Territory Stories

Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 26 February 1992



Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 26 February 1992

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Parliamentary Record 8


Questions for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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QUESTIONS - Wednesday 26 February 1992 Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member for Nhulunbuy has plenty of time in which to ask questions without screaming across the Chamber. I remind the honourable member that question time is being broadcast and our microphones are very sensitive. Mr MANZIE: As I said, Mr Speaker, it would serve the member for Nhulunbuy well if he were to ascertain what was happening in his electorate. I suppose that the fact that he has not yet asked a question about the virus in Nhulunbuy shows the kind of interest he has in those matters. As I said, the latest advice from the Communicable Diseases Centre is that 82 people have been identified with symptoms which include a skin rash, fever, joint pains and tiredness. So far, blood test results have shown that 5 people have been infected by the Barmah Forest virus, and 2 others have the Ross River virus. Testing of the other people has not yet been completed because a further blood test within 2 weeks of the first test is necessary to confirm the results. The people with confirmed results were advised of the outcome by the staff of the Communicable Diseases Centre in Nhulunbuy on the weekend. Barmah Forest virus received its name from an area along the Murray River near Echuca in northern Victoria. I think that is where the previous member for Millner has gone. Mr Stirling: We read all this in the Sunday Territorian. It was in the Sunday Territorian, word for word. Mr MANZIE: Mr Speaker, the previous member for Millner went that way. I certainly hope he does not pick up this disease - or perhaps he introduced it following a visit to the area. I don't know. The virus was first reported to have infected people in 1988, and the victims recovered in a week or 2. The disease is by no means as severe as Ross River fever. Blood tests in New South Wales have shown that 2% of the population have been infected with Barmah Forest virus at some stage in their lives. Nhulunbuy residents have volunteered to have blood tests 6 weeks apart, even if they have no symptoms. Certainly, this will help determine how many people are affected by the virus. Up to this time, most volunteers have been women, and the department is trying to encourage more male residents to participate in the testing program. I wonder if the member for Nhulunbuy has had a test. Mr Stirling: I certainly did. Mr MANZIE: That is good to hear and, I hope that the honourable member will encourage others to do the same. Unfortunately, quite a furore was created over this by the media for a brief period, and that may have created an impression in the minds of many people that a deadly disease was moving through Nhulunbuy. That may have affected people's plans to travel to Nhulunbuy. In fact, this particular virus poses no threat to human life although, certainly, it does cause some discomfort to those who contract it. 679

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