, most cases we see are in older adults.

Whooping cough

Pregnant women are recommended to get the diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine in the third trimester to protect the vulnerable infant after it is born, and influenza vaccine at any stage of the pregnancy (see below under influenza).

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a contagious respiratory infection dangerous for babies.

One in every 200 babies who contract whooping cough will die.

It is particularly important for women from 28 weeks gestation to ensure they are vaccinated, as well as the partners of these women and anyone else who is taking care of a child younger than six months old.

Deaths from pertussis are also documented in elderly Australians.

Pneumococcal disease and influenza

The pneumococcal vaccine is funded for everyone aged 65 and over, and recommended for anyone under 65 with risk factors such as chronic lung disease.

Anyone from the age of six months can get the flu (influenza) vaccine.

The vaccine can be given to any adult who requests it, but is only funded if they fall into defined risk groups such as pregnant women, Indigenous Australians, peopled aged 65 and over, or those with a medical condition such as chronic lung, cardiac or kidney disease.

Flu vaccine is matched every year to the anticipated circulating flu viruses and is quite effective.

The vaccine covers four strains of influenza. Pregnant women are at increased risk of the flu and recommended for influenza vaccine any time during pregnancy.

Health workers, childcare workers and aged-care workers are a priority for vaccination because they care for sick or vulnerable people in institutions at risk of outbreaks.

Influenza is the most important vaccine for these occupational groups, and some organisations provide free staff vaccinations. Otherwise, you can ask your doctor for a vaccination.

Any person whose immune system is weakened through medication or illness (such as HIV) is at increased risk of infections.

However, live viral or bacterial vaccines must not be given to immunosuppressed people. They must seek medical advice on which vaccines can be safely given.

Hepatitis

Australian-born children receive four shots of the hepatitis B vaccine, but some adults are advised to get vaccinations for hepatitis A or B.

Those recommended to receive the hepatitis A vaccine are:

  • travellers to hepatitis A endemic areas;
  • people whose jobs put them at risk of acquiring hepatitis A including childcare workers and plumbers;
  • men who have sex with men;
  • injecting drug users;
  • people with developmental disabilities;
  • those with chronic liver disease, liver organ transplant recipients or those chronically infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Those recommended to get the hepatitis B vaccine are:

  • people who live in a household with someone infected with hepatitis B;
  • those having sexual contact with someone infected with hepatitis B;
  • sex workers;
  • men who have sex with men;
  • injecting drug users;
  • migrants from hepatitis B endemic countries;
  • healthcare workers;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders;
  • and some others at high risk at their workplace or due to a medical condition.

Human papillomavirus

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against cervical, anal, head and neck cancers, as well as some others.

It is available for boys and girls and delivered in high school, usually in year seven.

There is benefit for older girls and women to be vaccinated, at least up to their mid-to-late 20s.

The elderly

With ageing comes a progressive decline in the immune system and a corresponding increase in risk of infections.

Vaccination is the low-hanging fruit for healthy ageing.

The elderly are advised to receive the influenza, pneumococcal and shingles vaccines.

Influenza and pneumonia are major preventable causes of illness and death in older people. The flu causes deaths in children and the elderly during severe seasons.

The most common cause of pneumonia is streptococcus pneumonia, which can be prevented with the pneumococcal vaccine.

There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV).

Both protect against invasive pneumococcal disease (such as meningitis and the blood infection referred to as septicemia), and the conjugate vaccine is proven to reduce the risk of pneumonia.

The Government funds influenza (annually) and pneumococcal vaccines for people aged 65 and over.

Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. It causes a high burden of disease in older people (who have had chickenpox before) and can lead to debilitating and chronic pain.

The shingles vaccine is recommended for people aged 60 and over. The Government funds it for people aged 70 to 79.

Australian travellers

Travel is a major vector for transmission of infections around the world, and travellers are at high risk of preventable infections.

Most epidemics of measles, for example, are imported through travel. People may be under-vaccinated for measles if they missed a dose in childhood.

Anyone travelling should discuss vaccines with their doctor. If unsure of measles vaccination status, vaccination is recommended.

This will depend on where people are travelling, and may include vaccination for yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A or influenza.

Travellers who are visiting friends and relatives overseas often fail to take precautions such as vaccination and do not perceive themselves as being at risk.

In fact, they are at higher risk of preventable infections because they may be staying in traditional communities rather than hotels, and can be exposed to risks such as contaminated water, food or mosquitoes.

Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders

Indigenous Australians are at increased risk of infections and have access to funded vaccines against influenza (anyone over six months old) and pneumococcal disease (for infants, everyone over 50 years and those aged 15-49 with chronic diseases).

They are also advised to get hepatitis B vaccine if they haven’t already received it.

Unfortunately, overall vaccine coverage for these groups is low, between 13 per cent and 50 per cent, representing a real lost opportunity.

Migrants and refugees

Migrants and refugees are at risk of vaccine-preventable infections because they may be under-vaccinated and come from countries with a high incidence of infection.

There is no systematic means for GPs to identify people at risk of under-vaccination, but the new Australian Immunisation Register will help if GPs can check the immunisation status of their patients.

The funding of catch-up vaccination has also been a major obstacle until now.

In July 2017, the Government announced free catch-up vaccinations for children aged 10-19 and for all newly arrived refugees.

This covers any childhood vaccine on the National Immunisation Schedule that has been missed.

While this does not cover all under-vaccinated refugees, it is a welcome development.

If you are not newly arrived but a migrant or refugee, check with your doctor about catch-up vaccination.

C Raina MacIntyre is Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW.

Rob Menzies is a senior lecturer at UNSW.

Originally published in The Conversation

Topics:

vaccines-and-immunity,

health,

australia

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Eurobasket 2017: Gasol: “No soy un jugador de rcords, voy a por campeonatos”

Pau Gasol, durante el entrenamiento de Espaa en Cluj.

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