Public and Aboriginal Health Division
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Produced by the Environmental Health Directorate (EHD)
October 2020
Ross River virus warning for South West
The EHD is reminding residents and travellers in the South West of WA, including the Peel region, to take additional precautions to prevent mosquito bites over the coming months. The warning follows a significant increase in the detection of Ross River virus in mosquitoes collected from the South West. Read the media statement for more details. 
Fight the Bite on social media
A suite of new Fight the Bite social media infographics has been developed in consultation with EHOs for use by LG this mosquito season. The resources are now available on the Fight the Bite campaign page.
#EndingTrachoma project video
An #endingtrachoma video promoting six simple hygiene steps was developed to reduce the incidence of trachoma, featuring the EHD's very own Onike' Williams. The video is a partnership project funded by the WA Country Health Services, the EHD, Indigenous Eye Health (University of Melbourne) and managed by the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA. The video is free to use in clinic waiting rooms, as an educational resource or as part of a healthy housing project. Read a recent Croakey article discussing the project. 
New Planning and Legislation webpage
Information on the Public Health Act 2016, public health assessments, public health planning, regulation review projects and local government reporting have been relocated under the new Planning and Legislation page, found directly off the EH Practitioner landing page. 
Pesticide consultation summary paper
The Pesticides Consultation Summary Report summarises feedback received by the EHD related to the Managing Public Health Risks Associated with Pesticides in WA Discussion Paper, released in July 2019. A total of 234 responses were received during the comment period, with overall majority support for new regulations to be developed. 
COVID-19 Event Plans
All events with more than 500 patrons that require local government approval must now register the event and have an approved COVID Event Plan. All relevant links to the COVID Event Plan template, FAQs, guidelines and registration form can be accessed from the event registration webpage. For EHO access to the risk assessment matrix, email
COVID-19 updates
The Public Health Emergnecy Operation Centre (PHEOC) regularly issue bulletins with the latest updates on COVID-19, available online. The EHD COVID-19 Updates circulated to local government environmental health officers will only be issued in situations that warrant an environmental health response. 
New program to test wastewater for COVID-19
WA's wastewater will soon be tested for the COVID-19 virus, with an evaluation program to expand PCR testing to the State's sewerage network. The Collaboration on Sewage Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 (ColoSSoS) Project will track and monitor for traces of the COVID-19 virus in WA's sewerage network. It will be led by the WA Health system - with testing undertaken by PathWest - to provide an opportunity for robust evaluation and review of the role of wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 in Western Australia. The Water Corporation and Water Research Australia are also project partners. Read the Ministers media statement
Play it Food Safe campaign update
The Play it Food Safe campaign page has be updated to only reflect the priority messages the campaign will focus on during the summer period (Nov - February), including safe handling chicken, safe handling and cooking of eggs, and Chill (temperature control). An updated digital media asset resource details the supporting messages to compliment the social media and other digital media materials. Two pop-up banner designs are also available to download. Any requests for co-bading materials must be approved by the Department's Communication Team by emailing communications
Tobacco legislation review 
A review of WA’s tobacco control legislation is now being undertaken to ensure that it remains contemporary, relevant and responsive to new and emerging issues in tobacco control. The Department are seeking your views on the operation and effectiveness of the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 and the Tobacco Products Control Regulations 2006. Read the discussion paper and complete the online survey. Consultation closes 6 November 2020.
Heatwave strategies 
The Department of Health has developed strategies for local government and community service organisations to reduce vulnerability before the summer until after the heatwave. In addition, strategies on how to protect people from heatwave can be found by visiting HealthyWA. The website has a large range of articles on those at greatest risk of harm from high temperatures such as working safely in hot conditions, heat stress in older people and food safety.
Health risk assessment 
Human health risk assessment is a process intended to estimate the risk to a population from exposure to a substance of concern. The process considers the type and composition of the substance, it's potential to harm, the way in which people may be exposed (such as through direct exposure, inhalation of air or food and water consumption), how long people are exposed and how much they might be exposed to. The quality of a health risk assessment is dependent on the accuracy of the information available on all these matters.

Consultation will open for the following discussion paper over the coming months. 
Coming soon - Wastewater regulation review 
A discussion paper for the review of wastewater management in WA is being finalised and is anticipated for release during October for a 3 month consultation process. 
Contact us
The Environmental Health Directorate can be contacted on (08) 9222 2000 or 
Order publications online
A selection of hard copy Environmental Health Directorate resources can be ordered online using the Department of Health’s
online publication ordering system. Create an account and enter the search category "environmental health".
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Phone: (08) 9222 2000
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PO Box 8172
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