As many of you will be aware from the media there is currently a health alert for pregnant women in relation to the Zika virus. The Zika virus infection is a mild febrile viral illness associated with a possible rash, headache and joint aches. The virus is transmitted by a specific type of mosquito. Incubation phase is usually 3-12 days & symptoms improve within 7 days. There is currently no antiviral treatment for the Zika Virus.

Aedes aegypti is the mosquito that carries the virus it is also the vector for Dengue Fever & Malaria. It is found in Central and South America, the Caribbean, tropical Africa, South East Asia, Pacific Islands & other subtropical areas including North Queensland and some parts of Central Queensland.

Many will have not heard of the virus before although it is not a new virus having been first discovered in monkeys in the Zika Forest in Uganda, in the 1940’s. The outbreaks in the past have been small and infrequent and thought not to have caused harm. In 2015 an outbreak of the virus in Brazil that affected over 1 million people has resulted in scientists making possible links with Zika and developmental malformations in foetus’s.


Pregnant women or those planning pregnancy are advised where possible to postpone travel to affected areas.


If travelling to possible affected areas, precautions are needed day & night.

  • Long sleeved shirts & pants
  • Insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin (safe to use by pregnant & or breastfeeding women  & on infants older than 2 months)
  • If you use sunscreen as well, apply sunscreen first followed by repellent.
  • Bed Nets
  • Stay & sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms

**Remember after rain to check around your property and garden & empty any water in vessels to discourage the mosquito population in your own environment multiplying!

Further information can be found via the following links.


http:// www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/mosquito.aspx




Doctors & Midwives On The Go…

On The 27 October 2015 North Shore Private Hospital hosted a symposium for Sydney GPs. The Drs at MC&M were the main presenters.  Approximately 40 GPs attended for the education update. The presentations were on Miscarriage, Endometriosis & First Trimester Screening.  Following each presentation there was the opportunity for interactive discussion and answering of any questions. It was a very informative evening and it was great to put a name to a face as we often only know the GPs on paper!

AGES Focus Meeting- Hobart

Dr Neil Campbell has been travelling overseas again well across the Tasman that is! Neil recently visited Hobart for a 2 day Focus meeting -‘Taking Control’ presented by the Australian Gynaecological  Endoscopy & Surgery (AGES) Group.

Neil particularly enjoyed the presentation by Dr Frank Clark ‘The Difficult Caesarean Section’. Caesarean section is the most common operation attended by Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and although common it can be a very challenging and difficult procedure in some cases.  The presentation dealt with some of the difficult issues including the teaching of trainee doctors.

Women’s Health Care Australasia Meeting (WHA)-Melbourne

Dr Adam Mackie travelled to Melbourne in mid November 2015. The meeting was titled ‘Towards Consensus on Best Practice for Women Giving Birth for the First Time’. The Chief Aim of the meeting was to develop a consensus among practitioners on what should be the key elements of best practice care for women having their first baby. The groups aim was to review & discuss the current variations in obstetric practice across the WHA community regarding the induction of labour and caesarean section for first time mothers & to identify the ‘drivers’ behind this variation.

At the two day meeting, there were a number of presentations. The sessions were then followed by roundtable discussions to discover what areas required further work & or research & those areas that did not require further input. Presenters included doctors and midwives from hospitals all around Australia. Dr Mackie presented with Prof Sally Tracy- ‘Induction of labour & the risk of caesarean section-is it that simple?  What the data tells us about current practice re caesarean sections for first time mothers?’ A question & answer session followed. A Consumer from Sydney also presented on the importance of ‘language.’ She concluded, for best practice to occur in all facilities, any consensus statements developed in optimizing the care of women should utilize woman -friendly language and be consistent. The meeting ended with a summary and a plan for the next steps including safe implementation of potential changes to current practice.

Tresillian Conference

Belinda attended a Tresillian Update in North Sydney in late November 2015. The Program was entitled ‘Educating Todays Parents’. The presentations covered Health Literacy, Infant feeding with a focus on over feeding in the formula fed baby. The focus here was for practitioners to help parents recognize unsettled signs in their infants. Many formula fed babies are just given more milk to calm them which can lead to over nutrition with the long term result then being obesity. There was a very interesting review of the literature about babies and sleep!

Human Reproduction Update. Jan/Feb 2016.

A systematic review on endometriosis during pregnancy: diagnosis, misdiagnosis, complications and outcomes.

Leone, U, et al.

I frequently get asked about the impact of endometriosis on future pregnancy and especially rates of miscarriage.

This review concludes: “Complications of endometriosis during pregnancy are rare and there is no evidence that the disease has a major detrimental effect on pregnancy outcome. Therefore, pregnant women with endometriosis can be reassured on the course of their pregnancy.”

The effects of chemical and physical factors on mammalian embryo culture and their importance for the practice of assisted human reproduction.

Wale, PL, et al.

This is one for the CREI Fellows.

Various chemical and physical factors have adverse effects on the viability of embryos. The effects can be long-term. Therefore, optimising the in vitro environment is essential.