The Health News – 4 December 2015

Overview:
• Public health experts are warning of the dangers of the potentially fatal lyssavirus after the disease was detected in two dead bats on the New South Wales Central Coast. 

• More than 3,000 doctors and leading health experts have signed a petition calling on the Federal Government to act immediately to remove children from immigration detention.

• Medical device security expert Todd Cooper told the SRI Security Conference at Edith Cowan University on Wednesday that wireless medical devices such as ventilators, patient-controlled analgesia pumps and MRI machines were vulnerable to cyber attacks.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 4th December 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-03/bat-alert/6995602

Public health experts are warning of the dangers of the potentially fatal lyssavirus after the disease was detected in two dead bats on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Central Coast Health said local bat activity is increasing heading into summer and 11 people have been treated for bat bites and scratches in the past week.

Public health director, Doctor Peter Lewis said the best protection against the disease is to avoid handling the animals.

Three people have died in Australia from lyssavirus in recent years.

All Australian bats, both the larger flying foxes and the small insect eating bats are considered to have the potential to transmit the disease.

If bitten or scratched, clean the wound immediately with soap and water for at least five minutes and seek medical attention.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-03/doctors-ramp-up-calls-for-release-of-children-in-detention/6996166

More than 3,000 doctors and leading health experts have signed a petition calling on the Federal Government to act immediately to remove children from immigration detention.

Associate Professor Karen Zwi, a community paediatrician and head of department of community child health at Sydney Children’s Hospital, said she was seeing young children in Sydney hospitals who were severely impacted and harmed by their experiences in detention.

Dr Zwi is one of a number of doctors who have visited and examined children on Nauru and other detention centres.

“We have seen first hand why these places are so damaging,” she said.

Many of the children she had examined had been in detention for an average of about 500 days, Dr Zwi said.

“This is unbearable for most people, and more so if you are a child, and leads to severe psychological distress, and in children, developmental delay,” she said.

“This is what we are seeing in our patients and we feel as professionals we have a duty of care to make this known.”

Australian doctors are calling for children to be released from detention together with their families as a matter of urgency.

“We are damaging them further every day we keep them locked up,” she said.

Dr Zwi is speaking publicly, despite secrecy provisions in the Border Force Act, that stops them from speaking out about their work in detention centres.

The new law threatens imprisonment for those who speak out against abuse of asylum seekers and about health care violations in onshore and offshore detention centres.

The petition asks for parliament to vote to “immediately release these children together with their families from detention”.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-03/life-saving-wireless-medical-devices-at-risk-of-cyber-attack/6996298

Life-saving wireless heart pacemakers could actually be ticking time bombs at risk of cyber attack, a Perth conference has been told.

Medical device security expert Todd Cooper told the SRI Security Conference at Edith Cowan University on Wednesday that wireless medical devices such as ventilators, patient-controlled analgesia pumps and MRI machines were vulnerable to cyber attacks.

He said that while no cybercriminal had yet hacked into a medical device with the intent of harming a patient physically, wireless devices were a recognised target and “a ticking time bomb”.

The danger of “medjacking” — or the hijacking of medical devices — is considered so real that in September, the FBI issued a security alert warning on the threat.

The agency warned of the potential for cybercriminals to hack into medical devices which connect to the internet to send or receive data, such as insulin dispensers.