- Doctors treating Ebola in Africa are raising concerns about the emergence of “post-Ebola syndrome” among survivors of the deadly outbreak.
- Authorities are warning residents in Canberra to be careful around wasp nests, with a spate of serious stinging attacks occurring this year.
- Hundreds of schools around New South Wales could be contaminated with deadly asbestos and a government expert warns authorities are using band-aid measures to clean up the problem.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 6th February 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Doctors treating Ebola in Africa are raising concerns about the emergence of “post-Ebola syndrome” among survivors of the deadly outbreak.
Ebola, which killed almost 9,000 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, initially causes fever and vomiting, then attacks the immune system and vital organs, often causing internal and external bleeding.
About 60 per cent of Ebola patients have died in the current outbreak, typically from shock or organ failure, but according to the UN there were also between 5,000 and 10,000 survivors in the region.
Some of those who have survived the disease report a mixture of symptoms after their recovery, including vision problems, joint pain, hair and memory loss and anxiety attacks.
Doctors said it was not yet clear how long the symptoms lasted.
Dan Kelly, founder of the non-profit organisation Wellbody Alliance and a doctor specialising in infectious diseases, said the situation could be complicated by poor medical records, making it hard to separate any new symptoms from pre-existing conditions.
Ebola, like many severe infections, may also weaken survivors and make other illnesses more likely.
Authorities are warning residents in Canberra to be careful around wasp nests, with a spate of serious stinging attacks occurring this year.
In the last month, 12 Canberrans reported serious stings and 1,000 people called the European wasp hotline, with one victim suffering at least eight bites.
Pest officer with Territory and Municipal Services Jenny Conolly said officers were destroying at least two wasp nests a day.
Medical experts, including Dr Raymond Mullins, a consultant physician and allergy expert at the John James Centre, warned of the potentially rare and serious consequences of wasp stings for allergy sufferers.
“The major concern is the people who get the top-to-toe rash, can’t breathe or in the worse case scenario drop their blood pressure, collapse and end up in hospital,” he said.
Ms Conolly said despite the protective clothing, she was stung last year when a wasp crawled up inside her sleeve.
“Within five to six hours I could actually feel a venom trail leading up my arm,” she said.
John Emery, a tree watering contractor, was stung several times in the suburb of Harrison on Wednesday.
Scientists also expressed concern about the potential long-term environmental impacts of the growing wasp population.
Entomologist Dr Philip Spradbery said wasp nests in the bush were known to have severe environmental consequences.
“They will absolutely clear out an area of all insect life,” he said.
Hundreds of schools around New South Wales could be contaminated with deadly asbestos and a government expert warns authorities are using band-aid measures to clean up the problem.
Parents … fear for their children’s safety because of repeated exposure to fibro asbestos sheeting used as landfill in school ovals and playgrounds which in some cases has been cleaned up multiple times.
Manly West Public School on Sydney’s northern beaches has been cleaned up three times after fragments of bonded asbestos were discovered on the school oval in 2012.
Premier and local member Mike Baird wrote to the Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, about the problem and was assured the asbestos had been removed and the playing fields were safe to use.
But Mr Piccoli noted “the school has chosen, however, not to use the oval as an interim measure”.
The Manly West P&C raised tens of thousands of dollars to help pay for consultant Col Scotts to clean it up for a third time.
Members of the P&C declined to comment, but parent Mike Jeffries said he was worried his 11-year-old son might have been exposed to the carcinogen.
Mr Scotts from artificial turf company Grassman was brought in to do the third clean-up late last year.
He was highly critical of the method often used to clear playgrounds, known as chicken picking.
This involved a team of people in protective gear walking in a line and double bagging all the fragments of asbestos they could find.
“They’re just skimming the surface and that is a temporary fix,” Mr Scotts said.
Peter Tighe, the chief executive of the Commonwealth Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, agreed.
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