The Indo‐Papuan conduit: a biosecurity challenge for Northern Australia

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Paul F. Horwood , Emma S. McBryde , Dunstan Peniyamina , Scott A. Ritchie. The Indo‐Papuan conduit: a biosecurity challenge for Northern Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42: 434-436. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12808

Despite Australia’s strict quarantine practices, the northern tropical region of Australia is at risk of the importation of exotic emerging diseases. The region’s hot and humid climate is conducive to year‐round production of mosquitoes and the pathogens they transmit. It is imperative that disease control measures extend beyond Australia’s borders to improve surveillance, laboratory capacity and clinical practices in developing countries in our region.

Of particular importance to Northern Australia is the importation of vectors and diseases through the ‘Indo‐Papuan conduit’, the land and waterways directly to the north of Australia, connecting southeastern Indonesia and New Guinea (including the West Papuan province of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea [PNG]) to the Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula of Australia. Cultural and trade ties throughout this region result in the cross‐border movement of people, livestock, wildlife and – potentially – pathogens and vectors. This traditional movement was recognised with a cross‐border treaty allowing for free movement of people living in coastal villages of PNG and outer islands of the Torres Strait for traditional activities.

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