Via WAtoday.com: Asylum seekers issued with repellent after Zika virus confirmed on Nauru. Excerpt:
Pregnant asylum seekers detained on Nauru could be exposed to the Zika virus, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirming there had been cases of the mosquito-borne disease on the island nation.
The revelation was made in the department's submission to the Senate inquiry into the treatment of asylum seekers at Australia's regional processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
Detainees have been issued with heavy-duty insect repellent in order to fend off the virus, which has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly.
The Australian government's smartraveller website currently recommends women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus is active.
"If you do decide to travel, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip," it says.
On Wednesday evening, Australian Medical Association (AMA) vice-president Stephen Parnis said pregnant asylum seekers on Nauru needed to be protected, assessed and "not exposed to any risk". He stopped short of saying whether the woman should be removed from the island.
The admission that Zika is present on Nauru comes in the same week senior doctors, including the AMA, raised grave concerns about the standard of medical care available to asylum seekers held in offshore detention, which they said would not be accepted in Australia.
In its submission, the department said "every precaution" was being taken to stop transferees contracting the Zika virus.
"Insect repellent with higher DEET content has recently been provided to transferees in Nauru and Manus for use," it said.
The department also outlined a disease control program, overseen by health services contactor International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), which includes "regular fogging operations" and mosquito larvae surveying and monitoring.
There have been 11 babies born on Nauru to mothers who sought asylum in Australia. As of March 2016, another seven refugees on Nauru were pregnant.