The Health News – 09 July 2015

Overview:

• Health Protection NSW director Dr. Jeremy McAnulty urged the New South Wales public not to be concerned after a man was diagnosed with an extremely rare and fatal condition called “Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)” which caused by an abnormality in the brain and was not mad cow disease, which can be caught from eating infected meat.

• Adelaide University researchers have been working on breath analysis using an optical frequency comb A laser device as sensitive as a dog’s nose might be able to detect disease, including cancer, from a simple breath test in the future.

• Tasmanians are coming down with the flu at more than twice the five-year average, with 169 cases confirmed in 2015 up to early July according to new statistics released by Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 9th July 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-08/mad-cow-disease-concerns-allayed-after-creutzfeldt-jakob-disease/6604362

Health authorities have urged the New South Wales public not to be concerned after a man was diagnosed with an extremely rare and fatal condition similar to mad cow disease.

Frank Burton, a former financial officer of the Sydney Swans, has been given only weeks to live after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).
Health Protection NSW director Dr Jeremy McAnulty said CJD was caused by an abnormality in the brain and was not mad cow disease, which can be caught from eating infected meat.

“It’s normally caused by an abnormality, a mutation that develops in a person’s brain that causes changes in the protein that leads to a disease that’s quite debilitating and fatal.”
He stressed that there were no recorded cases of mad cow disease in Australia.

Dr McNaulty also reassured NSW residents that CJD was not infectious.

Peter Kogoy said his close friend Mr Burton was told on Friday he had three months to live, but now that timeframe has been accelerated to two or three weeks.
He said Mr Burton was diagnosed “with something unusual” by his doctor just over five weeks ago and that there was a rapid progression of the disease and subsequent tests revealed it was sporadic CJD.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-08/breath-test-laser-device-detect-cancer-disease/6603828

A laser device as sensitive as a dog’s nose might be able to detect disease, including cancer, from a simple breath test in the future.

Adelaide University researchers have been working on breath analysis using an optical frequency comb, a laser device which won a Nobel prize a decade ago.
Researcher Dr James Anstie said they hoped to have a working prototype within three years and a commercial breath analysis device within five years.

“It’s a broad screening test. You can go to a clinic or a hospital and breathe into a device and it tells you a whole range of things that might be worth looking into.”
Dr Anstie said current disease detection methods such as blood tests could prove expensive and doctors tended to use them for patients where there was a firm likelihood of disease being found.

He expressed confidence the laser device under development in Adelaide would prove an effective and a popular choice for doctors and their patients in the future.

The researchers said the focus of their current work was ensuring the device was highly sensitive and accurate.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-08/tasmanians-suffering-the-flu-in-record-numbers/6603432

Tasmanians are coming down with the flu at more than twice the five-year average, with 169 cases confirmed in 2015 up to early July.

From 2010 to 2014, there was an average of 80 confirmed cases of influenza per year in Tasmania, although there were only 22 cases in 2013.
This year, the numbers spiked – a trend being seen across Australia – according to new statistics released by Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley.
Cases nationally have risen 52 per cent rise on last year, up from 9,258 to 14,124.
Ms Ley said the figures pressed home the importance of the flu vaccine, adding it was the most effective protection against contracting the highly contagious disease.

Tasmania’s Director of Public Health, Mark Veitch, told 936 ABC Hobart this year’s vaccine was a few weeks late because of changes to two new strains of flu covered by the shot.
Mr Veitch rejected suggestions the late rollout was to blame for the high number of cases, saying more than 100,000 Tasmanians had received the vaccine.

This has been the news on Health Professional Radio. For more information on today’s items head to hpr.fm/news and subscribe to our podcast on itunes.