HPS Weekly Report
18 Sep 2018
Volume 52 No. 37
Publication of HIV infection in Scotland: quarterly report to 30 June 2018
On 18 September 2018, we published the latest HIV surveillance report, which provides a summary of HIV diagnoses data in Scotland to the end of June 2018. During the first six months of 2018, NHSScotland laboratories reported HIV-antibody positive test results for 139 individuals not previously recorded as HIV-positive. It is estimated that there are 5,213 individuals living in Scotland who have been diagnosed HIV-positive. Attendance is high with 4,758 HIV-infected individuals currently attending specialist services for monitoring and treatment. Across Scotland, 97% of individuals attending for monitoring are receiving antiretroviral therapy.
The report is available to view on our website.
Protozoal infections: annual summary 2017
On 18 September 2018, HPS published the annual surveillance reports for laboratory confirmed cases of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Cyclospora in Scotland for 2017.
Cases of monkeypox confirmed in England
On 11 September 2018, Public Health England (PHE) confirmed that a second individual has been diagnosed with monkeypox in England. There is no UK link to the patient diagnosed last week in Cornwall who is currently receiving care at the Royal Free in London (see current note 52/3604).
The second patient had travelled to Nigeria where they are believed to have acquired the infection. They first presented at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and following a positive test result were transferred to Royal Liverpool University Hospital, an expert respiratory infectious disease centre, where they are receiving appropriate care. All necessary precautions are being taken by specialist staff and there is currently no risk to other staff, patients or visitors.
Further information on monkeypox and related guidance is available on the PHE website.
Source: PHE, 11 September 2018.
Updated European Union Standards for Tuberculosis Care
The second edition of the European Union Standards for Tuberculosis Care (ESTC) is now available. The ESTC is a user-friendly guide for the optimal diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis (TB).
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS) jointly developed the standards in consultation with experts from international societies and organisations, national TB programmes, civil society and affected communities. The ESTC was updated to integrate evidence-based recommendations from recently published international guidelines and policy documents.
The ESTC includes 21 standards in the areas of diagnosis, treatment, HIV and co-morbidities and public health and prevention. The goal of the ESTC is to support public health experts, clinicians and healthcare programmes in TB prevention and control, bridging current gaps in case management of TB in the EU/EEA and contribute to ending TB in the region as envisioned in United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 3.3.
The ESTC is available to view in all EU/EEA languages on the ECDC website.
Source: ECDC, 12 September 2018.
New research reveals challenges facing young people with food allergies and intolerances
A survey investigating the views of young people living with food allergies and/or intolerances has been conducted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), in partnership with Allergy UK (AUK) and Anaphylaxis Campaign (AC). The report is based on responses from 2,599 young people, aged from 16 to 24 years old, in the UK.
Key findings of the report include:
- over half of young people with a food allergy or intolerance have avoided eating out in the last six months due to their condition
- 67% of respondents reported being aware of the legal requirement of food businesses to provide information on the top 14 allergens, but only 14% felt extremely confident asking for allergen information when dining out and 14% reported feeling not at all confident
- 59% reported they tend to visit the same places when eating out
- 55% reported always researched the menu online before going to a new or unfamiliar place
- only 9% reported always contacting a restaurant in advance to check they provide allergen information
The FSA, AUK and AC are working together to launch ‘easy to ASK’, a campaign designed to empower young people to ask food businesses about allergens when eating out, so that they can make safe choices. ‘Easy to ASK’ is also a reminder to businesses to be clear and up-front about the provision of accurate allergen information. The campaign includes the simple mnemonic:
- Always ask about allergies
- Speak up
- Keep safe
The report is available to view on the FSA website.
Source: FSA, 11 September 2018.
Xylella: host plant database updated
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed two pieces of work that expand the knowledge and understanding of Xylella fastidiosa (X. fastidiosa), the plant pathogen that is attacking fruit trees and other plants in parts of Europe. X. fastidiosa affects its host plants by invading their water-conducting systems, restricting or blocking the movement of water and nutrients through the plant. This can lead to serious consequences, including death, for some host plants.
EFSA has published the latest update of its database of plants that act as hosts for X. fastidiosa. The updated list includes 563 plant species identified through a new literature search and from notifications to the EU’s plant health interception service EUROPHYT. For 312 of the species, infection has been identified by at least two detection methods. The list now covers both species of the pathogen, X. fastidiosa and X. taiwanensis, and includes information on plant varieties that are resistant to, or tolerant of, Xylella.
The update includes the latest information on the biology and distribution of X. fastidiosa inside and outside the EU, as well as the presence and distribution of insect vectors in Europe. It also includes detailed information about the European outbreaks and the plant species affected. A new full risk assessment of X. fastidiosa is scheduled for completion in early 2019.
The scientific report detailing the update of the Xylella spp. host plant database is available to view on the EFSA website.
Source: EFSA, 10 September 2018.
New taskforce to support a carbon-neutral Scotland
The Scottish Government has launched a taskforce to help the country achieve a carbon-neutral economy. The Just Transition Commission will examine how to maximise opportunities of decarbonisation, in terms of fair work and tackling inequalities, while delivering a sustainable and inclusive labour market.
‘Just transition’ refers to the shift to a low carbon economy. The international principles of 'just transition’, developed and promoted by the trade union movement, are summarised as:
- plan for, and invest in, a transition to environmentally and socially sustainable jobs, sectors and economies
- leave no-one behind
- actively consider employment issues when developing climate policies
- design and deliver low carbon infrastructure with the aim of creating decent, high-value work
The specific form that the commission will take, and its wider membership, are currently being considered and will be announced later this year.