The News – 17 Feb 2015

Overview

  • The leaders of the West African countries devastated by the Ebola outbreak have vowed to eradicate the deadly virus by mid-April.
  • A 10-bed dementia care unit in Hobart will close because of Federal Government budget cuts, the state’s Health Minister Michael Ferguson says.
  • Poor hygiene amongst Chinese workers as well as potentially contaminated water supplies in China are thought to be the likely causes of an outbreak of hepatitis A in Australia, linked to imported frozen berries.



News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 17th February 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-16/ebola-hit-nations-pledge-to-eradicate-virus-in-60-days/6116058

The leaders of the West African countries devastated by the Ebola outbreak have vowed to eradicate the deadly virus by mid-April.
Guinea’s president Alpha Conde and his Liberian and Sierra Leone counterparts Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ernest Bai Koroma made the pledge at a summit in the Guinean capital, Conakry.


Ebola infections have dropped rapidly across the three countries in recent months.
But Guinea and Sierra Leone remain a huge concern as both have seen a recent spike in new confirmed cases, the World Health Organisation said.

Reading a joint declaration from the leaders, Mr Kaba said they “recognised the efforts that have been made by the member states and the international community which have resulted in the decline of Ebola infections and death rates”.
The World Bank said in January that the economic damage of the epidemic could run to $6.2 billion, trimming an earlier estimate of $25 billion.
The Bank added the epidemic “will continue to cripple the economies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone even as transmission rates in the three countries show significant signs of slowing”.
Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund announced $100 million in debt relief for the three countries and said it was preparing another $160 million in concessional loans.

The West African leaders agreed to formulate a joint economic recovery plan to present at a conference on Ebola to be held by the European Union in Brussels on March 3, the Guinean presidency said in a statement.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-16/federal-funding-cuts-behind-closure-of-dementia-beds-in-hobart/6117022

A 10-bed dementia care unit in Hobart will close because of Federal Government budget cuts, the state’s Health Minister Michael Ferguson says.
Mr Ferguson said it was “extremely disappointing” that the Jasmine Unit at the Roy Fagan Centre in Lenah Valley would close in April.

He said the decision was made despite “on-going consultation with the Federal Government”.
… the Government said it was hopeful staff would be able to be redeployed elsewhere in the Health Department.
Mr Ferguson also said patients who had been treated at the unit would receive “excellent care and high quality support through state-funded services”.
In last year’s federal budget, the Commonwealth signalled it would change how it funded state public hospitals by moving to a new model based on the consumer price index and population growth from 2017.
The State Government has previously described last year’s budget changes as “good, bad and ugly”.
The Federal Health Minister has been contacted for comment.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-16/poor-hygiene-chinese-workers-blamed-for-hepatitis-a-outbreak/6114546

Poor hygiene amongst Chinese workers as well as potentially contaminated water supplies in China are thought to be the likely causes of an outbreak of hepatitis A in Australia, linked to imported frozen berries.

Eight people — three in Victoria, three in Queensland and two in New South Wales — had become sick with hepatitis A after eating Nanna’s frozen mixed berries, prompting a national recall of the one-kilogram bag product.
On Sunday the recall was extended to Creative Gourmet mixed berries in 300 gram and 500 gram packets, because they were packaged in the same plant as the Nanna’s berries.
The berries, grown in China and Chile, had previously been repackaged by Patties Foods in Bairnsdale in regional Victoria.
In December, Patties Foods began accepting berry products that had been washed and packaged at the supplier’s factory in China’s Shandong province.
Dr Finn Romanes from Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the contamination had been traced back to China.

“Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A infection does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal but it can cause debilitating symptoms and [acute liver failure] which is associated with high mortality,” WHO said on its website.
Acute liver failure is possible in elderly patients and rare in younger patients.
Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine, administered six months apart, offer lifetime protection.

It was not yet known what other food products the Chinese supplier produced for Australia.

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