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Infectious Disease Surveillance

Infectious disease surveillance is vital for identifying and tracking potential outbreaks, allowing for timely responses to prevent their spread. It helps identify new and emerging diseases so that effective treatment and prevention strategies can be developed. Burnet’s surveillance research plays an essential role in tracking the effectiveness of control measures and public health interventions.

Our main objectives are to:

  • manage, develop and refine innovative surveillance systems for the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to better understand the drivers of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • undertake evaluation projects to examine the effectiveness of policy and initiatives aimed at reducing the transmission and impact of communicable diseases, including blood-borne viruses (BBV) and STIs
  • integrate findings from our research to inform policy and practice to prevent the transmission of diseases such as HIV and other STI transmission
  • investigate surveillance strategies for malaria, including the use of serology to detect recent malaria exposure and community-based strategies for surveillance
  • develop and evaluate simple, low-cost rapid surveillance tools for use by field surveillance teams or community-based health care workers that would facilitate surveillance, estimate malaria burden, and report and enable better planning of interventions and services.

In Australia, we conduct surveillance for HIV and STIs on behalf of the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments. We also do rigorous evaluations of projects and programs to better understand the transmission and prevention of BBVs and STIs and the health and wellbeing of key populations.

Internationally, we do highly collaborative multi-disciplinary projects encompassing epidemiological, immunological, and implementation research to strengthen infectious disease surveillance. 

Here are some of the ways we’ve made a positive contribution to strengthening infectious disease surveillance systems:

  • collaborated with The Kirby Institute and NRL Quality to deliver the innovative and internationally unique, ACCESS surveillance system (The Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance of Sexually Transmissible Infections and Blood-borne Viruses). It provides a mechanism for monitoring testing, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV, Hepatitis B and C and STIs in every state and territory in Australia
  • piloting the ACCESS surveillance system in Myanmar to assist in monitoring the HIV treatment cascade
  • doing ongoing evaluation projects of Victorian HIV and other STI prevention initiatives
  • developed novel tools to enhance surveillance and tracking of malaria in populations
  • piloted a real-time integrated sentinel surveillance and response system in Papua New Guinea to generate evidence to enable the implementation of rapid-response strategies for the surveillance of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.

is the number of village health volunteers in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) who were trained to collect dried blood spots from villagers undergoing routine rapid diagnostic tests for malaria as part of a Burnet-supported study. The researchers were trying to determine whether integrating molecular and serological diagnostic measures into the existing surveillance system might improve surveillance of residual malaria transmission in hard-to-reach areas in the region and inform targeted interventions and elimination responses. 


is the number of sexual health clinics, general practices, hospitals, community health services and pathology laboratories across Australia that provide de-identified data to the ACCESS project. Data collected via ACCESS is used to monitor STIs and BBVs across Australia and for individual research projects, clinical audits, and jurisdictional surveillance.


Is the number of HIV services in the southern districts of Yangon, Myanmar, proposed to be part of a 12-month, Burnet-supported feasibility study of an integrated HIV cascade surveillance system, ACCESS Myanmar.


sentinel surveillance sites collecting febrile illness data and sample collection for molecular confirmation of malaria and arboviruses are operational across Papua New Guinea (PNG) as a result of Burnet’s STRIVE PNG project. 

Working Groups

Burnet is an Australian-based medical research and public health institute and international non-government organisation that is working towards a more equitable world through better health.