Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : February 22, 2017 Contents THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017 - PAGE 21
Experts say bandicoot
ticks not a threat
Re. Looming ecological catastrophe
for all residents of Phillip Island.
Perhaps it’s timely to remind Phillip
Island residents what has happened on
Sydney’s northern beach areas.
These areas embarked on a fox eradi-
cation program, similar to what we
have achieved on Phillip Island with
baiting and bounty.
Bandicoots were introduced with the
object of protecting these endangered,
seemingly cute species of whiskered
long nosed creatures.
Now with no known natural preda-
tors, the bandicoots flourished (gesta-
tion period is only 11 days).
However, the bandicoots became the
perfect host carrier for the Australian
coastal paralysis tick which, when the
bandicoot is added into the equation,
has since been found to have deadly
long term consequences for humans.
This is just not a bite which one nor-
mally associates with the paralysis of
dogs and cats on the east coast, but
months later, in four to six hours after
eating meat, can bring on a full-blown
anaphylaxis reaction which is life-
threatening to humans.
This is the similar reaction experi-
enced by those who react to peanuts,
How does this occur?
It is thought that the paralysis tick
bites the bandicoot to get a meal of
blood and some of the alpha-gal from
the bandicoot gets into the gut of the
After a while the tick feels hungry
again and bites a human and some of
that alpha-gal gets transferred to the
This does not manifest itself straight
away but surfaces months later after
eating mammalian meat (meat from
mammals – beef, pork, lamb etc).
This is when the violent reaction oc-
Now this reaction is just not a one off.
Once you’ve been bitten and have the
alpha-gal in your blood stream
you will “NEVER EVER” be able to eat
any mammalian type meat again!
Yes, that’s right! You’ll never enjoy a
barbecue again, no gravy, no pork, no
sausages, no meat pizza, no steak, no
silverside, no meat pie, no sausage roll,
no hot dog or hamburger, not even your
favourite beef stroganoff, steak and kid-
ney pie, lambs fry and bacon, or hearty
meat based stews and casseroles, prob-
ably no dairy or gelatin, (that’s jellies
and marshmallows too), not even corn
cooked in lard!
Even baked beans or spaghetti bolo-
You’ll be limited to fish and chicken
for the rest of your life!
Even then you won’t be able to ensure
that your local restaurant won’t cross
contaminate your chicken or scrambled
eggs by cooking meat on the same hot
plate, and you could be fighting for your
life again in an ambulance on the way to
Serious stuff? Yes!
Professor Sheryl van Nunen was the
clever immunologist at Sydney’s North
Shore Hospital who discovered the
bandicoot link in 2008.
Nowadays if you present to Mona Vale
Hospital in the middle of the night with
anaphylactic shock the first question
will be “did you eat meat in the last few
hours?” or “have you noticed bandicoot
holes in your lawn lately?”
Strangely the paralysis tick does not
kill the bandicoot as its host.
Now you may think these are isolat-
ed instances but the Northern Sydney
beach areas are recognised to have 70%
of all reported mammalian meat reac-
In fact these are far from isolated cas-
es with over 1,000 cases reported plus
with an estimated new patient present-
ing each day.
What can you do?
Dr Nunen recommends that if you
are bitten use an ether-based spray
such as Wart-Off to freeze the tick, and
let it drop off naturally, rather than pull
Also people with recognised MMA (a
simple $40 test can confirm the con-
dition) do not immediately have any
symptoms as these can suddenly
and dramatically occur months after
the initial tick bite when the sudden al-
lergic reaction to meat occurs.
Fortunately, people diagnosed or at
risk can carry a self-injecting pen called
an Epipen to counter the anaphylaxis, if
you can identify the symptoms in time!
However it must be administered
carefully in the right place and can have
some side effects.
Rest is recommended after use.
The paralysis tick can be tiny, even so
small that it needs to be seen under a
Even an adult tick may only be 4mm
long, though usually it becomes en-
gorged with blood and is more easily
It tends to bite around the head, neck
and ear area in humans and symptoms
may only present as a raised lump or
The sight of a child with severe mam-
malian symptoms will horrify you.
I suggest Phillip Island Nature Parks
seriously reassess the introduction of
bandicoots into our pristine populated
area if these are the outcomes we can
come to expect!
References: “Australians on the east
coast are suddenly deathly allergic to
red meat – Health”.
Dr Karl’s great moments in Science -
“Tick bites causes meat allergy”.
(EDITOR”S NOTE: A response, as
follows, has been forwarded to Mr
George’s concerns from Dr Peter Dann,
Research Manager Phillip Island Na-
ture Parks and Dr Duncan Sutherland,
Deputy Research Manager Phillip Is-
land Nature Parks.
Eastern Barred Bandicoots are listed
in Victoria as “Extinct in the Wild” and
it is hoped that through the collabora-
tive efforts of the Nature Parks, together
with the other member organisations of
the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery
Team and the broader community, that
we might secure this species on fox-free
islands such as Phillip and French Is-
lands and save it from extinction in
Victoria, which is a rare opportunity
The proposal to release Eastern
Barred Bandicoots to Phillip Island
requires approval from the Depart-
ment of Environment, Land, Water and
Planning (DELWP). An independent
panel of experts at DELWP assesses
the merits and risks of species trans-
locations including risk assessments of
introductions of internal and external
parasites on host animals. In light of
this, the bandicoots have were brought
to Churchill Island in 2015 were treated
for the removal of internal and external
parasites including ticks of any kind.
Will bandicoots bring paralysis ticks
(or any ticks) to Phillip Island?
Eastern Barred Bandicoots will not
bring paralysis ticks with them. The
bandicoots will come from sites where
paralysis ticks are not present and, as
a precaution, all bandicoots released on
Phillip Island are to be medically treat-
ed to remove all ticks species. In addi-
tion, paralysis ticks have never been re-
corded on Eastern Barred Bandicoots.
Has the risk of ticks been considered
in the proposed release of bandicoots to
The proposed release of bandicoots
to Phillip Island includes a compre-
hensive assessment of the risks to the
bandicoots, to existing flora and fauna,
as well as to livestock, companion ani-
mals and humans. The Recovery Team
has conducted a rigorous disease risk
assessment for a release of Eastern
Barred Bandicoots to either Phillip or
French Islands which was independent-
ly run by the IUCN Captive Breeding
Specialist Group. A group of 18 experts
representing veterinary, wildlife medi-
cal, diagnostic, captive management,
wildlife biology and public health dis-
ciplines, conducted a 2 day workshop
to consider all potential disease risks,
including those from parasitic ticks. Dr
Duncan Sutherland, Deputy Research
Manager at PINP played a major role in
The IUCN approved process culmi-
nated in a 137 page assessment which
concluded that there was negligible risk
that releasing bandicoots would elevate
the risk of ticks and tick borne diseases
to humans or domestic animals.
Are paralysis ticks on Phillip Is-
Paralysis ticks Ixodes holocyclus are
not found on or around Phillip Island.
Dr Jenny Hibble from the Newhaven
Vet Clinic notes that they have received
no cases of paralysis ticks from Phillip
Island at the clinic. Paralysis ticks are
usually found in the wild east of Lakes
Entrance and further north through
NSW and into Queensland.
Do paralysis ticks have particular
In regions where paralysis ticks are
found they have a broad array of host
species, including wallabies, domestic
animals, rabbits, rats, cats and pos-
sums, which are already abundant on
Phillip Island. Bandicoots will not in-
crease the chances of paralysis ticks
becoming established on Phillip Island
or the transmission of tick-related ail-
ments to humans.
Will bringing bandicoots to Phillip
Island increase the incidence of meat
The short answer is “no”.
lergy responses in humans are likely
to be associated with ticks but not just
paralysis ticks. This allergy has been
reported in Europe and North America
as well as Australia. The ticks respon-
sible are different in each continent. If
the paralysis tick does shift further west
in Victoria, bringing bandicoots to Phil-
lip Island will not contribute to their es-
tablishment on Phillip Island as many
alternate hosts already occur on the is-
land including dogs, rats and cats.
Will bandicoots be beneficial to
Eastern Barred Bandicoots may be
beneficial to Phillip Island. They eat
mainly grubs and worms. Their for-
aging activity improves soil nutrients,
water permeability into the soil and the
uptake of organic matter. They also eat
pests like cockchafer grubs and onion
weed bulbs. They could be considered
farmers’ and gardeners’ allies. The
small mammals that have been lost
from Phillip Island including potoroos,
bandicoots and pademelons used to do
For further information on the pro-
posed release of Eastern Barred Bandi-
coots to Phillip Island, please contact
Roland Pick at Phillip Island Nature
Parks on 5951 2800. Further informa-
tion on paralysis ticks and their hosts
can be found in the paper by Jackson
and others Australian Veterinary Jour-
Jackson et al. (2007) Distributions
of the paralysis ticks Ixodes cornuatus
and Ixodes holocyclus in south-eastern
Australia. Australian Veterinary Jour-
nal 85 (10): 420-424.
Should be building
for climate change
Wasn’t last week’s extreme weather in
NSW scary? But at least we’re starting
to see some honesty. Victorian warnings
have been about bush fire, previously in
category “severe”, then “extreme” and
now “code red”. In NSW, they go a stage
further with “catastrophic”.
In parallel, something completely
new, they now make special mention of
heat, separately from fire, stressing risk
to health, up to and including death.
Further, radio/TV warnings from au-
thority figures, went as far as saying
“please don’t go home” not because of
fire danger but “avoid turning on air-
con, don’t add your demand to endan-
gered electricity grid” - “ please go to
cool public space like cinema or pub or
shopping centre or even public building
unit later evening”.
In Cowes we don’t have many build-
ings like this. Plans are advanced for big
buck new cop shop fortress, on prime
real estate in the middle of town, when
quick response could surely be easier,
at lower cost, if they were out by RSL or
And now big bucks on “health hub”
which is lots of little offices available to
occasional visiting health service spe-
cialists but mostly empty.
There’s lobbying for hospital but
neither Libs nor Labor will spend in
this rusted on Lib electorate. Then, of
course, money needs to be found for re-
development of the Cultural Centre.
This project is now in limbo, with
high cost being part of the problem.
Along with scientists warning about
hazards of climate change, now med-
ics, like Prof Peter Doherty, winner of
Tell us your views with a ‘Letter to the Editor’,
emailed to email@example.com
Letters to the Editor
Eastern Barned Bandicoots.
two Nobel prizes, now ask that, for any
project, make consideration of climate
change the highest priority. Whether
it’s extreme heat or bushfire or flood or
storm, one the first casualties is failure
of grid power, especially at the end of a
long skinny power line like PI.
Australia already has plenty residen-
tial solar PV, despite government, but
we’re laggards, not leaders, with large,
more cost effective, shared community
So high priority for Cultural Centre
should be a roof to suit lots of solar
PV. Current design is multiple ridges of
roof line, orientated east west, but too
steep and skinny for PV on the first rise,
with others obviously shaded. Why not
just a couple of shallower 30deg slope
ridges? There’s lots of fuss these days
about battery storage, to help smooth
grid power as well as compensate for
variance in renewable energy, with even
more to be gained from shared, com-
munity scale investment.
Even water supply can go AWOL, so
underground cistern storage was al-
ways part of ancient city design. Green
walls, inside and out can make it par-
There’s much haggling about the inte-
rior, who deserves how much lockable,
four walled floor space. Doesn’t this all
add to cost and limit usefulness? Even
in big CBD head offices these days, inte-
rior is not only open plan but inmates
don’t even own personal desk space any
Of course, there will be need for some
privacy and secure storage, but these
days modular office space is available,
generally 3 x 3m modules, with/without
walls and doors, adaptable into 3 x 6, 6
x 6, 9x9 etc. They’re even stackable to 3
stories, movable by fork lift truck.
Current building is very much under-
utilised. Sporadic community events
are split between Cultural Centre, Pical,
Leisure Centre, Seniors, church, school
and even in weapon and pokies ob-
sessed RSL. But how about a big, ver-
satile building, open all the time? With
floor space cleared, more regular mar-
ket function might develop, safe from
sizzling sun, howling wind and heavy
rain. Ad hoc art events can happen, vi-
sual, musical and theatre. Responding
to any disaster event, doesn’t this make
more sense than our current “Refuge
of Last Resort”, which is nothing more
than the footy oval?
Surely we can do better? In case of
whatever emergency, the community
can be accommodated here, especially
for some sickness outbreaks which are
impossible for adjacent overloaded hos-
pitals. Lastly, look around and check
larger building construction methods.
Whether it’s supermarket or industrial
or even, from TV doco, award winning
Mosque in Geelong, tilt slab concrete is
fast and just a fraction of budget price
for current proposal.
Unfortunately, our movers and shak-
ers might poo poo the idea, not big or
fancy or expensive enough to score re-
quired points for their career develop-
ment. But isn’t it time to think seriously
about spending money more wisely, to
get more use out of assets, build a much
stronger sense of community and miti-
gate against risk of worsening extreme
weather caused by climate change.
Bernie McComb, Cowes.
Facts first in bail overhaul
It was excellent to see that Premier
Andrews responded immediately to the
tragedy in Bourke Street. Unfortunately
he didn’t check the facts before taking
The Department of Justice and Regu-
lation figures show bail justices are re-
corded as remanding into custody 86%
of all who come before them at out of
Magistrates only remand 18%.
So with night courts now taking over
from bail justices, can we expect to have
more accused being released on bail?
Bail justices are called out at all times
of the night and at weekends to hold
out-of-sessions court, to ensure people
are given independent decisions about
accessing bail or being remanded into
custody for the protection of witnesses
and the public generally.
As we as a community see the rise
of domestic violence, bail justices are
called upon after hours and at week-
ends to issue Interim Accommodation
Orders to urgently remove at risk chil-
dren, from their parent/s, which must
be made active immediately.
Bail justices, who are appointed by
the Governor in Council, travel great
distances at their own cost, at all times
of the day and night to serve the Victo-
rian community and keep them safe.
Some are called out many times in
one night. In 2015/16 there were 12,500
out-of-sessions courts held by 230 bail
justices. Can you imagine how much
this would cost when magistrates re-
ceive $291,579 per annum, plus costs.
Bail justices have a stringent profes-
sional selection criteria for those who
meet strong skills in interpersonal
skills, conflict management, have ini-
tiative and flexibility, confident decision
making, commitment to service delivery,
empathy and cultural awareness and an
ability to display professionalism, pass
a psychology test and discipline at all
times and in difficult situations.
This follows a strong request over
decades, by the Royal Victorian Associa-
tion of Honorary Justices, for the gov-
ernment to implement mandatory train-
ing for all justices.
Why abandon a system which has
been developed over many decades,
operating without concern and provid-
ing a judicial service at no cost to the
Victorian community. From time to
time we must review practices and the
proposed review by His Honour, Paul
Coghlan, will provide a worthwhile and
timely check on the system. But let us
not jump to conclusions without look-
ing into the facts.
Michael Cheshire BJ (Retired), JP,
Can you help with surf club history?
LIFE Saving Victoria is to produce a history of the Royal Life Saving Society in
Victoria, to which Phillip Island was affiliated.
“I am trying to collect together information on the Club to be included in this
history,” says Club historian Graeme Clauscen,
“And I am asking for community help.”
Graeme has some photos provided by members of the club in the past, and
recently received the attached press cutting.
“Can anyone identify those in the photo?” he asks.
Should any member of the community have information, photos press cut-
tings, etc and would be happy to make them available, they will be copied and
returned if required. If you can help, please contact Graeme Clauscen on PO
Box 92 San Remo 3925. Ph 5678 5039 or 0412 789 499.
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