Health and infectious diseases
Infectious diseases still occur frequently throughout the world and constant vigilance is required to prevent the reappearance of infectious diseases. Find out more about head lice and pool operation.
Health authorities depend on medical practitioners for information on the incidence of infectious diseases and notification is vital in efforts to prevent or control the spread of infection. The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 requires Medical Practitioners to notify the State Government whenever cases of certain notifiable diseases are confirmed. This enables the Department of Health to ensure that the sources of the disease and possible contacts that may be at risk are properly investigated.
In some instances, Council’s Environmental Health Team are involved in the investigations, particularly when a food-borne disease is involved or the patient is a food handler.
The Blue Book: Guidelines for the Control of Infectious Diseases helps assist in the prevention and control of infectious diseases. This book provides information on all the diseases that are notifiable in Victoria. This book is not intended to replace professional advice. If you believe you have an infectious disease, please visit your local General Practitioner as soon as possible.
The School Exclusion Table lists the minimum time that children are to be excluded from school and day care centres for particular diseases or conditions.
Head lice can affect infants, adolescents and adults. Head lice can be present on the scalp and in hair for weeks or even months before they are detected. Not all head lice cause an itch.
If a school aged child does have head lice, they should be excluded from school and readmitted following appropriate treatment. As a parent you are responsible for checking your child’s hair regularly for head lice, and if lice are found, they must be treated effectively.
Head lice are easier to combat with a community approach. If you find head lice in your family, please tell anyone who may have come into contact with that family member, such as their friends and/or notifying the school. This gives people outside of your home the opportunity to stop the spread of head lice in their homes.
Please visit the Department of Health website for more information on how to appropriately and effectively treat head lice.
Swimming Pools & Spas
In Australia, swimming pools and spas are a popular and enjoyable recreational water resource and activity centre. However, it is important that all swimming pools and spas are properly maintained and adequately cleansed and disinfected to ensure that potential health risks are minimized to all potential users. Therefore, all pool and spa operators must adhere to all the relevant acts, regulations, codes of practice, standards and guidelines.
The latest Pool Operators' Handbook is a result of extensive consultation with the Victorian aquatic industry. It builds on the existing document, which was first published in 2000. Perhaps the biggest change is the introduction of the Health and Hygiene chapter. This chapter enhances swimming and spa operators’ knowledge of infections associated with pool use. There is clear guidance about exclusion periods for cryptosporidiosis and a more detailed faecal accident policy.
The handbook has also been updated to reflect changes in legislation and technology. The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 have set out new expectations which are explained in the handbook.
For further information and resources for swimming pools and spas, please visit the Department of Health website.