HPS Weekly Report
04 Sep 2018
Volume 52 No. 35
Notifiable avian disease control strategy for Great Britain
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has updated and republished its 2015 strategy, which sets out how outbreaks of notifiable avian diseases (NAD), avian flu and Newcastle disease are managed in the United Kingdom.
This document describes how an outbreak of exotic NAD in Great Britain would be managed and sets out the measures that would be applied. It also describes the measures and wider framework in place to prevent and limit an incursion of NAD.
The strategy aims to enable all affected during an outbreak of NAD to be better prepared to respond quickly and effectively to control and limit the outbreak, thereby mitigating the likely impact of the control measures described.
Source: DEFRA, 30 August 2018
Severe respiratory disease associated with MERS-CoV
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published an update to its rapid risk assessment on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). This update was triggered by the detection of a case imported into the EU/EEA from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) (see current note 52/3403). This update reassesses the risk for EU/ EEA residents.
The majority of the MERS-CoV infections continue to be reported from the Middle East and more specifically from the KSA. Sporadic MERS-CoV infections in travellers returning to EU/EEA countries can be expected, given the regular occurrence of MERSCoV infections in the Middle East and the substantial number of people travelling between the region and EU countries.
European public health authorities should remain vigilant, continue surveillance of acute respiratory infections and maintain preparedness for travel-related MERS cases entering the EU/EEA. Information about the risk of MERS should be shared with clinicians to maintain increased awareness for early identification, isolation and diagnosis of possible MERS. Adherence to strict infection control protocols throughout contact with possible cases is critical for preventing further spread of MERS-CoV in healthcare settings. Previously issued advice for travellers, including pilgrims, and healthcare workers remains valid. EU residents travelling to Middle Eastern countries need to be made aware that MERS-CoV is circulating in these areas. Close contact with dromedary camels, consumption of raw/undercooked camel products, such as milk, and transmission in hospital settings are the main sources of infection.
Countries should advise travellers returning from all areas affected by MERS-CoV to seek medical attention if they develop a respiratory illness with fever and cough during the two weeks following their return, and to disclose their recent travel history to their healthcare provider.
The risk of widespread transmission of MERS-CoV in the community after sporadic importation into the EU/EEA remains very low. The risk of transmission of MERS-CoV in the healthcare setting after sporadic importation into the EU/EEA remains low, provided appropriate infection control measures are implemented rapidly when seeing suspected cases.
Source: ECDC, 29 August 2018
Information and guidance on MERS is available from our website.
Drug-resistance of gonorrhoea in the EU: persistent but stable
According to the 2016 results of the European Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (Euro-GASP), Neisseria gonorrhoea continues to show high levels of resistance to azithromycin across the European Union and European Economic Area. This threatens the effectiveness of the currently recommended dual therapy regimen for gonorrhoea. Overall, the rates of resistance to cefixime, ceftriaxone and azithromycin have remained stable when compared to recent years.
Euro-GASP aims to strengthen the surveillance of gonococcal antimicrobial susceptibility in EU/EEA Member States in order to provide quality-assured data to inform gonorrhoea treatment guidelines. This report presents the results from the 2016 gonococcal antimicrobial susceptibility sentinel surveillance.
Source: ECDC, 30 August 2018
African health ministers commit to ending cholera outbreaks by 2030
Health ministers have pledged to implement key strategies for ending cholera outbreaks in the African region by 2030. On 28 August 2018, forty-seven African countries adopted the Regional Framework for the Implementation of the Global Strategy for Cholera Prevention and Control at the 68th session of the World Health Organisation’s Regional Committee for Africa, which took place in Dakar, Senegal.
The region is vulnerable to cholera for a range of reasons. Ninety-two million people in Africa still drink water from unsafe sources. In rural areas, piped water is often unavailable and people practice open defecation. Humanitarian crises, climate change, rapid urbanization and population growth are also increasing the risk of cholera spreading.
In adopting the Regional Framework, countries pledged to reduce by 90% the magnitude of cholera outbreaks, particularly among vulnerable populations and in humanitarian crises. They agreed to take evidence-based actions, which include enhancing epidemiological and laboratory surveillance, mapping cholera hotspots, improving access to timely treatment, strengthening cross-border surveillance, promoting community engagement and the use of the Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) as well as increasing investments in clean water and sanitation for the most vulnerable communities.
EH40/2005 workplace exposure limits
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a new edition of EH40 which supercedes the previous 2011 version. The 2018 edition has been updated to include new and revised workplace exposure limits (WELs) introduced by the fourth Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELV) Directive. It will guide those responsible for controlling exposure to hazardous substances at work.
Many people are exposed to various substances at work, such as chemicals, fumes, dusts, and fibres, which can, under some circumstances, have a harmful effect on their health. These are referred to as ‘hazardous substances’. If exposure to a hazardous substance is not properly controlled, it may cause ill health in a number of ways. The substance may cause harm by:
- too much being taken into the body through breathing
- being absorbed through the skin
- being swallowed
- acting directly on the body at the point of contact
This edition takes account of the new limits for substances listed in Directive 2017/164/EU, the fourth Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELV) Directive which was implemented on 21 August 2018. Details of the changes that came into force then are summarised in EH40.
This edition also reintroduces the biological monitoring guidance values in Table 2 for chlorobenzene, isocyanates and 4,4-methylenedianiline which were omitted from the previous version.
SEPA to end exemptions for burning farm plastics
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has announced its next steps to reduce the adverse impact of plastics on the environment by confirming it will end exemptions for burning most types of agricultural waste from 1 January 2019.
Whilst a change in Scotland’s environmental regulations in 2013 meant farmers could continue burning plastics only under an exemption, the agency is moving to reduce the environmental impacts of farm waste.
The move, which will affect silage wrap, crop covers, fertiliser bags and containers, follows extensive engagement between SEPA and Zero Waste Scotland. SEPA has also worked closely with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland to roll out the change which will feature on-going dialogue with farmers and crofters over the coming months.
Ending the exemption will not only align with the legal requirement for all Scottish businesses to present plastics and other items separately for collection, but will help boost the Scottish market for recycled plastics.
SEPA, NFU Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland have developed a simple set of resources for Scottish farmers, including a list of Scottish recyclers who stand ready to help farmers get plastic waste sorted.
Source: SEPA, 31 August 2018
EEA Signals 2018 - Water is Life
On 30 August 2018, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published its annual Signals report, which looks at key issues related to environment and climate.
The Signals 2018 report gathers latest assessments and data to explore the current and future state of Europe’s waters. It argues that, to ensure clean and healthy lakes, rivers and seas, we need to fundamentally change the way we use and treat water. To support this change, the European Union has put in place a number of policies to improve water quality and reduce pressures on Europe’s water bodies.
Signals 2018 looks at water as a part of Europe’s economy as well as a home and a vital resource for animals and plants. The report also takes a closer look at water in cities, the plastic waste problem, and the impacts of climate change. Two interviews show ways of dealing with the risks of too much water, in the Netherlands, and too little water, in Malta. The final article presents different polices and models to govern water bodies and their resources across geopolitical borders.
Source: EEA, 30 August 2018
UK Multi-Annual National Control Plan 2017
The annual report on progress towards implementation of the UK Multi-Annual National Control Plan (MANCP) has been published. The MANCP details the roles and responsibilities of the different authorities and organisations involved in enforcement and monitoring compliance with feed and food law, animal health and welfare rules and plant health requirements in the UK. Based on data collected for 2017, the report shows that the overall level of compliance in all sectors in the UK was satisfactory when assessed against expectations.
The report is produced jointly by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with contributions provided by Food Standards Scotland (FSS).
Source: FSA, 30 August 2018