G20 health concerns addressed

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In the lead up to the G20, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr. Janette Young says Australia is prepared for any public health concern, including managing an Ebola case.

“Queensland is used to natural disasters and the capacity or our medical emergency and retrieval teams have been tried and tested in the past. We are ready” Dr. Young said.

Since the World Health Organization declared Ebola as a ‘world health emergency,’ Queensland has made preparations to ensure they are ready for any health threat.

Just last week over 100 medical personal and health officers completed a simulation exercise to practice the logistics involves in managing an Ebola Virus case.

Dr. Young said the simulation exercise had confirmed that any person suspected of carrying the virus could be transported to the treatment centre within 12-18 hours after raising concerns.

When asked whether Ebola should be a priority for the G20 leaders this weekend, Dr. Young said that while this is an important issue, she did not feel it should be addressed at the G20 summit this weekend.

“This is an economic forum,” she said.

Queenland health update

Despite concerns that Ebola is a highly contagious air borne virus, like Influenza or Measles, the virus is transferred via bodily fluid.

Dr. Young said that there are currently two vaccines being trialed, but at this stage there is no proven cure.

On 8 August this year, the World Health Organization officially declared Ebola a global emergency.

Since then, there have been 14,068 Ebola cases in West Africa, which has resulted in more than 5,000 deaths.

“The mortality rate is between 50 to 90 per cent, with the incubation period ranging from 2 to 21 days,” Dr. Young said.

So far, there have been no cases reported in Australia but the situation is being closely monitored.

Since 9 August, all Australians travelling to West Africa have been thoroughly questioned by health and customs officials to ensure our boarders are protected.

From last week, international flights are including on board health announcements so travellers heading home can be aware of potential symptoms before landing.

In addition, they are now required to complete a 21 day medical history declaration before clearing customs.

Queensland Minister of Health, Lawrence Springborg, has praised the state’s approach to managing the risk of an Ebola virus case.

“Here in Queensland we have a dedicated Ebola Virus Disease incidental management team,” he said.

“They are working to ensure that not only are hospital staff equipped and informed, but that the broader community and industry groups have confidence in our capacity to respond to an EVD case if it arises.”

Queensland’s health services are prepared for any health issues that could be raised at Brisbane’s G20 this weekend.

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Bo Daly

Bo Daly is a third year Communications student at The University of Queensland. Passionate about social and cultural issues affecting young Australians, she is excited to be reporting on the G20’s global agenda from her own stomping ground. Bo is currently interning with a federal Member of Parliament, and upon graduation in July 2015, wishes to pursue a career in Public Relations.

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