HPS Weekly Report
19 Jun 2018
Volume 52 No. 24
Publication of HIV infection in Scotland: Quarterly report to 31 March 2018
On 19 June 2018, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) published the latest HIV surveillance report, showing the diagnoses data to the end of March 2018.
During the first quarter of 2018, NHSScotland laboratories reported positive HIV-antibody test results for 75 individuals not previously recorded as HIV-positive. It is estimated that there are currently 5,144 persons living in Scotland who have been diagnosed HIV-positive. Of these, 4,693 HIV-infected individuals are currently attending specialist services for monitoring and treatment. Including recently reported persons who may not as yet have recorded an attendance, this represents 94% of the estimated number of diagnosed individuals currently living in Scotland. Across Scotland, 97% of persons attending for monitoring are receiving anti-retroviral therapy.
WHO certifies Paraguay malaria free
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has certified Paraguay as having eliminated malaria, the first country in the Americas to be granted this status since Cuba in 1973.
Paraguay was identified by the WHO as one of 21 countries with the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020 through a programme called the ‘E-2020 initiative’. In 2016 a three-year project to build Paraguay’s front-line health workers’ skills was launched. This strengthened the country’s capacity to prevent outbreaks and increased the promptness of treatment in those diagnosed.
In April 2018, the independent Malaria Elimination Certification Panel concluded that Paraguay had interrupted indigenous malaria transmission for the requisite three years and had the capacity to prevent the re-establishment of transmission. The Panel recommended the WHO Director-General certify the country malaria free.
Source: WHO, 11 June 2018
Measles cases continue to increase in EU/EEA countries
Measles outbreaks are still occurring in a number of EU countries (see current note 52/2101), with the highest number of cases to date in 2018 being in Romania (3,284), France (2,306), Greece (2,097) and Italy (1,258) respectively. Twenty five deaths have also been reported by these countries in 2018. Additionally, there are on-going outbreaks across England, with Public Health England (PHE) reporting 587 laboratory confirmed measles cases in 2018 to the end of May.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommend that individuals and families check their vaccination status before the holiday season begins. In order to reach elimination and protect those most vulnerable to severe complications and death from measles, such as infants, 95% of the population needs to be vaccinated with two doses of measles-containing vaccine. Only five EU/EEA countries reported at least 95% vaccination coverage for both doses of measles-containing vaccine according to the most recent data collected by the WHO in 2016, demonstrating that further action is required.
ECDC publishes a monthly measles and rubella monitoring report which gives information on age and distribution of cases as well as vaccination coverage rates.
Source: ECDC, 12 June 2018
Emergence of resistance to ceftazidime-avibactam in carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae
ECDC has published a new rapid risk assessment discussing ceftazidime-avibactam (CAZ-AVI) resistance. The risk assessment examines the issue in brief, reviews the recent literature reporting resistance of CRE to CAZ-AVI and assesses the risk for the EU/EEA countries.
The risk assessment also outlines options for appropriate detection of resistance and the correct and timely implementation of IPC measures to prevent the spread of these highly-resistant organisms within healthcare settings and across borders.
Source: ECDC, 13 June 2018
Clean Air Day 2018
Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has produced a briefing note on air pollution and health impacts to coincide with this year’s Clean Air Day on 21 June 2018.
The briefing provides updated figures for the estimated impact of exposure to manmade PM2.5 air pollution by local authorities across Scotland. We first published figures for this in 2014, based on 2010 pollution data. The latest data shows that the levels of manmade PM2.5 have reduced across Scotland from an average of 6.8 microgrammes per cubic meter µg/m3 in 2010 to 5.3 µg/m3 in 2016, representing a 22% reduction. Consequently the impact in terms of adverse impacts on health from exposure to PM2.5 will also have reduced. The briefing provides estimates of what this reduction would mean in terms of impact in each local authority area in Scotland.
Air pollution potentially harms the health of everyone, but there are lots of simple things that can be done to improve air quality and look after our own and other people’s health. Clean Air Day aims to highlight the problems caused by air pollution, which comes from many sources, natural and manmade. It consists of a mixture of harmful particles and toxic gases that are mainly invisible. A significant amount of manmade pollution comes from road traffic and other forms of transport. Road transport also produces a lot of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) which is linked to global warming and climate change.
Polluted air is bad for human health and can shorten life-spans but is especially bad for the young, elderly and people who already have chronic heart and lung conditions. You can check the level of air pollution in your local area on the Scottish Air Quality website.
We are linking with Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS), which is working with the UK organisers Global Action Plan (GAP) and the Scottish Government to coordinate events and activities to encourage people in Scotland to consider environmentally friendly modes of transport and think about how their individual actions impact on the environment.
A number of events are being organised by health boards in Scotland, including in Grampian, Tayside and in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde areas on 21 June 2018. NHS staff are also being encouraged to download specifically designed toolkits. In addition, the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen are staging major free public events to celebrate Clean Air Day.
Veterinary drug residues: non-compliance remains low
Monitoring data from 2016 for a range of veterinary medicines, unauthorised substances and contaminants found in animals and animal-derived food suggest high rates of compliance. Overall, 710,000 samples were reported in 2016 from 27 of the 28 EU member states.
The percentage of non-compliance in targeted samples, that is, samples taken to detect illegal use or check non-compliance with the maximum levels was 0.31%, which is within the range of 0.25%-0.37% reported over the previous nine years. Non-compliance for chemical contaminants such as metals was higher than for other groups of substances. Non-compliance for resorcylic acid lactones (hormonally active compounds that can be man-made or produced by fungi), mycotoxins (toxins from fungi) and anti-thyroid agents all decreased in 2016.
Source: EFSA, 13 June 2018
Scottish greenhouse gas emissions reduced by nearly half
Scotland has achieved a 49% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, meeting its statutory annual climate change target for the third year running. The latest figures, which are calculated against a 1990 baseline, show Scotland is set to exceed its current 2020 climate change target and continues to outperform the UK as a whole. In western Europe, amongst the EU-15 member states, Scotland is second only to Sweden (51%) and ahead of Finland (42%), Germany (25%) and Denmark (23%).
The statistics also show emissions of the single most significant greenhouse gas – carbon dioxide – have fallen by more than 50%.
£5 billion investment by UK water companies to benefit the natural environment
The Environment Secretary has challenged water companies to increase investment and improve environmental outcomes by 2025.
The ambitious measures set out by the Environment Agency in the Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) will see up to £5 billion of investment by water companies in the natural environment through 2020 to 2025.
This will help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the water environment, from the spread of invasive species and low flows to the effects of chemical and nutrient pollution.
Public health priorities for Scotland published
The Scottish Government and COSLA have jointly published public health priorities for Scotland, aimed at focussing action across the public sector, voluntary sector and in communities. The priorities are the first milestone in a wider reform of public health.
The priorities set a direction for Scotland’s public services over the next decade, with the aim of organisations and communities working better together to focus on prevention, to reduce health inequality and increase healthy life expectancy.
The priorities recognise that health and wellbeing is created in communities and through partnerships across sectors and that mental health must have parity with physical health, including commitments to enhance suicide prevention. Some 54 bodies across Scotland have already endorsed the priorities, reflecting a growing consensus and momentum for change.
The announcement of the priorities comes ahead of the publication of Scottish Government strategies and action plans covering tobacco, physical activity, diet, substance misuse and alcohol and the creation of a new public health body in 2019.
The priorities reflect a consensus for co-ordinated action on:
- healthy places and communities
- early years
- mental wellbeing
- harmful substances
- poverty and inequality
- healthy weight and physical activity