The Health News – 7 April 2017

Overview:

• One 15-year-old teenager is in juvenile detention and another is recovering at home, after the they bought 34 prescription benzoxazepine pills, used for anxiety and depression, to take with alcohol over the weekend. Local youth worker Dave Bell, from the Spirit Mentoring program, said parents were becoming increasingly concerned about their children buying prescription pills on the street. Professor Kate Conigrave, addiction specialist from the University of Sydney, said prescription drug misuse was one of the biggest health issues in Australia.

• The first major outbreak of measles in Sydney in five years was sparked by a traveller who contracted it in Indonesia, then introduced it to others in western Sydney, NSW health authorities say. Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, Vicky Sheppeard, said “a variety of people have been affected”. Sheppeard also said that the 10 most recently notified measles cases have ranged in age from newborn to 47 years of age.

• Research from the University of New South Wales shows, in the past five years alone, four novel subtypes and three novel variant strains of influenza have emerged in humans. PhD student Dr Chau Bui from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHRMC) Centre for Research Excellence in Epidemic Response said there was an increased risk a bird flu strain [that] could emerge …[which] could cause a human pandemic.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  7th of April 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-06/prescription-drugs-black-market-growing-in-campbelltown/8421402

A growing black market of prescription drugs is gripping the streets of Campbelltown in Sydney’s south west and residents say it is getting worse.

One 15-year-old teenager is in juvenile detention and another is recovering at home, after the they bought 34 prescription benzoxazepine pills, used for anxiety and depression, to take with alcohol over the weekend.

They brought them from two adult men who were supplying alcohol to them.

One of the girls, Leigh, said the drugs left her unable to remember what she had done for the past “five to six days”.

“I have bruises all over me and I tried to hurt my mum, I axed her wardrobe and I have kicked holes in the wall,” she told AM.

“I was just experimenting with my friend ’cause we do everything together, but I guess that was the wrong thing to do.”

The drug-induced rage also affected her friend, Taylor, whose mother Jasmine was forced to call the police when her daughter would not stop kicking holes in the wall.

Only this week Ms Dargan said she was offered drugs on the street.

“You can buy a tablet for $20 — it makes me really upset cause kids are buying them now,” she said.

“I was addicted to prescription drugs and have been for over 20 years now. It’s so easy to get prescription drugs, and it’s the doctors who are writing out the scripts.”

Local youth worker Dave Bell, from the Spirit Mentoring program, said parents were becoming increasingly concerned about their children buying prescription pills on the street.

Professor Kate Conigrave, addiction specialist from the University of Sydney, said prescription drug misuse was one of the biggest health issues in Australia.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-06/measles-outbreak-in-auburn-and-blacktown/8421762

The first major outbreak of measles in Sydney in five years was sparked by a traveller who contracted it in Indonesia, then introduced it to others in western Sydney, NSW health authorities say.

In the past week 10 cases have been confirmed in the Auburn and Bankstown Local Government areas.

Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, Vicky Sheppeard, said “a variety of people have been affected”.

“Some were household members of previous cases,” she said.

“The 10 most recently notified measles cases have ranged in age from newborn to 47 years of age.

This is the first outbreak in Sydney since 2012 when an overseas visitor spread it to 169 people over a period of months, Ms Sheppeard said.

Dr Sheppeard said measles is the most contagious infection out there.

Dr Sheppeard said people with two doses of measles vaccinations are 99 per cent protected against infection.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-06/flu-pandemic-plans-should-be-stepped-up-study-says/8421304

A jump in the number of new flu strains means health authorities need to increase preparations for a pandemic.

Research from the University of New South Wales shows, in the past five years alone, four novel subtypes and three novel variant strains of influenza have emerged in humans.

PhD student Dr Chau Bui from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHRMC) Centre for Research Excellence in Epidemic Response said there was an increased risk a bird flu strain [that] could emerge …[which] could cause a human pandemic.

The rate of novel flu strains emerging in humans has increased in recent years.

New strains of influenza A have emerged in humans 19 times since 1918.

Of these, six strains are able to be efficiently transmitted from human-to-human, 10 are predominantly animal-to-human viruses, and three are predominantly animal-to-human swine flu variants.

Dr Bui says health authorities preparing for a pandemic need to focus on preventing disease in birds, particularly poultry.

The research was published in the Archives of Public Health.