- New South Wales Health and the state’s Food Authority are investigating an outbreak of Hepatitis A, with 12 cases confirmed across Sydney and its surrounds over the past 5 weeks.
- The Australian Medical Association has rejected a suggestion that parental lack of confidence in general practitioners to care for their children may be contributing to overcrowded hospital emergency departments.
- New South Wales Health documents reveal areas where deadly pathogens are regularly detected at dangerous levels in unfiltered drinking water pumped from rivers, lakes and dams.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 9th of September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
New South Wales Health and the state’s Food Authority are investigating an outbreak of Hepatitis A, with twelve cases confirmed across Sydney and its surrounds over the past five weeks. The symptoms of Hepatitis A commence two to seven weeks after exposure.
Symptoms include fever, nausea, loss of appetite, dark urine, pale stools and diarrhea. After several days skin and eyes become yellowish. The numbers are considerably higher than the average of two cases of locally acquired hepatitis A each year. NSW Health’s director of communicable diseases Vicky Sheppeard said when outbreaks occurred in Australia, they were usually linked to the consumption of contaminated food products or person-to-person spread.
In two thousand fifteen, at least eighteen people contracted the disease in Victoria with the outbreak linked to frozen berries. There have been between forty one and eighty two cases of hepatitis A notified to NSW Health each year since two thousand thirteen, mostly in people returning from high-risk countries.
The Australian Medical Association has rejected a suggestion that parental lack of confidence in general practitioners to care for their children may be contributing to overcrowded hospital emergency departments. An online national survey of two thousand one hundred parents of children aged from zero to seventeen, published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, found only forty four per cent of parents were “completely” confident that their GP can handle almost all of their child’s general health issues.
According to the survey, forty five per cent were “mostly” confident and only slightly more than half – fifty six per cent – of parents were “totally” confident in a GP to provide care for minor injuries for a child not needing an X-ray. Lead researcher, University of Melbourne Professor Gary Freed, said parents’ diminishing confidence in GPs could significantly affect the organisation and structure of the health-care system as more families are attending emergency departments for lower-urgency ailments.
AMA Vice President Doctor Tony Bartone, who is also a practising GP, disputed the findings of the survey. “I don’t believe for one minute that there is a lack in confidence in dealing with paediatric cases,” Doctor Bartone told the Australian Associated Press. He adds that developing a relationship with your local GP builds confidence in the care they provide to children.
New South Wales Health documents obtained by the ABC reveal areas where deadly pathogens are regularly detected at dangerous levels in unfiltered drinking water pumped from rivers, lakes and dams. The water safety reports, obtained after a lengthy freedom-of-information battle, also show more than one hundred thousand NSW residents were issued protective boil-water alerts in the last five years. The documents say faecal contamination from cattle, and even swimmers along the lower Clarence River catchment, is the parasite’s source. Deadly bugs originate in “onsite sewerage system discharges”, “failures and presence of septic systems” and from dairy farms upstream.
Alarmingly, the documents say “all pathogen groups” including e. coli are present in Kempsey water, and that a further “vulnerability assessment” should be undertaken.The cost of introducing filtration across rural NSW is estimated to be in the order of one point five billion to two billion dollars. The documents also reveal a letter from Kerry Chant, the state’s chief health officer, to Gavin Hanlon, an executive in the Department of Primary Industries, warning that many unfiltered supplies would not meet Australian drinking water guidelines. The spokesperson says that since two thousand twelve, seven point three million dollars has been invested in programs to improve drinking water quality. A NSW Health spokesperson told the ABC it took health risks very seriously and worked closely with the water section of the Department of Primary Industries to make sure “health risks are assessed and effectively managed”.