The Health News – 8 February 2016

Overview:
• High levels of the rare toxin Pseudo-nitzschia delicatissima, which is caused by algae was found in water samples taken at Eagle Point, Paynesville and Metung. People have been warned not to eat or take mussels and other shellfish from Victoria’s Gippsland lakes region as health authorities test for the toxin.

• More than 3,100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zikavirus, according to President Juan Manuel Santos, as the disease continues its rapid spread across the Americas.

• About 150 workers from Minda have gathered at North Brighton to hold a protest rally over pay rates and conditions in South Australia.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 8th February 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-07/dangerous-toxin-found-in-gippsland-lakes-shellfish-warning/7146582

People have been warned not to eat or take mussels and other shellfish from Victoria’s Gippsland lakes region, as health authorities test for a rare, potentially fatal toxin.

While no one has recently become ill from eating the shellfish, the warning was issued as a precaution, the Health Department said.

It said it was still safe to swim in the lakes region and eat fish from the waters.

High levels of the rare toxin Pseudo-nitzschia delicatissima, which is caused by algae blooms, was found in water samples taken at Eagle Point, Paynesville and Metung.

The last significant bloom was 20 years ago, the department said, adding it hoped to give an update later this week after further testing.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, while headaches, short-term memory loss and seizures can develop in severe cases.

The Health Department said anyone showing signs or symptoms should contact their medical practitioner.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-07/zika-virus-in-colombia-infecting-more-than-3000-pregnant-women/7146390

More than 3,100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, according to President Juan Manuel Santos, as the disease continues its rapid spread across the Americas.

In Colombia, there are so far no recorded cases of Zika-linked microcephaly, which prevents fetus’ brains from developing properly, but there are 25,645 people infected with the disease, Mr Santos said.

Among them are 3,177 pregnant women.

Authorities will continue to investigate, and the Government will be working across the country to fight mosquitoes — fumigating and helping families rid their homes of stagnant water, he said.

Colombian health minister Alejandro Gaviria said he believed three deaths were connected with Zika.

The Government said pregnant women with Zika were eligible to access much-restricted abortion services.

But many women struggle to find abortion providers even when they meet strict legal requirements and illegal abortions are widespread.

The Government has urged women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months.

Unreported cases and patients with no symptoms of infection could mean that there are between 80,000 and 100,000 current Zika infections in Colombia, the Government said.

An estimated 80 per cent of those infected with Zika show no symptoms, and those that do have a mild illness, with a fever, rash and red eyes.

There is no vaccine or treatment.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-06/minda-disability-support-workers-rally-for-better-wages/7145972

About 150 workers from one of South Australia’s largest disability services providers, Minda, have gathered at North Brighton to hold a protest rally over pay rates and conditions.

The United Voice union has been in negotiations with Minda management for a new enterprise agreement since April last year.

United Voice South Australia branch assistant secretary Demi Pnevmatikos said members wanted a wage increase of 2.5 per cent per year.

Minda is the state’s largest non-government disability support organisation assisting people with intellectual disabilities with residential, employment and respite services.

Minda chief executive Cathy Miller said the company offered employees “extremely generous” conditions compared to other disability organisations.

“Employee costs now represent 103 per cent of government grant funding, and Minda has had to draw on its investments and land revenue to bridge that gap,” she said.

“With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Minda must become more competitive with other service providers.”

She said the company “broadly speaking” was proposing between a 7.2 per cent and 17.7 per cent wage rise depending on classification of the life of the new agreement through staggered annual increases.