Tasmanian Times


Salmon superbug risk?

Premier Bartlett has gambled his electoral hopes on health, promising to spend half a billion on buying Hobart Private Hospital and adding it to the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Yet he seems little concerned about the possibility of widespread poisoning of Tasmania’s drinking water, questioning Alison Bleaney’s motives (Bartlett shoots the messenger, HERE).

Nor has he said anything on perhaps the sleeping health horror story of them all—the superbug dangers implicit in Tassal’s abuse of antibiotics in its salmon farms.

First reported by Conor Duffy on the 7.30 Report last year (HERE), it was there revealed that Tassal use tonnes of antibiotics to keep its fish alive.

The Tasmanian government was typically silent on the matter.

But what actions will David Bartlett take if Tasmanians start dying of superbug staph infections in consequence, as happened with similar antibiotic abuse in agri-business in the USA?

Duffy’s report did not go into the extraordinary public health risk antibiotic abuse in farming represents.

This latest story from the New York Times does: HERE

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  1. John Flounder

    March 18, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Good comments from David
    The question is also why the media are not interested in infection rates and multi drug resistant organisms.

    Data is starting to flow (including infection reports) from the Tasmanian Infection Prevention & Control Unit, but more is needed.

  2. Concerned Resident

    March 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Why would the Lab/lib gov’ts care?…They don’t give a damn about any other threats to our health. The powers that be have covered up the truth about contaminations for years, why would they treat this as any differently? I know I am a cinic when it comes to having faith in the major parties in this state, but I see them as only serving the large corporations…for instance Federal group, mining and timber industries, so why should the fish farming be any different. If there are any financial advantages for the major parties they will not care about public health, wealth will be the biggest priority..

  3. David Obendorf

    March 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Typo in Comment #3, my apologies!

    “Despite probably causing more deaths in Australia than occur on our roads, there is very little investigation into the causes and the preventable factors of individual episodes of bacteraemia”, Professor Collignon and Dr Cruikshank said.

  4. David Obendorf

    March 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    One in five Australians that develop ‘superbug’ golden Staphylococcus aureus infections die. That’s the facts of a recent 27 pathology lab Australia & New Zealand-wide survey of patients with Staph. septicaemia.

    20.6% of those patients were dead in 30 days of the detection of Staph bacteria in their blood in over 2000 cases between June 2007 and May 2008. It is estimated the annual number of Staph. septicaemia cases in Australia is over 6000.

    Professor Peter Collignon and Dr Marilyn Cruikshank, microbiologists working in the field of community acquired bacterial infections wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia that there was an “rapidly growing problem of Methacillin-Resistant Staph. aureus (MRSA) infections and that the source was predominantly within the community rather than from hospital acquired infections.”

    “Despite probably causing more deaths in Australia than occur on our roads, there is very little investigation into the causes and the preventable factors if individual episodes of bacteraemia”, Professor Collignon and Dr Cruikshank said.

    State public health authorities have vetoed attempts by microbiologist and others to make golden staph. infections a notifiable disease.

    Another significant emerging disease to watch closely.

  5. Philip Lowe

    March 8, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I went on to the New York Times to read this article.Recently a dear friend of mine died of an infection after routine surgery so I took a keen interest.Apart from that,it was the punch of the written article.This punch is so missing from the mass media here in Tas.The local ABC radio is corporation muffled.The newspapers seemed frightened of offending someone.Thank heavens for the open sights on TT.

  6. William Boeder

    March 8, 2010 at 11:04 am

    This major revelation of further drug company products being purchased for use by this particular marine-farm is a serious matter to all Tasmanians.
    The belief that we ourselves, [and let’s not forget our tourists and the export markets,] the entire of consumers of Tassals products, were of the mind that this was a naturally healthy dietary food-stuff, this is now being identified to be something of a myth?
    Obviously further confirmation must be sought to convince us all of the grave facts contained in this article regarding this rather alarming matter?
    I constantly wonder at the ethics of all the major drug companies and their corporate brothers, whom endorse so strongly the efficacy of the products they sell to the world as being enormously beneficial to our lives?

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