HPS Weekly Report
12 Jun 2018
Volume 52 No. 23
New surveillance report published – outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease
On 12 June 2018, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) published a surveillance report on the overseas outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease.
The report can be viewed on our website.
ECDC rapid risk assessment update: Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) poses a significant threat to patients and healthcare systems in all EU/EEA countries. CRE infections are associated with high mortality, primarily due to delays in the administration of effective treatment and the limited availability of treatment options. New antibiotics capable of replacing carbapenems for their main indications are not likely to become available in the near future. CRE are adapted to spread in healthcare settings as well as in the community, and measures should address both routes of transmission.
This update of the 2016 ECDC rapid risk assessment on CRE evaluates the risk for patients and healthcare systems in EU/EEA countries due to the global spread of CRE.
Source: ECDC, 7 June 2018
West Nile fever transmission season weekly updates
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is providing weekly updates for the current transmission season on reported cases of West Nile fever in humans and equidae in EU member states and neighbouring countries.
Since the beginning of the 2018 transmission season, as of 7 June 2018, no human or equine cases of West Nile fever have been reported.
Source: ECDC, 8 June 2018
PHE data reveals 420,000 cases of STIs diagnosed in 2017
A new report from Public Health England (PHE) identified 420,000 cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnosed in England in 2017. While the overall rates of STIs remained stable in 2017 compared to 2016, there was a 20% increase in syphilis (from 5,955 cases in 2016 to 7,137 cases in 2017).
Across all STIs, the highest rates of diagnoses continue to be seen in 16 to 24 year olds. Other data published within the report show a fall in rates of genital warts, reflecting the widespread uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in girls aged 12 to 13. The report also indicates an 8% decline in chlamydia testing and 2% drop in chlamydia diagnoses in 15 to 24 year olds. However, there was a 22% rise in cases of gonorrhea in 2017 compared to 2016 (from 36,577 in 2016 to 44,676 in 2017).
Source: PHE, 5 June 2018
Cigarette butts and filters the most common pieces of litter on Europe’s beaches
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released new data about litter found on Europe’s beaches. Based on nearly 700,000 collected items, disposable plastics are the biggest contributor to marine litter, with cigarette butts and filters being the most commonly found individual items. Other frequently discovered objects included pieces of plastics and polystyrene, fragments of glass and ceramics, plastic cups and lids, cotton bud sticks, shopping bags, strings and cords, crisp packets and drink bottles.
The data was collected by volunteers using the EEA’s Marine LitterWatch mobile app and covered Europe’s four regional seas, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the North-East Atlantic Ocean. Volunteer groups collected litter data at 1,627 beach clean-up events between 2014 and 2017.
Source: EEA, 8 June 2018
FSS and FSA update on the review into meat cutting plants and cold stores
Phase one of the UK-wide review into meat cutting plants and cold stores launched by Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in March is now complete (see current note 52/0903).
Phase one includes:
- an analysis of the current state of this part of the industry
- a comparison of arrangements in place across the four countries involved (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England)
- identification of potential emerging areas for improvement
The review has now moved to phase two where more detailed work will identify and assess options for improvement, develop recommendations and outline a plan for delivery.
The final report and recommendations will be published in September 2018.
Source: FSS, 7 June 2018
World-leading ‘Blue Belt’ expands as new marine protections revealed
On World Oceans Day (8 June 2018), the Environment Secretary Michael Gove set out plans to create more than 40 new Marine Conservation Zones across the UK, safeguarding almost 12,000 square kilometres of marine habitats and marking the most significant expansion of the UK’s ‘Blue Belt’ of protected areas to date.
The proposed protections will cover an area almost eight times the size of Greater London. No new activities deemed damaging – such as dredging, or significant coastal or offshore development – will be allowed to take place in these areas. Existing harmful activities will be minimised or stopped to allow important habitats to be restored over time. Rare or threatened marine habitats and species which will be protected include the short snouted seahorse, stalked jellyfish and peacock’s tail seaweed.
Pacific marine climate change - partnership with regional and UK experts reveals full regional impacts
The first ever Pacific Marine Climate Change Report Card was launched as part of World Oceans Day on 8 June 2018. The Report Card is the product of a collaboration that includes the UK’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), UN Environment, the University of the South Pacific, the Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC) and Climate Analytics Impacts project.
The Report Card is accompanied by 13 detailed supporting reviews and summarises current scientific understanding of climate change impacts on the region’s marine environment. The document is intended to help Pacific islanders and decision-makers to understand and respond to the likely impacts of marine climate change. The accessible report card format highlights what action is already being taken in the region and what further responses are needed. The reviews provide further information on each of the topics.
Source: CEFAS, 8 June 2018
Guidance on identifying endocrine disruptors published
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have published their guidance on how to identify substances with endocrine disrupting properties in pesticides and biocides. Endocrine disruptors can affect the endocrine system in humans and animals.
The European Commission tasked EFSA and ECHA with developing harmonised guidance to ensure that the endocrine disruptor criteria adopted by the EU in 2017 are applied consistently for the assessment of biocides and pesticides in the EU. The guidance was drafted with the support of the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s science and knowledge service.
In the EU system, ECHA is responsible for the assessment of biocides and EFSA assesses the safety of active substances used in pesticides. The two agencies began working on the guidance last year in close consultation with stakeholders and endocrine disruptor experts, including those from EU Member States.
A public consultation was held in December 2017 and January 2018. All comments were considered by the drafting group when it finalised the document.
The guidance will be used for the assessment of biocides from 7 June 2018. For pesticides, it will be used in the assessments of those substances for which a decision is scheduled on or after 10 November 2018. This is because the criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors in pesticides were agreed later than those for biocides.
Source: EFSA, 7 June 2018
Consultation on nutritional requirements for food and drink in Scottish schools
A Scottish government consultation to secure thoughts and views on the proposed amendments to the Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008 opened on 4 June 2018. Opinions are being sought on how the proposed amendments will effect the food and drink served in Scottish schools.
The consultation is open until 29 August 2018.