Monthly Archives: March 2018

Meningococcal Vaccination-What’s new and changing.

By Dr Jane Healy

There are two new vaccines that many parents and adults may have recently heard about.

They are Bexsero and Menactra.

Both these vaccines protect against the infection caused by the different subgroups of the bacteria Neisseria Meningitidis. There are five common subgroups of the bacteria: A, B, C, W and Y. The bacteria have the potential to cause two very significant and serious infections which can present either as meningitis (an infection of the brain) or septicaemia (an infection of the blood stream).

Due to the vaccination programmes that have been introduced, different subgroups have become more prevalent in the community. Those most at risk of infection include those without a spleen and deficiencies in their immune system. Other risk factors include smokers, those living in crowded conditions, children under 2 and adolescents aged between 15-19.

In Australia there are a number of vaccines available against the various subgroups of the bacteria meningitis. The meningococcal C vaccine is included in the childhood vaccination programme and is a two-vaccine programme that offers lifelong immunity. A recent increase in the number of cases of meningitis from subgroups W has lead to the Victorian […]

March 29th, 2018|Clinic News|

National Listeriosis Outbreak

Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning caused by consumption of food that has been contaminated by Listeria bacteria. It is thought to cause around 150 hospitalisations and 15 deaths in Australia every year.

In recent weeks, an outbreak of Listeriosis linked to rockmelons grown in the Riverina area of New South Wales has resulted in two deaths in Victoria and two deaths in New South Wales, plus around 18 hospitalisations in the Eastern states. The contaminated melons were withdrawn from shops and news outlets were prompt to warn people not to eat product they may have at home.

Listeria is widespread in the natural environment and can be found in soil, irrigation water, dirty water and fertilisers.

It generally doesn’t cause any harm if ingested by a healthy person. Certain groups of people are at greater risk of developing listeriosis including:

  • Those aged 70 or older
  • Pregnant women
  • Infants & toddlers
  • Those with weakened or compromised immune systems

Listeriosis infection may present in a healthy individual as a mild ‘flu’ or mild gastroenteritis-type illness. It can take up to a month after ingestion of the contaminated food for symptoms to present. Many people will dismiss […]

March 28th, 2018|Clinic News|

GIMG Summer 2017/18 Newsletter

Download and read our GIMG Summer 2017/2018 Newsletter

March 26th, 2018|Newsletter|

Influenza Vaccines 2018 – Important Information for Patients

Vaccinations for the 2018 influenza (flu) season will shortly be delivered to medical centres and pharmacies across Australia. There are a number of important changes this year, implemented in response to the particularly severe flu season experienced last year.

Why should I get vaccinated against influenza?

  • Influenza affects people of all ages and states of health.
  • Vaccination not only provides protection for yourself but reduces the risk that the people you come into contact with will be infected.
  • Vaccination does not guarantee that you will not get the flu, but provides our greatest protection against the widest circulating virus strains. In Australia, research suggests a 40-50% risk reduction in people who are vaccinated.

Changes affecting patients aged 65 years and over

In 2018, a ‘super’ high-dose vaccine will be provided under the National Immunisation Program for those aged 65 years and over. More than 90% of all flu-related deaths in 2017 affected this age group. This ‘super’ vaccine is a trivalent (three-strain) formulation and has been shown to generate a stronger immune response and provide more effective immunity from influenza in this age group.

This vaccine was specifically […]

March 6th, 2018|Clinic News|

Smoking and the Pill: What is the risk?

Oral contraceptive medication commonly referred to as the ‘Pill” works to prevent pregnancy by supplying the body with hormones that make an egg unsuitable for fertilisation. It is generally considered a very safe drug and its short term and long term use has been extensively studied.

There are a range of potential side effects linked to use of the Pill. Commonly reported side effects include breakthrough bleeding, increased blood pressure, nausea, weight gain, breast tenderness, vaginal infections (such as thrush) and headaches. These are mostly mild and transient symptoms, more common in the first few months of Pill usage.

Less common and more severe side effects of the Pill include:

  • Severe headache
  • Pains in the chest, groin or leg (especially in the calf)
  • Unexplained weakness, numbness or pain in an arm or leg.

You will notice, many of these more rare and severe symptoms could be explained by the presence of a blood clot. Medical attention should be sought with urgency if you experience any of these symptoms.

Women who smoke have significantly higher likelihood of experiencing severe side effects from the Pill, especially if they are over the age of 35. It is believed that nicotine […]

March 1st, 2018|Clinic News|