Infectious Diseases and Infections

Our research on infectious diseases and infections

Area leads:

Dr Natalie Carvalho, Dr Angela Devine

Interventions to alleviate the burden of infectious diseases are consistently amongst the best buys in health. We have the largest group of health economists in Australia who specialise in the intersection of infectious diseases and economics.

We are involved in a wide range of clinical trials and other studies in infectious diseases and infections, including carrying out economic evaluations alongside these studies. These studies are conducted in Australia and around the globe. Our projects range from evaluating the cost-effectiveness of new vaccines in the Pacific region to the global cost burden of Plasmodium vivax malaria to the economic evaluation of a hospital-wide sepsis intervention in Australia. Alongside the Population Interventions unit (Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics), we are also engaged in evaluations of Covid-19 policy strategies in Australia and globally.

Our collaborations include Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Burnet Institute, WEHI, US National Institutes of Health, The Malaria Atlas Project, Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, and the World Health Organization.

Related research staff:

Prof Kim Dalziel, Dr Michelle Tew, Dr Jason Ong, Mr Patrick Abraham

Projects listing

Systematic reviews in sexual health

As part of Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and with collaborations with the World Health Organization, A/Prof Dr. Jason Ong leads teams to conduct systematic reviews on a variety of sexual health related topics. Current projects include tools to measure quality of life amongst people living with HIV, health-related quality of life for syphilis, and health-related quality of life for herpes.

Economic evaluations of sexual health interventions

A/Prof Dr. Jason Ong leads research related to the cost-effectiveness of point-of-care sexually transmitted infection testing crowdsourced HIV campaigns in Nigeria, and Mycoplasma genitalium screening.

Health preference research in sexual health

A/Prof Dr. Jason Ong leads research using discrete choice experiments to quantify relative strengths of preferences. Current projects include optimizing services for chlamydia control in Hong Kong, people living with HIV and antiretroviral side-effects, and syphilis screening among men who have sex with men.

Costs and cost-effectiveness of options for the control and management of malaria

Cost data are being collected alongside clinical trials in a range of malaria endemic countries. The majority of these studies focus on options for improving the safety and effectiveness of radical cure for Plasmodium vivax malaria. Other studies involve the costs of using molecular epidemiology for P. falciparum malaria in PNG, household costs due to P. knowlesi in Indonesia, and the global cost burden due to vivax malaria.

Selected publications


Thean, J., Romani, L., Engelman, D., Wand, H.,…. CARVALHO, N., … Kaldor, J., Steer, AC. (2022) Prevention of bacterial complications of scabies using mass drug administration, a population-based before-after trial in Fiji, 2018-2020. Lancet Regional Health Western Pacific. 22: 100433.

Mow, M., Thean, LJ., Parnaby, M., Mani, J., Rafai, E., Sahukhan, A., Kama, M., Tuiakau, M., Kado, J., Romani, L., Engelman, D., Whitfeld, M., Kaldor, J., Steer, A., CARVALHO, N. (2022) Costs of mass drug administration for scabies in Fiji. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 16(2): e0010147.

Thobari, J.A., Sutarman, Mulyadi, A.W.E., Watts, E., CARVALHO, N., Debellut, F., Clark, A., Soenarto, Y., Bines, J. (2022) Direct and indirect costs of acute diarrhea in children under-five years old in Indonesia. Lancet Regional Health Western Pacific 19: 100333.


Arum, C, Frasher, H, Artenie, AA, Bivegete, S, Trickey A, … Ong JJ,… , Stone J, Vickerman PJ. Homelessness, unstable housing and risk of HIV and hepatitis C virus acquisition among people who inject drugs – a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health (Accepted 15th Jan 2021)

Blakely, T., Thompson, J., Bablani, L., Andersen, P., Ouakrim, D.A., CARVALHO, N., ABRAHAM, P., BOUJAOUDE, M.A., Katar, A., Akpan, E., Wilson, N. Association of Simulated COVID-19 Policy Responses for Social Restrictions and Lockdowns With Health-Adjusted Life-Years and Costs in Victoria, Australia. JAMA Health Forum 2021 Jul 2. 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.1749


Blakely T, Thompson J, Carvalho N, Bablani L, Wilson N, Stevenson M. 2020. The probability of the 6-week lock-down in Victoria (commencing 9 July 2020) achieving elimination of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Medical Journal of Australia 2020;213(8):349-351.e1. doi: 10.5694/mja2.50786.

Booton, RD, Ong, JJ, Lee, A, Liu, AF, Huang, WT, Wei, CY, Tang, WM, Ma, W, Vickerman, P, Tucker, JD, Mitchell KM. Modelling the impact of an HIV testing intervention on HIV transmission among men who have sex with men in China. HIV Medicine(Accepted 31/12/20)

Devine, A., Howes, R.E., Price, D.J., Moore, K.A., Ley, B., Simpson, J.A., Dittrich, S., Price, R.N. 2020. Cost-effectiveness analysis of sex-stratified Plasmodium vivax treatment strategies using available G6PD diagnostics to accelerate access to radical cure. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 103(1), pp.394-403. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0943.

Sharma, M, Ong, JJ, Celum, C, Terris-Prestholt, F. Heterogeneity in individual preferences for HIV Testing: A systematic literature review of Discrete Choice Experiments. EClinicalMedicine (Accepted 6th Nov 2020)

Ong JJ, de Abreu Lourenco R, Street D, Smith K, Jamil M, Terris-Prestholt F, Fairley CK, McNulty A, Hynes A, Johnson K, Chow EPF, Bavinton B, Grulich A, Stoove M, Holt M, Kaldor J, Guy R. The preferred qualities of HIV testing and self-testing among men who have sex with men: a discrete choice experiment. Value in Health2020;23(7):870-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2020.04.1826

Terris-Prestholt,F, Boeras, D,Ong, JJ, Torres-Rueda, S, Cassim,N, Mbengue, MAS, Mboup, S, Mwau,M, Munemo,E, Nyegenye,W, Odhiambo,CO, Dabula, P, Sandstrom, P, Sarr, M, Simbi,R, Stevens,W, Tucker, JD, Vickerman,P, Ciaranello, A, Peeling,RW. The potential for quality assurance systems to save costs and lives: the case of early infant diagnosis of HIV. Tropical Medicine and International Health2020;25(10):1235-1245. doi:

Thean, LJ, Jenny, A, Engelman, D, Romani, L, Wand H, … Carvalho N,… , Steer AC. Hospital admissions for skin and soft tissue infections in a population with endemic scabies: A prospective study in Fiji, 2018-2019. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2020. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008887.

Yang, F, Zhang, TP, Tang, W, Ong, JJ, Alexander, M, Forastiere, L, et al. Pay-it-forward gonorrhoea and chlamydia testing among men who have sex with men in China: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(8):976-82. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30172-9

Zou Z, Fairley CK, Ong JJ, Hocking J, Canfell K, Ma XM, Chow EPF, Xu XL, Zhang L, Zhuang GH. Reduction in domestic HPV vaccine price enables good economic returns for cervical cancer prevention in China: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Lancet Global Health 2020;8(10):e1335-1344. doi:


Devine, A, Pasaribu, AP, Teferi, T, Pham, HT, Awab, GR, Contantia, F, Nguyen, TN, Ngo, VT, Tran, H, Hailu, A, Gilchrist, K, Green, JA, Koh, GCKW, Thriemer, K, Taylor, WR, Day, NPJ, Price, RN, Lubell, Y. Economic costs of vivax malaria episodes: A multi-country comparative analysis using primary trial data. WHO Bulletin, 97, pp.828-836. doi: 10.2471/blt.18.226688

Ong, JJ, Neke, N, Wambura, M, Kuringe ,E, Grund, JM, Plotkin, M, d’Elbee, M, Torres-Rueda, S, Mahler, H, Weiss, H, Terris-Prestholt, F. Use of lotteries for the promotion of voluntary medical male circumcision service: a discrete choice experiment among adult men in Tanzania. Medical Decision Making 2019 May;39(4):474-485. doi: 10.1177/0272989X19852095

Tew, M., Clarke, P., Thursky, K. and Dalziel, K., 2019. Incorporating Future Medical Costs: Impact on Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Cancer Patients. PharmacoEconomics37(7), pp.931-941. doi: 10.1007/s40273-019-00790-9

Tew, M., Forster, D., Teh, B.W. and Dalziel, K., 2019. National cost savings from an ambulatory program for low-risk febrile neutropenia patients in Australia. Australian Health Review43(5), pp.549-555. doi: 10.1071/AH19061

Zienkiewicz, A, Rees, NVV, Homer, M, Ong, JJ, Christensen, H, Hill, D, Looker, K, Horner, P, Hughes, G, Turner, K. Agent-based modelling study of antimicrobial resistant Neisseria gonorrhoea transmission in men who have sex with men: towards individualized diagnosis and treatment. Sexual Health 2019 Sep;16(5):514-522 doi: 10.1071/SH18235


Thursky, K., Lingaratnam, S., Jayarajan, J., Haeusler, G.M., Teh, B., Tew, M., Venn, G., Hiong, A., Brown, C., Leung, V. and Worth, L.J., 2018. Implementation of a whole of hospital sepsis clinical pathway in a cancer hospital: impact on sepsis management, outcomes and costs. BMJ open quality7(3). doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2018-000355