Health News – 12 Dec 2014

Overview

  • The child recently died on the Mornington Peninsula after drinking unpasteurised milk marketed as a cosmetic product and labelled “bath milk”, the Victorian Health Department said.
  • A Queensland mother believes the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital has opened too soon and with a lack of transport and facilities for parents of patients.
  • Male firefighters face a higher risk of melanoma and prostate cancer than the general population, researchers have found.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th December 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-11/raw-milk-company-defends-product-after-3yos-death/5959246

The owners of a small raw milk company have defended their product following the death of a three-year-old in Victoria.

The child recently died after drinking unpasteurised milk on the Mornington Peninsula after drinking what was marketed as a cosmetic product and labelled “bath milk”, the Victorian Health Department said.

Unpasteurised milk, or raw cow’s milk, is illegal to sell for human consumption in Australia, but the product consumed by the child was classed as cosmetic so was allowed on the shelves.

The product made by Mountain View Farm was packaged and labelled in a similar way to normal milk.

Vicki Jones, the owner of Mountain View Farm, said she drank the milk herself, but her product was clearly labelled as not for human consumption.

“We label it as bath milk, for cosmetic use only, not for consumption. It’s quite bold, so it’s easy to see,” she said.

Four other children recently became ill after drinking raw milk.

The incidents have led Victorian health authorities to issue a warning about the dangers of drinking the product.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer said she was worried unpasteurised milk was intentionally being given to children despite being labelled not for human consumption.

Unpasteurised milk can cause potentially fatal gastrointestinal illness which affects the kidneys and bloodstream and could cause a parasitic infection that presents as gastroenteritis.

She also said her company ran their own tests on the milk every week for bacteria and it always came back negative.

Dr Lester said she had written to Victorian Consumer Affairs and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the issue.

The president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Tony Bartone, said there was no reason the product should be on the market.

He also echoed Dr Lester’s concerns with the way the product was packaged and sold, and so has Dairy Australia.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-11/lady-cilento-childrens-hospital-opened-too-soon-mother-says/5960070

A Queensland mother believes the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital has opened too soon and with a lack of transport and facilities for parents of patients.

The hospital opened on November 29 on Brisbane’s southside and has since been criticised by patients and their families for lengthy admittance times, and a lack of food and laundry facilities.

Rebecca Hursthouse from Gin Gin, west of Bundaberg, has been in Brisbane with her daughter Bella who was diagnosed on September 19 last year with stage four Neuroblastoma.

Her daughter was originally treated at Herston’s Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), but a recent relapse meant the family had to return to Brisbane to be treated at Lady Cilento at the beginning of December.

The family’s main worry is there is a lack of transport offerings between their accommodation at the original Royal Children’s Hospital and the new facility.

Ms Hursthouse said the lack of food facilities on site also means parents have to leave their children to buy meals.

Ms Hursthouse said facilities were better at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

But Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has hit back at the claims and said facilities were ready for patients and their families from the opening date last month.

Mr Springborg said he was happy for anyone, including the media, to tour the hospital.

Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital CEO Dr Peter Steer said clinically, the hospital was up to standard.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-11/firefighters-higher-risk-of-melanoma-prostate-cancer-study/5959410

Male firefighters face a higher risk of melanoma and prostate cancer than the general population, researchers have found.

The study by Monash University in Melbourne looked into the potential health impacts on firefighters, through their exposure to hazardous materials.

Experts studied close to 233,000 current and former firefighters across Australia over three years and compared them to the general population in terms of causes of death and incidence of cancer.

The study found that rates of melanomas in career male firefighters were 45 per cent higher than in the general population, and for prostate cancer it was 23 per cent higher.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Deborah Glass, from Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology, said the study looked at all types of cancers across the firefighter population.

“We were looking at the whole spectrum of cancers and among male career firefighters both part time and full time, we found excessive prostate cancer and melanoma.

But she said all firefighters had a higher life expectancy than the general public.

The study also showed less significant heightened risk in other cancers across career firefighters.

CEO of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council Stuart Ellis said on a positive note, these two most elevated cancers have early detection screening tests, which the industry could look at incorporating into health monitoring programs.

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