Notre Dame Medical students help with Bird Flu Study

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 24-10-2006

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle

Publication Place



150 medical students from The University of Notre Dame Australia’s, Fremantle Campus took part in a fever clinic trial to test WA’s health response plans for an outbreak of human pandemic influenza.

A fever clinic is a specially designated facility that would be used in a pandemic to isolate suspected influenza patients and control the spread of disease.

The students’ role in the trial clinic was to act as patients with avian flu. They had to go through triage and were assigned to different areas of the clinic according to their ‘symptoms’. The patients were treated by nurses and two general practitioners.

Medical student Ms Tracey Costa was involved in a scenario were she had the role of a 6 year old girl who was very ill after a family holiday. She was separated from her mother at triage, taken to the clinic and then to hospital by ambulance.

Ms Costa said the exercise was really important and the outcome of the day showed the need for the trial clinic.

“The day appeared to be slightly disorganised, which only highlighted the importance of undertaking this kind of project,” said Ms Costa. “With more experience and after receiving feedback from the participants, each subsequent trial should run more efficiently.”

“It was also significant for us as medical students. We learnt how important every member of the medical team is - if someone makes a mistake at the start of the process, it will impact upon everyone involved,” said Ms Costa.

The simulated fever clinic was run by The Department of Health and held at Rosalie Park in Shenton Park. The exercise was held in conjunction with their program, Exercise Cumpston 06, to test Australia’s readiness in dealing with human-to-human transmission of H5N1 avian influenza or bird flu.