Human history has been shaped, and continues to be shaped, by infectious diseases and pandemics. This presentation will draw on research about factors that affected pandemic influenza mortality in the New Zealand armed forces and in isolated Pacific Islands. It will then review lessons from several modern pandemics, notably smallpox, HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola. The 1918 influenza pandemic killed more people than the entire First World War. How will we commemorate this anniversary in three years’ time? This lecture will make a plea for us to build on these lessons of history so we are better prepared for the inevitable epidemics and pandemics of the future.
Bio: Michael Baker is a public health physician and Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand. He has a strong interest in infectious disease surveillance, prevention and control. His research on infectious diseases won the New Zealand Health Research Council’s Liley Medal in 2013 and his Housing and Health Research Group received the Prime Minister’s Science prize in 2014. Professor Baker has worked internationally with the World Health Organisation and his research is part- funded by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. He is the recipient of the NZ-UK Link Foundation 2015 Visiting Professorship at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS).