The Health News – 06 February 2014

Overview

  • Queensland Health have blamed persistent wet weather for the ongoing dengue fever outbreak around Cairns, with 59 cases in the area, and a further 17 around Port Douglas.
  • In Victoria, a record number of GPs have begun rural emergency skills training across the state’s North-East and Goulburn Murray region.
  • In NSW, The Federal Assistant Minister of Health Fiona Nash has said that it’s not up to her to improve aged care in the Riverina.
  • There was been a red alert issued for dangerous blue-green algae levels in the Menindee Lakes area. Chairman of the Sunraysia Regional Algal Committee, Owen Russell, says the point has been reached where residents must take precautions.

Health News on HPR.

Cairns’ dengue fever cases hit 59 – no author listed
Queensland Health have blamed persistent wet weather for the ongoing dengue fever outbreak around Cairns, with 59 cases in the area, and a further 17 around Port Douglas. The outbreak is said to have originated from a domestic traveller who contracted the infection in Thailand. Dr Richard Gair, director of Tropical Public Health Services, said local residents need to do help prevent the spread of mosquitoes. He said “Particularly around the Parramatta Park, Cairns North area, although there would be high numbers in Cairns. That has led to an acceleration in the number of cases. If everybody once a week were to make sure there weren’t any breeding sites around their home, if we could get rid of all of those sites completely, then you wouldn’t get transmission of dengue.”

Record number of doctors begin emergency skills training – no author listed
In Victoria, a record number of GPs have begun rural emergency skills training across the state’s North-East and Goulburn Murray region. Chief executive of the Bodong GP program Linda Moon says that more than 150 medical graduates from Australia and overseas had received their training through the initiative over the past decade. She said “A number of doctors who want to become general practitioners and practice in regional areas, they actually are very motivated to gaining additional procedural skills in particular and they could be in area including obstetrics and anaesthetics.” 35 doctors will begin training at Wodonga and Wangaratta this week.

Assistant Health Minister unable to help on Temora aged care bed push – no author listed
In NSW, The Federal Assistant Minister of Health Fiona Nash has said that it’s not up to her to improve aged care in the Riverina. Senator Nash, of the Young electorate, spoke at a health conference at Temora yesterday, and was lobbied by the local council for more aged care beds. The Assistant Minister said the Aged Care Approvals Round for additional bed licenses will be announced in the near future. She said “While I certainly couldn’t commit to funds I’m very well aware of the needs here in the community and have given the Mayor a very strong commitment that I will take the needs of the community back to the relevant minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, to discuss the issues here in Temora that are so important to them.” The issue of mental health, particularly for youth in the region, was raised as a chief concern, particularly in light of 2 young footballers from the area who recently took their own lives. The Assistant Minister said that prevention is the key.

She said “I was very encouraged by the level of focus that’s been placed on mental health provision. Getting to people early, making sure mental health issues are identified and that we do have the capacity out here in our regional communities to treat people with those very genuine needs.”

The Assistant Minister said Temora’s health model should be used as a benchmark for other towns, and said “While there is obviously some need here, that has been raised with some restraints in funding, for some of the things like extra aged care beds, the level of health care here is really just tremendous. I was very impressed with the general practices here and the new medical centre that is absolute a stand out.”

Red alert issued for blue-green algae in Menindee Lakes – no author listed
There was been a red alert issued for dangerous blue-green algae levels in the Menindee Lakes area.
Chairman of the Sunraysia Regional Algal Committee, Owen Russell, says the point has been reached where residents must take precautions, must not come into contact with the water or let their animals drink it. He said “We’ve started to see blue-green algae appearing in that area around the Menindee Lakes. If you do notice any areas that are showing blue-green algae symptoms, the green scum on the surface of the water and the foul smell, stay well clear of it, and that includes livestock as well as pets, they also must stay well clear of it.” Mr Russell said recent hot weather made the perfect conditions for algae growth, and continued “Once you start to see the very warm temperatures, low flows, the high evaporation that’s been coming off the lakes at the moment, you’ve got ideal conditions for algae growth. That’s what we would be seeing at the moment, so it’s not a big surprise for us, but something that we’ve got to be well on top of.”