agiiconA new paramyxovirus (PMV1) not previously reported in Australia was detected in ‘fancy’ pigeons in mid-August 2011 and in racing pigeons in mid-September in the Goulburn Valley and a number of suburbs across Melbourne.  The virus was identified as PMV1 in late August.   Pigeon shows, exhibitions, markets, sales, auctions and racing were banned in Victoria from 28th September for 90 days.  Racing and shows observed a voluntary ban in South Australia.  The disease spreads mainly by the movement of infected birds.

dusticonDust mites can be found in most homes near coastal Australia. They are small and most people do not notice them unless they crawl on dark surfaces. However once seen, there may appear to be many as people go looking for them. Dust mites eat protein such as shed human skin. They are more likely to build up in numbers where people spend time on surfaces that are not smooth – such as in bed, on upholstered furniture etc – and other places where human skin can be found such as soft toys, combs and brushes.

iconHigh school students in the Brisbane area found a unique way to avoid school.  In the first six weeks of school in 2008, 52 students were told to go home and eight of these sought medical treatment.  The students complained of being ‘bitten’ in several areas of the grounds.  They had seen hairy caterpillars on a table but investigation around that area showed nothing.  The school called out a pest management company, they checked the wattle trees which are a known home for the bag shelter moths – but they did not find any.  However, the stinging (urticating) hairs of caterpillars were the most likely cause – so where were they?

iconOver the last 18 months the calls have been ever increasing.  “There are these things … well, they are very small, minute … they jump .. don’t sting .. never seen them before.  What are they?”