Environmental Health is a key component of ‘public health’ and encompasses those aspects of human health determined by physical, chemical, biological and social factors in the environment.
Environmental Health practice is defined as the assessment, correction, control and prevention of environmental factors and hazards that can adversely affect health, as well as the enhancement of those aspects of the environment that can improve human health.
We protect and promote the health and wellbeing of individuals and the community by preventing illness and injury arising from environmental health hazards. The scope of the environmental health services largely falls within the following key areas;
- Food Safety and Standards
- Water Quality
- Mosquito Borne Diseases
- Tobacco Control
- Medicines Regulation and Quality
- Environmental Hazards
The Environmental Health team is responsible for administering, monitoring, enforcing and promoting compliance with the following public health legislation (and subordinate legislation):
- Food Act 2006
- Health Act 1937
- Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996
- Pest Management Act 2001
- Public Health Act 2005
- Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998
- Water Fluoridation Act 2008
News: Mosquito surveillance program launched November 2020
Queensland Health, in partnership with local councils, has initiated its 2020 state-wide surveillance program for Ross River (RRV) and Barmah Forest (BFV) viruses in mosquito populations. Metro North Public Health Unit works with the Department of Health, the Queensland reference laboratory and sixteen participating local governments spanning the Gold Coast to Townsville to operationalise the program.
The Queensland Peri-Urban Alphavirus Surveillance Program utilises technology called “honey-coated nucleic preservation cards” in mosquito traps. Hungry mosquitoes caught in the traps feed on the honey and their saliva is caught on the card. Any Ross River or Barmah Forest viruses in the mosquito’s saliva are also caught on the card and these are detected when the card is tested in the laboratory.
By using this method, a trap filled with thousands of mosquitoes can be tested within several days to determine if any of those mosquitoes are actively transmitting RRV or BFV. This will help Queensland Health better communicate the risk of mosquito-borne disease to the public, as well as help scientists and mosquito management practitioners better understand RRV and BFV.
The program will continue through the 2020 / 2021 summer.
Medical Entomology is the study of arthropods and insects (particularly mosquitoes) that cause human disease. Diseases of relevance to Queensland include malaria, chikungunya, dengue fever, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Japanese encephalitis, Kunjin and Murray Valley encephalitis.
Queensland Health has partnered with Local Government Association of Queensland to formulate the Queensland Joint Strategic Framework for Mosquito Management (JSFMM) 2010-2015. A priority topic is the threat of exotic mosquito incursion posed by Aedes aegypti into South East Queensland and Ae. Albopictus onto mainland Australia.
- Provide expert advice regarding arthropod vectors and the associated diseases to inform strategic direction and operational outcomes.
- Advocate, liaise, mentor and assist local government in the development, implementation, evaluation and review of local mosquito management plans, particularly domestic mosquito breeding, surveillance and control, and emergency response.
- Identify, analyse and collaborate in the development and implementation of novel evidence-based methodologies to provide stakeholders with a toolbox of mosquito/virus surveillance and control.