The Health News Australia January 12 2018

  • More than 30 babies have been caught up in a contamination scare after a descaling chemical was incorrectly connected to a baby bottle washer at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide’s north. The hospital said staff were contacting the families of 37 children who may have been exposed to a descaler used to clean dishwashers. SA Health said the error was ongoing from New Year’s Day until January 6, before a nurse noticed the wrong chemical was being used.
  • A baby has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease in the second case reported in Western Australia in a week. The Health Department says the infant is recovering in hospital after being diagnosed with the B serogroup strain of the bacteria. Six people died and 46 cases of meningococcal occurred in WA during 2017, double the number reported in 2016, with the increase attributed to new, virulent strains of serogroup W and Y.
  • New calls for Australia to introduce a sugar-sweetened beverages tax have sparked an outcry from the food and beverage industry and provoked resistance from politicians. Health experts keep calling for a sugar sweetened beverages tax, politicians and industry on the other hand continue to resist it.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th of January 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-10/baby-bottle-chemical-contamination-scare-at-adelaide-hospital/9318506

More than thirty babies have been caught up in a contamination scare after a descaling chemical was incorrectly connected to a baby bottle washer at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide’s north. The hospital said staff were contacting the families of thirty seven children who may have been exposed to a descaler used to clean dishwashers.

South Australia Health said the error was ongoing from New Year’s Day until January six, before a nurse noticed the wrong chemical was being used. The department said there was “a low risk of mouth irritations” but said no adverse reactions had been reported so far.

The hospital’s head of paediatrics Doctor Mark Thesinger said: “If a baby was in any discomfort from having that irritation, they might be fussier with their feeds, they might be a bit irritable, they may not be feeding so well.” He also said he did not know the name of the chemical, but said the bottles were rinsed before used by the children.
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The hospital said that children who may have been affected were most likely to be newborn infants or premature infants who were several weeks old.
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The hospital also stated it was reviewing the incident to avoid a repeat and has discarded all affected bottles as a precaution.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/baby-diagnosed-with-meningococcal-in-wa

A baby has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease in the second case reported in Western Australia in a week. The Health Department says the infant is recovering in hospital after being diagnosed with the B serogroup strain of the bacteria. Six people died and forty six cases of meningococcal occurred in Western Australia during two thousand seventeen, double the number reported in two thousand sixteen, with the increase attributed to new, virulent strains of serogroup W and Y.

Meningococcal is an uncommon, life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain, and occasionally of other sites, such as the throat or large joints. The bacterium is contained in droplets discharged when coughing or sneezing but cannot be spread by saliva and does not survive more than a few seconds in the environment.

A state-funded vaccine for the strains A, C, W and Y is available for those aged fifteen to nineteen, with those who missed out at school able to get a free jab from their general practitioner, community health clinics and some university health centres.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan/10/sugar-tax-why-health-experts-want-it-but-politicians-and-industry-are-resisting

New calls for Australia to introduce a sugar-sweetened beverages tax have sparked an outcry from the food and beverage industry and provoked resistance from politicians. Health experts keep calling for a sugar sweetened beverages tax, politicians and industry on the other hand continue to resist it. Sugar tax vary in design around the world in twenty six countries. In Mexico, a ten percent tax on sugary drinks was introduced in two thousand fourteen.

In a two thousand eighteen statement on nutrition the Australian Medical Association urged the government to introduce an SSB tax . This is significant because AMA is generally conservative when it comes to health policy and often avoids controversial debates. But it now wants a sugar tax “as a matter of priority”. The health minister, Greg Hunt, has made it clear the government will not support it, saying food labelling laws and voluntary codes of conduct to restrict food marketing to children are adequate. Labor’s Tanya Plibersek also stopped short of supporting a tax, saying other strategies are needed to promote a healthy lifestyle. The Greens, led by former doctor Richard Di Natale, support the tax and have previously proposed a twenty percent increase to the price of sugary drinks.

Research published in the Lancet medical journal shows in two thousand fourteen, per capita sales of SSBs were nearly one per day in Australia, at zero point eighty eight compared to zero point eighty four for the UK. Bureau of Statistics data shows Australia is one of the ten highest soft drink-consuming countries per capita. The World Health Organisation recommends adults consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar per day, but the average Australian consumes more than double that.

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