2 November 2012

The University of Queensland has received over $3million to boost tuberculosis research from the TB Sailors’, Soldiers’ & Airmen's Association of Queensland (TB Association), this week.

The recently disbanded TB Association has donated its assets to UQ’s Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health (CMVH) for ongoing TB research.

CMVH Director, Professor Peter Warfe said the Centre was grateful for such a substantial gift from the TB Association.

“This donation will support ongoing tuberculosis research of benefit to serving and ex-serving men and women, and the broader community,” Professor Warfe said.

“Given the TB Association’s background of supporting ex-servicemen, it is fitting that the donation is coming to the centre.

“We’re set to commence a project, and will collaborate with the Australian Army Malaria Institute to investigate the outcomes of soldiers who contracted TB in World War I (WWI).

“We know that 380 servicemen died from TB during WWI but we don’t know how many people were affected by, or died from, the disease upon their return from active service.

“This research is not just a historical exercise – WWI was a time in history prior to the use of effective antibiotics or vaccines to fight the disease.

“By improving our understanding of the natural progression of the disease, we may be able to better understand how newly emerging antibiotic-resistant strains of TB may affect populations.

“TB is a major public health threat, affecting about 32 per cent of the world’s population – this equates to about 8-9 million new cases per year and about 3 million deaths.

“The rising international incidence of TB may affect members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) deployed overseas, despite a range of effective protective strategies.

“As Australia’s foremost research institute devoted to the health of military personnel and veterans, we’re keen to protect serving members from contracting TB.

“Our increased knowledge will also have benefits for TB research worldwide.”

The TB Association has also donated its historical records to UQ’s Fryer Library.

The records have been catalogued as a lasting legacy of the organisation’s contribution to supporting veterans with TB.

The Fryer Library was named after a previous UQ student and war veteran, John Denis Fryer, who died of tuberculosis in 1923 upon his return from WWI.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

It usually affects the lungs, although almost any organ of the body can be involved.

CMVH is a collaboration between The University of Queensland, the University of Adelaide, and Charles Darwin University, and aims to optimise the health of ADF personnel and veterans’ communities through research and education.

The TB Association had formed in 1919 to support ex-servicemen who had contracted tuberculosis (TB), while serving overseas.

Media Kate Gadenne, Senior Operations and Communications Officer
Phone (07 3346 4953, Mobile: 0438 727 895, Email: k.gadenne@uq.edu.au.)