HPS Weekly Report
07 May 2019
Volume 53 No. 18
HPS publish HAI annual report for 2018
Health Protection Scotland (HPS) published the Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) annual report on 3 May 2019, to coincide with and support the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Hand Hygiene Day 2019, which took place on 5 May 2019.
This year, the WHO’s ‘SAVE LIVES: Clean your hands’ campaign focused on hand hygiene being practised not only in hospitals, but in all care settings including nursing homes, by all staff and visitors.
The HAI annual report provides the latest figures on healthcare associated infections in NHSScotland. These infections continue to represent a threat not only to patient safety across Scotland, but to safe care as a whole, wherever it is delivered.
Review of non-vaccine preventable diseases on TRAVAX country pages
The Health Protection Scotland (HPS) Travel and International Health Team have carried out a thorough review of all non-vaccine preventable disease recommendations throughout TRAVAX.
The updated information and advice can be found on the individual country pages.
The rationale and method for the review were:
- The majority of infections acquired as a consequence of travel are not vaccine preventable. Not all vaccines are 100% protective. Highlighting how to reduce risk of exposure to infections will help protect travellers from both non-vaccine preventable and vaccine preventable infections.
- Following a review of medical literature since 2008, infections in returning travellers considered to be the most noteworthy, either due to high consequences of infection or through being the most common, were identified by region.
The subsequent changes made to TRAVAX are the replacement of ‘Other Disease Risks to Consider’ section with:
- Emerging Health Risks. Novel and re-emerging infections may occur at any time, in any country. When such an infection occurs it will be highlighted in the ‘Alerts’ section of the country page. The ‘Outbreak archive’ for individual countries should be checked for recent alerts – this is unchanged. If the risk of infection continues to pose a risk for travellers, these will be highlighted in the ‘Emerging Health Risks’ section of the country page.
- Disease Prevention and Advice. This highlights the common transmission routes for travel related infections and ways to reduce the chances of exposure. Most travel related infections are acquired through the following generic routes and simple measures can reduce the chance of acquiring infections through these routes e.g.:
- practising good food and water hygiene
- practising good respiratory hygiene
- implementing insect bite avoidance measures
- practising safe sex; avoiding exposure to blood and body fluids
- being aware of and avoiding contaminated environments
The TRAVAX team believe that this extensive piece of work enhances the country specific recommendations by:
- focussing on the provision of advice on reducing the risk of non-vaccine preventable infections
- prioritising the most noteworthy specific illnesses in returning travellers for that region
If you would like to feedback on these changes please contact the TRAVAX team.
Source: TRAVAX, 30 April 2019
Interagency report calls for urgent action to avert AMR crisis
The United Nations (UN), international agencies and experts have released a report demanding coordinated action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis.
The UN Interagency Coordinating Group (IACG) on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) warn that if no action is taken, drug-resistant diseases could cause up to 10 million deaths each year by 2050, cause damage to economies and possibly force up to 24 million people into poverty as soon as 2030.
At least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases including 230,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Common diseases including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections are becoming less treatable. There are also consequences for lifesaving medical procedures and food systems.
The IACG argue that without investment from all countries, future generations will face the impacts of uncontrolled AMR.
Recognizing that human, animal, food and environmental health are closely interconnected, the report calls for a coordinated multi-sectoral ‘One Health’ approach.
It recommends that countries:
- prioritize national action plans to scale-up financing and capacity-building efforts
- put in place stronger regulatory systems and support awareness programs for responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials by professionals in human, animal and plant health
- invest in ambitious research and development for new technologies to combat AMR
- urgently phase out the use of critically important antimicrobials as growth promoters in agriculture
Source: WHO, 29 April 2019
Increased financial support for infected blood victims
The Prime Minister has announced that the UK Government will increase the financial support for those infected and affected by the infected blood scandal, ahead of the start of public hearings on 30 April 2019.
Regular annual payments for some of those infected will increase from £46 million to £75 million. Bereaved spouses and partners could also be eligible for further financial support through means-tested discretionary top-up payments.
Infected blood support schemes were established in 2017, following the publication of the Penrose Inquiry in 2015. Country-specific schemes were set up in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. The new funding arrangements also recognise the disparities that have existed across the schemes.
In January, Health Minister Jackie Doyle Price and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, David Lidington, met with the Infected Blood Inquiry team and 12 infected and affected representatives to discuss the need for improved financial support and the desire for equal support across the four UK nations.
Green Book chapter on influenza updated
Chapter 19 of the Green Book, which addresses influenza in the UK for public health professionals, has been updated.
The recent updates include changes to the asthma and egg allergy sections and added information on newly licensed influenza vaccines.
Scottish Government pledges further climate change action
The Scottish Government has lodged amendments to the Climate Change Bill, which now sets a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest, with Scotland aiming to become carbon neutral by 2040.
The amendments are in response to calls from young people, scientists and businesses across the country, and Scottish ministers have adopted the findings of a report issued by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
This means that in addition to the net-zero target for 2045, Scotland will aim to reduce emissions by 70% by 2030 and 90% by 2040, which are the amongst the most ambitious statutory targets in the world.
The committee’s recommended targets for Scotland are contingent on the UK adopting a net-zero greenhouse gas emission target for 2050.
Source: Scottish Government, 2 May 2019
#EUandMyFood campaign launched to promote the value of EU food safety
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EU member states and the European Commission have jointly launched a campaign called #EUandMyFood. The aim of the campaign is to demonstrate to EU citizens how the European food safety system protects them, and how they benefit from some of the highest food safety standards in the world.
The #EUandMyFood campaign is being promoted by EFSA and national food safety authorities in the EU member states with the support of the European Commission’s Health and Food Safety Directorate General. Together they have created a series of short films, animations and other information which can be accessed through the campaign website.
Source: EFSA, 24 April 2019
Environmental incidents – SEISS reports (ammonia leak)
The Scottish Environmental Incident Surveillance System (SEISS) recorded the following incident in the past week:
- A seafood factory in Aberdeenshire was evacuated due to a gas leak. Emergency services were called to Macduff Shellfish in Mintlaw following the ammonia alert shortly before 6.30am on 1 May 2019. Twenty-four fire fighters were at the scene while the factory was evacuated. A Scottish Fire and Rescue spokesman commented that there were no reports of any injuries. The incident was reported by the STV news.
More detailed information can be found on the SEISS website or contact either Ian Henton or Colin Ramsay at HPS on 0141 300 1100.