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Public lecture on Great Influenza Pandemic to be presented at Gippsland Campus

Posted: Monday 6 August 2018

A major public lecture to mark the centenary of the Great Influenza Pandemic will be held at Federation University Australia’s Gippsland Campus on Wednesday, 15 August. 

To be presented by Dr Alan Hampson, an adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University, the lecture will investigate why the pandemic is still rated as one of humankind’s greatest threats and why we continue to suffer yearly epidemics of influenza.

“As the horrors of World War One were drawing to a close in 1918, what is probably the worst plague ever experienced by humankind was emerging,” Dr Hampson said.

“This was the great influenza pandemic or Spanish Flu, which proceeded to kill between 50 and 100 million people worldwide. 

“In 2018, the centenary of that awful epidemic, influenza continues to ravage the human population.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 10 per cent of the world’s population are infected annually with around five million severe cases and a quarter to half a million deaths,” Dr Hampson said.

“In addition, WHO and national governments believe that a future pandemic with a severity and impact similar to that in 1918 is a distinct possibility.”

In this public lecture, Dr Hampson will explain why this is so, why the general population seem to be largely unaware of the dangers of influenza, and where research may take us in the future. 

Dr Hampson is a virologist with 50 years of experience working with influenza. His career spans research and vaccine development.

From 1992 – 2005 he was Deputy Director of the Melbourne World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on influenza, which is one of the central laboratories in the WHO global influenza network.

Dr Hampson has acted as a technical expert to WHO and the Australian Government, and was the first Editor in Chief of the International Journal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.

He also was instrumental in founding, and leading for 25 years, a not-for-profit organisation promoting knowledge about influenza, its prevention and treatment to both the medical profession and general population.

For his public health contributions to influenza, Dr Hampson was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Medicine (University of Melbourne) in 2006 and the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2007.

He also is a Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology and holds an adjunct Senior Research Fellow position at Federation University Australia.

To register for the lecture please visit

The lecture will be held from 5.30 pm, Wednesday 15 August, at Building 5N Room 158, Federation University Australia, McDonald Way, Churchill. Registration is free and open to all members of the public.

Contact Matthew Freeman
Media and Government Relations
03 5327 9510; 0408 519 674