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The Melbourne Archives


FRANK MACFARLANE BURNET - SERIES
AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE ARCHIVES PROJECT
GUIDE TO THE RECORDS OF FRANK MACF.ARLANE BURNET

Prepared by Gavan McCarthy, Oscar Manhal and Lisa O'Sullivan
with Tim Sherratt

Published December 1993 in hardcopy form. Electronic version produced in January 1994.

The records of F.M. Burnet were deposited with the University of Melbourne Archives in 1991. Enquiries about access should be direc there.Other enquiries about this GUIDE or orders of the complete hardcop version should be sent to:

Tim Sherratt (sherratt@coombs.anu.edu.au)

Further information about ASAP's published GUIDES can be found in asap-publications-info.txt.

SERIES 10 X-DISEASE, KURU AND GAJDUSEK FILES

PART 1 X-DISEASE AND KURU, RESEARCH AND CORRESPONDENCE FILES

10/1 X-DISEASE -CORRESPONDENCE AND CLINICAL RECORDS
Inwards correspondence from: NSW Department of Agriculture; CSIR
Animal Health Division; R. Hughes; Ian (?); Austin Hospital; J.A.
Galloway; C. Duccombe; E.M. Pullar; Commonwealth Department of Health
A.. Mark and others. Includes: material on louping illness, post
vaccinal encephalitis and polio; clinical notes and records of
patients *
23 October 1923 - 21 October 1935, -5mm-

10/2 VISIT TO NEW GUINEA - PRELIMINARIES
Inwards and outwards correspondence with: F.M.C. Hasluck; J.T.
Gunther; Commonwealth Department of Territories; New Guinea Depart
of Public Health; A. May; J.H. Hale; Rockefeller Foundation (R.S_
Morison); University of Malaya Department of Bacteriology. Including
medical training pamphlet in pidgin and material on Murray Valley
encephalitis.
16 April 1956 5 July 1956, -4mm--

10/3 KURU 1 GAJDUSEK LETTERS, 1957
Includes index to files Kuru 1 - Kuru 10. Mostly inwards
Correspondence from: D.C. Gajdusek; R.W. Hornabrook and I.J. Wood;
M.M. Wilson; A.V.G. Price.
13 May 1957 - 24 May 1963, 4mm

10/4 KURU 2 - REPERCUSSIONS IN 1957
Inwards and outwards correspondence with: J.T. Gunther; A.L.G. Ree CSIRO Division of Industrial Chemistry; Medical Journal of Australia , with typescript notes on Kuru; G. Anderson; R.M. Bernd R.F.R. Scragg; D.C Gajdusek; I. Wood; T.M. Rivers; National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, New York; Commonwealth Departm of Territories; New Guinea Department of Health; New Guinea Crown Office; Ian Burnet; F.M.C. Hasluck. Includes typescript notes on and its aetiology, February 1957. 21 August 1956 - 6 December 1957, -6mm-

10/5 KURU 3 - ADELAIDE WORKERS
Inwards and outwards correspondence with: University of Adelaide;
Robson; J.H. Bennett; J.T. Gunther. Includes reprint and typescri
by Bennett, Rhodes and Robson, 'The Genetical Study of Kuru', no d
(1959).
6 January 1959 - 11 September 1959, -3mm-

10/6 KURU 4 - SYDNEY MEETING OF DECEMBER 1959 AND SUBSEQUENT ACTI
Inwards and outwards correspondence with: N. McArthur; R.F.R. Scra
New Guinea Department of Public Health; J. Gunther; D. McCarthy;
Department of Territories; J.E. Smadel; H.N. White; National
Institutes of Health, USA; T.E. Lowe; Alfred Hospital; C.C. Curtai
J.H. Bennett; H.N.' Robson; University of Adelaide; D.C. Gajdusek,
copies of lettets ~rom Gajdusek to others. Mostly on formation of
Committee on Con.,rol of Kuru. Includes: manuscript notes on Kuru;
bibliography of 1,r,ljers by D.C. Gajdusek; copies of Committee Repor
21 December 1959; copy of 'Report on Kuru and Recommendations for
Further Investigation and Control' by J.T. Gunther, May 1960; copi
of Minutes to Meeting, Preliminary meetings for Director, Public
Health, Papua New Guinea, 18-19 May 1962; FMB typescript, 'Virolog
Lecture - Scrapie, aleutian disease, Kuru and NZB', 19 October 196
3 September 1959 - 25 November 1963, -10mm-

10/7 KURU 5 - 'CANNIBALISM IN THE KURU REGION'
Copy typescript of paper by R.M. Glasse. Includes additional copy
typescript, 'The Social Life of Women in South Fore' by S. Glasse.
No date (1960s?), -4mm-

10/8 KURU 6 - DEMOGRAPHY AND N. MCARTHUR
Copies of demographic records and reports, including: 'Report to
Medical Research Advisory Committee (Papua New Guinea)', 28 August
1963; 'The Age Incidence of Kuru', no date (1960s). Also includes
notes, and letter.from N. McArthur.
August 1963 January 1964, -6mm-

10/9 KURU 7 REL)LIES TO DRAFT PAPER ('THE PATHOGENESIS OF KURUI)
Notes and correspondence. Includes inwards and outwards
correspondence w-i'L-il: R.W. Hornabrook; R.F.R. Scragg; M. Alpers; R.
Glasse; R.J. Walsh; Red Cross Society; C.C. Curtain; D.C. Gajdusek
F.D. Schofield. Mostly replies and comments on 'The Pathogenesis
Kuru'. Includes summary of replies..
8 January 1964 11 March 1964, -3mm-

10/10 KURU 8 P.R.J. BURCH AND J. MATHEWS
Working papers, notes, copy typescripts and correspondence. Includ
inwards and outwards correspondence with: J. Mathews; P.R.J. Burch
H.N. Rc~bson; J.H. Bennet. Mostly scientific correspondence on
hypotheses for pathogenesis of Kuru. Also includes copy typescrip paper by Burch, 'The Pathogenosis of Kuru: Some further Speculatio 13 March 1964. 21 October 1963 - 17 March 1964, -5mm-

10/11 KURU 9 - LONDON MEETING, 15 JUNE 1964
Copies of reports for Meeting on Kuru at the CIBA Foundation, 15 J
1964. Includes meeting papers, including EMB's hypothesis. Also
includes draft and copy typescripts by FMB: 'The Possibilities of
Control', no date,(1964); 'The Pathogenesis of Kuru: Speculations
based on new Observational Material', no date (1963).
1963~1964, -llmm--

10/12 KURU 10 - SCRAPIE REPRINTS
Annotated reprints by H.B. Parry, H. Jacob and others.
1962-1964, -7mm-

10/13 KURU RESEARCH CORRESPONDENCE
Inwards and outwards correspondence with: D.C. Gajdusek; M. Alpers
R.F.R. Scragg; R.J. Walsh; R.M. Glasse. Includes: meeting notices
November 1965; journal extracts; bibliography on Kuru, by D.C.
Gajdusek, 1963 (?) .
16 February 1965 - 23 August 1968, -3mm-

10/14 KURU CORRESPONDENCE AND GAJDUSEK'S NOBEL NOMINATION
Inwards and outwards correspondence with: J.T. Gunther; K. Russell
Nobel Prize Committee. Includes FMB1s 1976 nomination of D.C.
Gajdusek with accompanying Gajdusek bibliographies. Also includes
copy typescript by J.T. Gunther, 'Australia, Kuru and a Nobel Priz
no date (1976). ~
14 January 1976 -'21 July 1978, -8mm-

10/15 GAJDUSEK CORRESPONDENCE
Correspondence from D.C. Gajdusek.
March 1980 - June 1980, _lmm-

PART 2 KURU CORRESPONDENCE - PHOTOCOPIES FROM WEHI

10/16 KURU CORRESPONDENCE, 1956-1963
Inwards and outwards correspondence with: D.C. Gajdusek; J.T. Gunt
J.H. Hale; F.M.C. Hasluck; A. May; Department of Territories and
others.
9 May 1956 - 24 May 1963, -5mm-

10/17 KURU CORRESPONDENCE, 1957-1959
Inwards and outwards correspondence with: J.H. Bennett; J.T. Gunth
H.N. Robson; R.S. Morison; F.M.C. Hasluck; R.F.R. Scragg; D.C.
Gajdusek and others.
8 May 1956 - 28 August 1959, -12mm-

10/18 KURU CORRESPONDENCE AND REPORTS, 1959-1963
Correspondence with: R.F.R. Scragg; J.H. Bennett; H.N. Robson; D.C
Gajdusek; J. Smadel; J.T. Gunther and others. Includes Committee o
Kuru Control Reports.
1959-1963, -10ma-

PART 3 PUBLICAT1ONS - REPRINTS AND GAJDUSEK JOURNALS

10/19 REPRINTS - ASSORTED AUTHORS

Reprints on Kuru, Foamy Viruses, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, encephalitis, dermatoglyphics and other topics. Includes articles M. Alpers; H. Ward; R. Glasse; C.J. Gibbs and others. 1958-1977, -17mm-

10/20 REPRINTS - GAJDUSEK PUBLICATIONS
Articles on Kuru, Scapie, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and other topi
by D.C. Gajdusek.
1957-1965, -22mm-

10/21 REPRINTS - GAJDUSEK PUBLICATIONS
Articles by D.C. Gajdusek. Includes -Paediatrics-, vol. 37, 1966,
Supplement.
1966-1969, -26mm-

10/22 REPRINTS ~.GAJDUSEK PUBLICATIONS
Articles by D.C.,Gajdusek.
1970-1973, -28mir.,'

10/23 REPRINTS -1 GAJDUSEK PUBLICATIONS
Articles by D.C. Gajdusek.
1973-1975, -30mm-

10/24 REPRINTS - GAJDUSEK PUBLICATIONS
Articles by D.C. Gajdusek.
1976-1978, -28mm-

10/25 GAJDUSEK JOURNAL - CORRESPONDENCE WITH SMADEL
1955-1958, -24mm-

10/26 GAJDUSEK JOURNAL - SAHARA EXPEDITION
1960, -22mm-

10/27 GAJDUSEK JOURNAL - WESTERN CAROLINE ISLANDS
1961, -8mm-

10/28 GAJDUSEK JOURNAL - NEW GUINEA (1)
1961-1962, -23mm-

10/29 GAJDUSEK JOURNAL - NEW GUINEA (2)
1961-1962, -17mn,-

10/30 GAJDUSEK ~Olk.-,-RNAL - MELANESIA
1963, -13mm_

10/31 GAJDUSEK JOURNAL - WESTERN CAROLINE ISLANDS
1964 , -9mm-

10/32 GAJDUSEK JOURNAL - SOVIET UNION, AFRICA, INDONESIA AND NEW
GUINEA
1969-1970, -43mm-

10/33 GAJDUSEK JOURNAL - COLOMBIA
1970, -5mm-

10/34 GAJDUSEK - BIBLIOGRAPHY OF KURU
July 1968, -10mm-

10/35 -GAJDUSEK BIBLIOGRAPHY OF KURU Includes list of Gajdusek journals.


From the above it is clear that the Commonwealth Department of Health has put Australia at risk to an exotic disease that could have profound consequences on the health of many Australians.

Common Law definition of negligence:

"Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs would do; or doing something a reasonable person would not do."

Clearly any biological scientists engaged by the Defendants were expected and paid by the Australian Public to be experts and aware of international developments in respect to disease transmission. Any expert in control of disease prevention would have been aware of the need to exercise caution in respect to the collection of pituitaries from New Guinea when there was known to be an exotic disease prevalent in this country.

The problem in determining negligence in Australia in respect to contaminated pituitary hormones is that all cases have been settled out of court without the admission of negligence. There have been six cases to date. As past cases have been settled after death and there has not been the opportunity to determine negligence.

In the United Kingdom, negligence by the UK Department of Health has been established by the High Court for similar actions in respect to contaminated hormones and the presence of CJD. (Judge Moreland, UK High Court, 1997)

As with many other countries other than Australia the issue of negligence relates only to their normal collection procedures, processing and as to what they should have known at the time. These countries that have had negligence determined by the Justice system have not sourced or attempted to source their pituitary glands from Papua New Guinea where the presence of an exotic disease, Kuru, a debilitating and fatal brain disease was known.

Australia is unique in this, the Government endorsed collection of glands from an area where diseased glands where known to exist and in so doing put Australia at risk to an exotic disease.

The increased risk of an exotic disease within Australia arises from the fact that the disease is indestructable ,as shown earlier in this document, in normal circumstances and the production facility at the time did not and could not prevent the transmission of the disease.

Throughout the period and to this day, CSL have manufactured and sold human and veterinary pharmaceutical products and diagnostic products of biological origin, notably vaccines and plasma fractions. In this era, not only has CJD been identified as a contaminant, hepatitis, pseudomonas and pyrogens are all findings of the Allars Report. In addition to this of more recent times other contaminants in other products have been identified. (e.g. Factor VIII). If Kuru was imported and processed as a consequence of the Government's decision to issue a license to CSL for the processing of New Guinea glands, then it is not known how many Australians have been exposed to Kuru.

How many atypical Alzheimers cases are in fact transmissible spongiform encephalopies? Alzheimers is on the increase in Australia. Is there a connection?

The most frequent type of misdiagnosis of CJD/Kuru is in differentiating it from rapidly developing Alzheimers Disease with myoclonus.

Despite the decreasing risk of misdiagnosis, under diagnosis may still be a problem. Brain tumours, brain abscesses, Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, senile dementia, stroke or Koehlmeier-Degos have been shown to coexist with patients suffering from transmissible spongiform encephalopies. An initial diagnosis of any of these diseases might still obscure a subsequent diagnosis of an associated condition such as CJD, Kuru.


To the Department Of Health's appraisal of any TSE's should be added:
Atypical Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopy of origin yet to be determined.

The timing of the chain of events and the fact that recipients may have only been exposed to low concentrations of the disease during their treatment, supports the long incubation period.

The UK High Court has ruled that the UK Department of Health was negligent in respect to the management of Pituitary hormones. (Judge Moreland, UK High Court,1997).

There has been significant additional involvement by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health and whereas there has been no opportunity to determine negligence in a court of law to this date, your judgement is vital.

Res Ipsa Loquitor (the facts speak for themselves)
The facts detailed above clearly demonstrate negligence.

The above facts relate to the Defendants' knowledge of Kuru and its exposure of this disease to the Australian public real or perceived.

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