29 November 2023
We are asking for Wodonga, Wangaratta and Indigo residents to take part in a study to see if they have been infected with Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE). This involves a blood sample being taken.
MVE is a rare and potentially serious infection of the brain. The study will help to inform our public health planning and prevention strategies.
MVE is spread to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. An outbreak of MVE occurred in Victoria in early 2023, the first in almost 50 years. Most people who get infected with MVE only have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Therefore, you may not know you have infected.
There are some eligibility criteria around the study so we would encourage people to check these out on our website – we encourage people who are having blood tests already or who might just like to help us out to participate.
- Participating pathology centres are:
- Wangaratta - Dorevitch Pathology - 74 Ovens Street
- Wodonga - Dorevitch Pathology - 4/137 High Street
1 October 2023
Join us for health expos in your community
The Ovens Murray Public Health Unit, in partnership with local organisations, is excited to present a series of health expos designed to empower and educate our community. These events offer valuable insights into preventing illnesses and achieving optimal health and wellness.
- WODONGA: The Cube: Tuesday, October 3, 12pm to 1pm.
- CORRYONG: Corryong Council Chambers, Thursday, October 5, 11am to 2pm
- RUTHERGLEN: Rutherglen Senior Citizens Centre, Friday, October 6, 11am to 2pm
- WANGARATTA: Grit and Resilience Festival, King George Gardens, Tuesday, October 10, 11am to 2pm
- BEECHWORTH: Beechworth Servicemen’s Memorial Hall, Thursday, October 12, 11am to 2pm
- TALLANGATTA: Tallangatta Integrated Community Centre (library), Friday, October 20, 11am to 2pm
- MYRTLEFORD: Myrtleford Library, Thursday, October 26, 11am to 2pm
- BRIGHT: Bright Library, Friday, October 27, 11am to 2pm
At each expo, you'll find diverse stall-holders providing valuable information and resources. Join us to explore the wealth of knowledge available within our community and embark on a journey to a healthier, happier life.
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11 July 2023:
Increasing antibiotic resistance is being detected in infections caused by Shigella bacteria (shigellosis), especially among men who have had recent sexual contact with other men. It is also being seen in returned travellers.
Shigellosis is generally a self-limiting infection but is highly contagious and can be potentially serious.
Practicing safer sex and handwashing can help prevent the spread of shigellosis.
People with shigellosis should maintain good hygiene and safer sex practices, avoid preparing food for others, and avoid settings with an increased risk of onward spread to at-risk individuals.
Clinicians should include stool culture when testing patients for shigellosis, and reserve antibiotic treatment for cases of severe infection.
Local Public Health Units are following up people diagnosed with resistant Shigella infections, and their contacts, to provide advice about symptom monitoring, testing and exclusion requirements.
People with shigellosis who work as food handlers, childcare workers, health care workers, or workers in a residential facility should be excluded from work until advised by the Local Public Health Unit.
10 July 2023:
The Department of Health has been notified that some Ayurvedic medicines for sale in grocery stores in Victoria contain ingredients – including lead – that are scheduled poisons.
Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India. Treatment options are varied and can include yoga, acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy and dietary changes.
Some of the ingredients in Ayurvedic medicines are prohibited for supply and use in Australia because they pose a danger to human health.
Before buying or taking a complementary medicine, check the label for an ‘AUST L’ (listed) or ‘AUST R’ (registered) code. This means they meet Australian safety standards designed to protect your health.
For more information, go to https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/ayurveda
13 June 2023:
Meningococcal disease occurs most often in winter and spring.
The bacterial infection is uncommon, but if contracted patients require urgent medical attention to prevent death or serious disability.
The disease is spread from person-to-person through close, prolonged or intimate contact.
Those most at risk of contracting the disease are infants and young children, young adults aged between 15 to 24 years and anyone with a weakened immune system.
People who have recently had respiratory infections like influenza or COVID-19 are also susceptible to the disease.
Health professionals treat Meningococcal disease with a number of different antibiotics.
Doctors will immediately start treatment if they suspect the patient has the disease to help reduce the risk of death or significant disability.
Symptoms of the disease include:
- Fever, chills and feeling generally unwell
- Headache, neck stiffness, light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting
- A rash of red-purple spots or bruises, joint and muscle pain
- Confusion and reduced consciousness
In babies and young children symptoms can also include:
- Irritability and high-pitched crying
- Reduced feeding, pale blotchy skin and drowsiness
The best prevention is through vaccination.
Vaccines are available under the National Immunisation Program.
- Meningococcal ACWY (Men ACWY) vaccine is available for free to babies at 12 months of age and adolescents and people with existing medical conditions.
- Meningococcal B (Men B) vaccine is available free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children up to the age of 2 years and people with existing medical conditions.
The vaccines are also available to anyone aged 6 weeks or over and can be prescribed by your GP.
Meningococcal disease is an “urgent” notifiable condition in Victoria and the Ovens Murray Public Health Unit needs to be notified by clinicians as soon as possible by calling 1300 651 160.
15 April 2023:
Poisonous wild mushrooms have been sprouting in gardens and reserves around the region and residents have been urged not to consume them.
Wet and cooler weather have proved the ideal growing conditions for the Death Cap and Yellow staining mushroom varieties.
Eating the mushrooms can result in severe gastrointestinal illness, liver failure and in some cases death.
It is very hard to distinguish between poisonous and edible wild mushrooms with many looking similar to ‘supermarket bought” mushrooms.
Death Cap mushrooms are large, with a pale yellow-green to olive-brown cap, white gills, a skirt around the stem and a cup-shaped sac around the base.
The Yellow staining mushroom looks very similar to a mushroom bought in a store or a cultivated mushroom.
The cap and stem are white-ish to pale brown, turning yellow when rubbing the surface and they usually have an unpleasant smell.
Symptoms of poisoning by these mushrooms within hours of consumption include:
- Stomach pain and cramps
The severity of symptoms usually varies with the amount of mushroom that has been eaten.
Even if symptoms subside, there is a risk of serious organ failure within 24-48 hours of consumption that could result in death.
Residents who believe they may have consumed a wild poisonous mushroom are urged not to wait for symptoms to occur but to seek medical attention immediately.
The Victorian Poison Information Centre can be contacted on 131126 for information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
20 March 2023:
- Invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS) including cases of severe illness, particularly among children, continues to be observed in Victoria.
- iGAS is caused by infection with a bacterium known as Group A Streptococcus (GAS), which also commonly causes skin and throat infections. Clinical manifestations of iGAS include sepsis and severe invasive infection.
Symptoms of iGAS vary depending on the site of infection and are often non-specific. They may include:
- Fevers or chills
- Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
- Headache and/or stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
- Red, warm, painful, and rapidly spreading skin infection which may have pus or ulceration
- Abdominal pain, bleeding, or purulent discharge from the vagina can occur with maternal sepsis.
Signs and symptoms of iGAS in children can include fever, red sunburn-like rash (which may be subtle or florid), cold or mottled limbs, limb pain, not wanting to walk, poor feeding, abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, throat infection, chest infection and oliguria (poor urine output). Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to ensure children are up to date with all routine immunisations (including varicella (chickenpox) and upcoming annual influenza vaccination), to help prevent viral infections that increase the risk of iGAS. Parents and guardians should be alert to the signs and symptoms of GAS infection and serious bacterial infection in children, and when to seek immediate medical care.
20 February 2023:
A case of measles has been identified in an overseas traveller.
The person was infectious while at a number of Melbourne venues in the suburb of Clayton from Thursday 16 February to Friday 17 February.
If you were in the area, please monitor for symptoms, which can include rash, fever and cough - early symptoms can be similar to COVID-19.
There have now been 8 cases of measles reported in Victoria since 1 January 2022.
Any overseas travel could lead to exposure to measles at the current time.
Outbreaks of measles have been recently reported in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the USA.
17 February 2023
A case of Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus infection has been identified in a woman from Buloke Shire, who died in early February. This is the first case of MVE virus infection in Victoria since 1974.
- The risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as Japanese encephalitis (JE), MVE and West Nile (Kunjin) virus infections are high this summer, particularly in northern Victoria where viruses are being detected in mosquitoes.
- These viruses can cause a rare but potentially serious infection of the central nervous system and are spread to humans by infected mosquitoes.
- Taking measures to avoid mosquito bites is critical to protect against infections.
- Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches, although most infected people do not have symptoms. In serious cases, people can develop meningitis or encephalitis which can be fatal.
- Anyone with symptoms should seek urgent medical care.
30 December 2022:
A case of Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus infection has been identified in a Campaspe LGA resident, the first identified case of JEV infection in Victoria this mosquito season. JE virus can cause a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain and is spread to humans through mosquito bites.
29 December 2022
Victorians are advised to protect themselves against mosquito-borne diseases such as Ross River virus infection and Barmah Forest virus infection this summer. Mosquito numbers of species known to transmit diseases are increasing.