The Health News – 13 June 2016

Overview:
• The world’s worst yellow fever outbreak in decades took hold in Angola because its early victims were Eritrean migrants whose false vaccination papers sent doctors off on the wrong path for weeks, international he alth officials say. The flare-up of the mosquito-borne disease has killed 325 people in Angola, and spread as far as China — which has close commercial links with oil-rich Angola — raising fears of the world running out of vaccine. But it might have been stopped in its tracks if it had been identified quickly in Luanda.

• Newcastle woman Roxanne Clarke, 39, has stage four melanoma which is metastatic in her brain. She was recently admitted to Newcastle’s Mater Hospital — the very place where Australia’s first trials of medicinal cannabis had been due to start early this year. But delays mean she has been unable to benefit.

• The Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills (ARRTS) program is run by the Australian Defence Force twice a year in Canberra. It is open to Defence [Force] members from across the services suffering physical or psychological injuries.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  13th of June 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-12/yellow-fever-false-vaccination-documents-linked-to-deaths/7503092

The world’s worst yellow fever outbreak in decades took hold in … [a slum in …] Angola …because its early victims were Eritrean migrants whose false vaccination papers sent doctors off on the wrong path for weeks, international he alth officials say.

The flare-up of the mosquito-borne disease has killed 325 people in Angola, and spread as far as China — which has close commercial links with oil-rich Angola — raising fears of the world running out of vaccine. But it might have been stopped in its tracks if it had been identified quickly in Luanda.

Luanda World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Hernando Agudelo said he and government experts thought they were dealing with a mystery disease when unexplained deaths first surfaced in mid-December.

“The first people that we found with this strange way of dying, this syndrome, they had vaccination cards,” Mr Agudelo said.

“We were analysing ‘What the hell is it?'”

Yellow fever is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that spread the Zika and dengue viruses, although it is much more serious, with death rates as high as 75 per cent in severe cases, requiring admission to hospital.

The condition takes its name from the jaundiced colour of some patients.

Angola is Africa’s biggest oil producer and attracts a sizeable share of Eritreans fleeing the rigidly-controlled Horn of Africa country.

However, Angola denies entry to anybody without vaccination documents.

Since the outbreak was identified in January, 10.5 million Angolans — 40 per cent of the population — have been vaccinated and the WHO plans to cover the rest of the country by the end of the year.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-12/nsw-minister-criticised-over-delays-in-medical-cannabis-trials/7502716

The partner of a terminally ill woman has complained to the Premier about delays in NSW medicinal cannabis trials.

Newcastle woman Roxanne Clarke, 39, …has stage four melanoma which is metastatic in her brain.

She has been discharged from hospital so that she can die at home with husband Garry and other family members by her side.

Roxanne used cannabis oil to treat the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

“It was as if she’d never had radiation treatment. She’d get a little bit nauseous, we’d give her a little bit of cannabis oil, the nausea would go away,” Garry said.

Roxanne and Gary get the cannabis from a black market supplier who provides it free of charge to terminally ill patients.

Roxanne is registered on the Government’s “terminal illness cannabis scheme”, which gives police discretion not to charge her.

But the scheme only allows her to possess one gram of cannabis — Roxanne’s daily dose.

And she can only use the drug at home.

She was recently admitted to Newcastle’s Mater Hospital — the very place where Australia’s first trials of medicinal cannabis had been due to start early this year. But delays mean she has been unable to benefit.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-12/art-helps-injured-defence-members/7498648

A program using art as therapy to help injured defence personnel has proven so successful it has been guaranteed for five years.

The Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills (ARRTS) program is run by the Australian Defence Force twice a year in Canberra.

It is open to Defence [Force] members from across the services suffering physical or psychological injuries.

Army Sergeant Jason Kent, a participant in the program, described the past three years of his life as a “train wreck”.

“I was witness to an incident in Afghanistan. I attempted suicide in Afghanistan,” he said.

On his return to Australia Mr Kent was diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He has spent the past four weeks in Canberra taking part in the ARRTS program.

“It’s been hard. It’s been confronting in a lot of things for me,” he said.

As part of the program’s music strand, Mr Kent was coached in writing, composing and performing songs based on personal experience.

Artistic director Geoff Grey said the course was a life-changing experience for participants which gave them the skills to move forward.