The Health News – 27 April 2016

Overview:
• Workplace authorities will investigate concerns about mould at the Royal Hobart Hospital, which construction workers say has affected their health.

• A major boost for suicide prevention programs and a focus on so-called suicide “hotspots” will be the centrepiece of mental health investment in Wednesday’s Victorian budget.

• Have you ever found yourself wondering just how dirty your gym is? A recent study found the free weights examined had 362 times more germs than the average toilet seat. But infectious disease expert Professor Allen Cheng, from Monash University, said he had not seen any evidence from Australia of MRSA being spread through a gym environment.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  27th of April 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/worksafe-to-investigate-hospital-mould/7360558

Workplace authorities will investigate concerns about mould at the Royal Hobart Hospital, which construction workers say has affected their health.

Workers at the hospital have been putting together a demountable building as part of construction work at the site.

Mould has been discovered in several of the demountable modules which will house patients during the multi-million-dollar revamp of the Royal Hobart Hospital.

The State Opposition said construction workers had developed respiratory illnesses after being exposed to the mould.

The completion of the $22 million building designed to house patients during construction has been plagued by delays after mould was discovered in at least 18 out of the 64 modules.

Premier Will Hodgman said the claims would be probed thoroughly by WorkSafe.

Labor and the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) said the mould had caused workers with pre-existing respiratory problems to have “flare-ups”.

Labor first raised concerns in State Parliament on Tuesday morning and MP Bec White continued the attack at a media conference this afternoon.

“The workers are reporting respiratory concerns, cold and flu-like symptoms,” she said.

“We’ve been contacted … by a father of one of the workers on the site there who claims that he as a consequence of being exposed to the mould became extremely ill.

“We are not just talking about asthma conditions being inflamed as a consequence of this, but this is someone who has to go to hospital.”

Neither Labor [n]or [sic] the union could put a figure on how many people had been affected.

The CEPU’s Michael Anderson said a WorkSafe audit of the construction site was needed.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/victoria-budget-spending-boost-aims-to-halve-suicide-rate/7360696

A major boost for suicide prevention programs and a focus on so-called suicide “hotspots” will be the centrepiece of mental health investment in Wednesday’s Victorian budget.

The budget will include $356 million to boost Victoria’s mental health services and $27.5 million will be dedicated to suicide prevention strategies.

In 2015, 654 Victorians took their own lives – more than double the number of people killed on the state’s roads.

The Government hopes the strategy will halve the number of suicides in Victoria over the next decade.

Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said there would be a focus on people who had already made suicide attempts.

The Government will also identify six suicide “hotspots” across Victoria, where suicide rates are higher than the state average.

Mr Foley said suicide did not discriminate, but research could identify patterns and at-risk groups.

The areas that will receive the targeted funding will be identified by an expert reference group.

Beyond Blue chief executive officer Georgie Harman welcomed the extra funding.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/gym-germs-is-your-fitness-centre-a-health-hazard/7359890

Have you ever found yourself wondering just how dirty your gym is?

Perhaps the question came to you as you watched yet another very sweaty man or woman walk away from the leg press machine, without giving it the obligatory wipe-down.

It’s easy to let your mind run wild, imagining the germs that might be left behind – and there is some science to back up your fears.

A recent study found the free weights examined had 362 times more germs than the average toilet seat.

But how likely is it that you’ll catch a serious disease at the average Australian gym?

There’s been very little local research on infectious disease[s] in gyms.

But a US study published in 2014 found evidence of a range of potentially disease-causing bacteria, including …salmonella …

Although many of these bacteria are also found on public surfaces outside gyms, the study found that the poor personal hygiene of gym users generally and inadequate cleaning, were likely to have caused the rich diversity of bacteria found.

But infectious disease expert Professor Allen Cheng, from Monash University, said he had not seen any evidence from Australia of MRSA being spread through a gym environment.

… in addition to infectious free weights, the treadmills were found to have 74 times more bacteria than a public bathroom faucet, and the exercise bikes had 39 times more bacteria than a tray from your local food court.

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