Public and Aboriginal Health Division
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Produced by the Environmental Health Directorate (EHD)
December 2020

New posters and stickers designed for food retailers
Play it Food Safe campaign roll out
Cracking down on Salmonella in raw egg based sauces
2021 Environmental Health webinar series - save the dates
Ross River virus risk expands
Mosquito-borne disease quarterly reports
Tick sickness animation
New crab fish management approach
Backyard pools for hire - have your say
Testing sewage for SARS-COV-2
Summer recreational water quality program commences
Preparing for algal bloom season
Asbestos Awareness Week
ACM Check app.
Reminder: Optional reports under the Public Health Act due
Release of the climate health WA inquiry report
EHD end of year shutdown
Bunbury promotes environmental health campaigns
Play it Food Safe in Mandurah
Rockingham continues to Play it Food Safe
Busselton partners with the EHD and neighbouring local governments
City of Stirling promotes asbestos awareness
New posters and stickers designed for food retailers
The EHD collaborated with local governments to develop a suite of new posters and stickers for food businesses, to promote key food safety messages. Local governments are encouraged to promote the resources to food retailers. Hard copies will be available to order online from late January 2021. Co-badging options for local government are also available. A range of factsheet can be downloaded to accompany the posters and stickers. Refer to the Food Safety Toolkit for more details or email Food Safety for queries. 
Play it Food Safe campaign roll out 
The Play it Food Safe campaign has commenced rolling out across WA to raise awareness about priority food safety messages related to cooking with chicken and eggs, separating raw and ready to cook foods and the overarching Clean | Separate | Cook | Chill message. Look out for campaign messaging on billboards, social media and other digital media platforms over the coming summer period (December to February, with extension of certain media to April). The EHD launched the campaign during Food Safety Week. For details read the Play it Food Safe to prevent food poisoning media statement.
Cracking down on Salmonella in raw egg based sauces 
Most WA foodborne illness outbreaks are attributed to eggs, especially raw egg-based sauces and foods. Resources are available to educate food businesses on the food safety risks associated with eggs, including:
  1. Case study flyer on a major outbreak associated with raw-egg sauce to encourage food businesses to switch to pasteurised eggs
  2. Safe handling of eggs flyer
  3. Submission of raw egg sauce samples to PathWest to verify that a pH of <4.2 can be achieved in their recipe AND is Salmonella free
  4. Safe handling of eggs and products containing eggs: Food Unit Notice for food businesses
2021 Environmental Health webinar series - save the dates
The EHD will be hosting a webinar series during 2021 to share information on key programs, services and other initiatives. You are encouraged to save the dates in your calendar:
  • Tuesday 16 March 2021, 9:00am to 11:00am
  • Tuesday 20 July 2021, 9:00am to 11:00am
  • Tuesday 16 November 2021, 9:00am to 11:00am
Registration details and topics for our first seminar will be provided in our next e-News due for release in February 2021.
Ross River virus risk expands
Local governments in the Peel, Geographe, Leschenault and Midwest regions are advised that notified cases of Ross River virus (RRV) in people has risen above the long term average, and is continuing to rise. The warning also follows ongoing RRV detections in mosquitoes through South West surveillance. Public education is strongly encouraged to raise awareness of this increased risk. Read the media statement and access Fight the Bite resources, including social media infographics, to assist with your efforts.
Mosquito-borne disease quarterly report
The Mosquito-borne disease quarterly reports for July-September 2020 for each health region are now available. These reports publish the human cases of mosquito-borne disease and are used to identify patterns of disease throughout the State and inform mosquito management activities. For any enquires please contact Medical Entomology.
Tick sickness animation
Tick-borne Ehrlichia canis was discovered in WA for the first time this year. E.canis infection can make dogs very sick and whilst rare, it also presents a risk to public health. EHD has partnered with AMMRIC to develop an animation to educate Aboriginal EH workers and individuals living in communities about recognising symptoms and simple ways to prevent infection. 
Backyard pools for hire - have your say
A new web-based platform that facilitates backyard pools for “hire” has recently launched in WA. EHD is seeking feedback from local governments on the best way to manage the potential public health risk. Please complete this 2-minute survey to share your thoughts by Thursday 24th December. The survey outlines two options currently under consideration as well as an opportunity to suggest alternative management strategies. 
New crab fishing management approach
Following significant Alexandrium blooms impacting recreational and commercial fishing in the Swan and Canning Rivers, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the Department of Health have agreed to a new management approach effective 1 December 2020. A new ‘caution sign’ will be permanently erected at locations around the rivers advising of the risk of eating crab viscera / stomach portions. Weekly algal monitoring will continue and biota (flesh) testing at peak bloom concentrations to confirm any potential public health risk above this current management approach, which may be superseded by additional health warnings if the situation requires. Refer to Alexandrium algal bloom for more information. 
Amoebic meningitis warnings and response plans
As the weather warms up, the EHD will again be reminding Western Australians to protect themselves and their families from the rare but potentially fatal infection amoebic meningitis, which may arise from warm fresh water in pools and spas, water from garden hoses or sprinklers, wading pools and regional rivers, dams and lakes. As the ambient temperature rises it is likely that a media statements will be released during December-January, similar to the 2019 media release. The Naegleria Response Protocol for Drinking Water and the Aquatic Facilities Code of Practice provide response plans for managing suspect events. The EHD is available to provide advice to local governments to support any response. 
Testing sewage for SARS-COV-2
The EHD is part of the WA Steering Committee of the national ColoSSoS (Collaboration on Sewage Surveillance of SARS-COV-2 ) project. Historical frozen wastewater samples from Perth’s five main wastewater treatment plants have been analysed. The results indicate a good correlation between detecting fragments of SARS-COV2 and historical clinical cases in quarantine hotels. Fresh samples analysed this month also show a similar correlation. Australian Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkle has recommended that sewage sampling be extended to cover at least 50% of Australia's population.
Summer recreational water quality program commences
The 2020-21 microbiological water quality monitoring season for recreational waters throughout WA has commenced. Local governments participating in the program have been notified. The sampling program supports the allocation of beach grades for popular swimming locations to support the public to make more informed decisions about where to swim.
Preparing for algal bloom season
As the weather warms, the risk of algal blooms in recreational waters increases. Algal blooms can be reported to the algal blooms email. Local governments should have access to warning signs to erect in the event of a bloom. The EHD has a limited stock of generic and shellfish specific warning signs for emergency situations. Algal water sampling bottles and information may be obtained by emailing the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.
Asbestos Awareness Week
As part of Asbestos Awareness Week, 23 – 29 November 2020, the EHD released the Asbestos legacy still lurks in WA homes media statement to warn about disturbing asbestos. EHD also published a detailed Guidance Note: Identification of asbestos containing material and contributed to an asbestos identification and assessment app designed to support Environmental Health Officers, which is available for downloading from the Apple Store as “ACM Check”.
ACM Check app.
The ACM Check app, by Curtin University, is designed to help identify possible asbestos containing materials (ACMs) around, and inside, a home. After completing a questionnaire, the user will be shown a report identifying possible ACMs and a rating based on the materials' condition and likelihood of disturbance. This report will also include specific recommendations for dealing with possible ACMs. The app. is available for downloading from the Apple Store as “ACM Check”.
Reminder: Optional reports under the Public Health Act due
The 2019-20 Public Health Act 2016 Local Government Optional Reporting online form has been extended until Friday 15 January 2020. All local governments are strongly encouraged to participate in the reporting process by completing an online submission. Please read the submission page for more details. The more responses received will better inform our understanding of the breadth and significance of environmental health risk management by local governments. This information will be used to support future public health policies and planning. Feedback on the survey can be emailed to Public Health Act. Thank you to the 32 local governments that have responded to date. We would appreciate greater regional participation.  
Release of the climate health WA inquiry report
The Inquiry Report sets a blueprint for the next 10 years to guide the WA health system’s response to the health impacts of climate change and how health services can do more to reduce emissions and waste without compromising the quality of patient care. The Inquiry sought information from the WA community, Australian and international experts to obtain the best science, data and evidence to inform the final 10 recommendations. We would like to thank all stakeholders that provided engagement and input throughout the Inquiry. Read the media statement by the Minister for Health regarding the Inquiry.
EHD end of year shut down
The EHD and Department of Health Royal Street office will be closed from Friday 25 December 2019 - Monday 4 January 2020. The EHD switchboard will not be operational during this time. An on-call duty officer will be available to support management of high risk environmental health events only. This e-News will not be released during January but will start again in February 2020. The PathWest Environmental Microbiology Unit will be closed on the 25-26 December, as well as 1 January 2020. From everyone at the Environmental Health Directorate, we wish you a Merry Christmas and safe and peaceful new year. 
Local Government Environmental Health Initiatives

Promoting local government environmental health initiatives across WA. 
Bunbury promotes environmental health campaigns
The City of Bunbury held a stall at the Bunbury Markets to promote the Play it Food Safe and Fight the Bite campaigns. There was a lot of interest from the community on both topics. Marilyn Shraga, Environmental Health Officer said "The resources provided have been great - simple messaging and easy to use". The City has also introduced the Play it Food Safe campaign in an article on Food Safety Week in the City Focus and are running a series of the Play it Food Safe Youtube clips on the City’s Facebook Page.
Play it Food Safe in Mandurah
The City of Mandurah has undertaken a range of initiatives to promote the Play it Food Safe campaign messaging, which has included social media posts, articles in community news and events, TV visuals at the City's facilities, displays of posters and flyers, messages added to telephone on hold messages, and displays in the library and customer service area.  
Rockingham continues to Play it Food Safe
The City of Rockingham organised a stall at the Rockingham Twilight Market on 21st Nov, a Saturday night, to share the Play it Food Safe messages. The Food Safety Information Council quiz sheet was provided to patrons to complete to go in the draw to win a prize donated by the City. Digital fridge display thermometers, sharpener (cooked egg) and information sheets were also handed out. Yasamin Movaghar, Environmental Health Officer, said "It was amazing to see how much people were interested to challenge themselves and test their food safety knowledge".
Busselton partners with the EHD and neighbouring local governments
If you watch the GWN news clip from 5:40min onwards you will see the EHD's Medical Entomology teaming up with the City of Busselton to raise awareness about Ross River virus activity and the collaborative work with the local governments of Bunbury, Dardanup, Capel and Harvey to undertake aerial larvicide treatment in the region.
City of Stirling promotes asbestos awareness
As part of Asbestos Awareness Week, the City of Stirling environmental health team ran a series of paid social media ads to increase awareness about the harmful impacts of asbestos, particularly when renovating older homes. Residents were encouraged to click on the City’s website to learn more about hazardous waste disposal. The campaign reached over 72,000 residents, over 152,00 ads have been delivered via paid social media account (the average resident has seen an ad twice) and 1450 clicks to the website. The campaign had strong engagement and generated awareness on the topic. Other initiatives included running messages on digital screens in the City's facilities, a media release, on hold messages, website slider and standard social media posts.
We need your help to identify environmental health initiatives and examples of case studies, consumer awareness and surveillance programs happening across WA local governments. Email EH Stakeholder Engagement with information on yours or another local governments projects worthy of promoting in the e-News.

Consultation will open for the following discussion paper over the coming months. 
Coming soon - Wastewater regulation review 
A few delays have been experienced with the release of the wastewater management discussion paper. Once published the paper will be released for a 3 month consultation process (with additional time provided to take into consideration overlaps with key holiday periods).
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(08) 9222 2000 or 
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Perth Business Centre WA 6849
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Environmental Health Directorate, Department of Health WA · PO BOx 8172 · Perth Business Centre, WA 6849 · Australia