The report on quarterly epidemiological data on Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), Escherichia coli bacteraemia (ECB), Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) and Surgical Site Infection (SSI) in Scotland, January to March (Q1) 2018, was published on 3 July 2018 under the mandatory programmes for surveillance of CDI, ECB, SAB and SSI in Scotland. This report provides data for the first quarter of 2018 in 14 NHS boards and one NHS Special Health Board. In addition, an appendix can also be accessed which details all cases and denominator data for each NHS board and overall for Scotland.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) monitors the occurrence of West Nile fever cases in Europe throughout the transmission season, which runs from June to November (see current note 52/2303). In the past week, the first human cases of West Nile fever have been reported in the EU for the current transmission season.
Greece has reported four cases (three confirmed and one probable) and Italy has one confirmed case. The latest weekly updates can be viewed on the ECDC website.
Source: ECDC, 29 June 2018
On 2 July 2018, Public Health England (PHE) published a practical guide to undertaking risk assessment of potential rabies exposures and the correct use of post-exposure treatment.
Rabies is a viral encephalitis and can be fatal. Prompt treatment after exposure is the most effective way to prevent disease. Post-exposure treatment using rabies vaccine with or without human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG) is highly effective in preventing disease if given correctly and promptly after exposure. These updated guidelines include a new shortened rabies post-exposure protocol of four doses of vaccine over 21 days in immunocompetent individuals.
Source: UK Government, 2 July 2018
The seventeenth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR), regarding the international spread of poliovirus, took place in April 2018 (see current note 52/1907).
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a response on 26 June 2018, stating that the conclusions of the IHR Emergency Committee do not change their risk assessment for Europe.
Source: ECDC, 26 June 2018
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have issued vector sampling protocols outlining the recommended methods for collecting vectors to support entomologists and public health professionals in Europe. This is a first attempt to summarise best-practices in terms of methods and strategies for sampling mosquitoes, sandflies, biting midges and ticks. The protocols were developed within the VectorNet project, a joint initiative of EFSA and ECDC supporting the collection of data on vectors and related pathogens, both in animal and human health.
The VectorNet sampling protocols offer a uniform way to sample vectors and describe the optimal methods for data collection, conservation of specimens, identification and quality control, all based on VectorNet practices.
Each section of the report is dedicated to a vector species (mosquitoes, sandflies, biting midges or ticks) and describes in detail:
- which traps to use to meet specific study objectives
- how to select a sampling site
- when to sample and for how long or how often
- how to collect samples
- how to preserve them
- how to identify them
- how to assess quality
The report intends to provide support to professionals involved in the surveillance, monitoring or control of vector-borne diseases. It will also be of interest to decision-makers, policymakers and stakeholders in public health, as well as non-experts in mosquito surveillance, monitoring and control. The suggested methods can be applied to the entire geographic area of Europe, that is, in all EU member states and EEA/EFTA countries.
Source: ECDC, 28 June 2018
The European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) has launched two public consultations on chemical mixtures. People, animals and the environment can be exposed to multiple chemicals from a variety of sources such as the environment, food and consumer products. Understanding how combined chemicals behave is complex and the number of potential combinations is high.
The first consultation concerns the EFSA’s draft guidance on harmonised methodologies for human health, animal health and ecological risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals. The closing date for submissions is 15 September 2018.
The second public consultation relates to how the EFSA proposes to address the genotoxicity of chemical mixtures. The closing date for submissions is 9 September 2018.
Source: EFSA, 26 June 2018
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has made a number of recommendations to further protect young infants from potential risks posed by pesticide residues in food.
The proposals are part of a comprehensive evaluation of the safety of pesticide residues in foods intended for infants and young children.
EFSA recommends that:
- The maximum levels of certain types of pesticide residues that can be present in foods intended for infants and young children be reviewed. This would ensure ample protection for infants under 16 weeks even at the very highest possible exposure levels.
- Specific safe intake levels of pesticide residues for infants below the age of 16 weeks could be established in accordance with the guidance of EFSA’s Scientific Committee.
Source: EFSA, 28 June 2018
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC)’s 2018 progress report to the Westminster Parliament states that the UK Government must learn the lessons of the last decade if it is to meet legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s and 2030s. The committee sets out four key messages to put emissions reductions on target:
- support the simple, low-cost options
- commit to effective regulation and strict enforcement
- end the chopping and changing of policy
- act now to keep long-term options open
The committee’s report presents a list of critical commitments it expects the government to deliver by the time the CCC issues its next progress report to Parliament in June 2019. A number of actions are required by the end of 2018 including concrete policies to secure improvements in residential energy efficiency, a deployment pathway for the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) commercialisation programme and new policy to strengthen the incentives for people to buy electric vehicles.
Source: CCC, 28 June 2018
A Scottish Government consultation on developing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers opened on 27 June 2018.
Around 2.5 billion single-use drinks containers are sold in Scotland every year and it is hoped that a deposit return scheme would help reduce current levels of plastic pollution. Under the new scheme people would pay a small deposit when they buy a drink in a single-use container and get that money back when it is returned empty. Some countries with deposit return schemes are achieving up to 95% recycling rates for drinks containers compared to 50% in Scotland.
The consultation, which will run until 25 September 2018, asks for views on:
- how much the deposit should be
- where people could return items
- what sort of materials and products should be included
Source: Scottish Government, 27 June 2018
The Scottish Environmental Incident Surveillance System (SEISS) recorded the following incident in the past week:
- On Wednesday 27 June, more than 50 firefighters tackled a wildfire in woods near a West Lothian village. Crews were called to the blaze near Falla Hill Place in Fauldhouse at about 5pm. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said about 200 metres of woodland was alight and that the blaze was proving difficult and challenging to extinguish. The officer in charge of the incident said the fire was affecting trees and heavy vegetation. Source: Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, 29 June 2018
For more detailed information on SEISS, visit their website or contact either Ian Henton or Colin Ramsay at HPS on 0141 300 1100.