On 17 September 2019, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) published annual surveillance reports for laboratory-confirmed cases of:
- Cryptosporidium – In 2018, HPS received 536 laboratory reports of Cryptosporidium. This represents an increase of 27 reports (5.3%) when compared with 2017 (509 reports), but is within the year-on-year variation observed in Cryptosporidium as reported in the previous ten years.
- Giardia - In 2018, HPS received 199 laboratory reports of Giardia, which represents a decrease of 70 reports (26.0%) when compared with 2017 (269 reports).
- Cyclospora - A total of 12 laboratory reports of Cyclospora were received by HPS in 2018, compared with 46 in 2017, 167 in 2016, 24 in 2015 and two in 2014.
On 13 September 2019, Public Health England (PHE) published their latest reports for hepatitis C in the UK and England. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health threat in the UK and these reports summarise the scale of the problem and are intended to support focused action.
According to the UK report, new estimates suggest that around 143,000 people in the UK are living with chronic HCV infection, a reduction of more than 20% on 2015. There has also been a 19% fall in deaths reported between 2015 and 2018, and the World Health Organization (WHO) target of reducing HCV-related mortality by 10% by the year 2020 has been achieved three years early.
Latest estimates suggest that, by the end of 2018, around 21,000 people in Scotland were living with chronic HCV infection and that half of those are thought to be undiagnosed. This underlines the importance of continued efforts to find and treat these people. Importantly, the number of new cases of HCV-related end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has fallen by 67% in Scotland between 2013 and 2018. The fall in HCV-related morbidity and mortality observed in recent years is consistent with increased treatment and sustained virological response rates (SVR) achieved with new direct acting antiviral (DAA) drugs that have taken place over the past five years.
Further information on hepatitis C in Scotland can be found on the HPS website.
Source: PHE, 12 September 2019
Public Health England (PHE) has published a new five-year infectious diseases strategy, which aims to address urgent current and future threats to health, including antibiotic resistance and health inequalities.
The new strategy outlines work to combat infectious diseases and sets out the strategic priorities for the five-year period of 2020 to 2025, directing PHE planning, resource allocation, development and delivery on infectious diseases in this timeframe.
The strategy extends the organisation’s work into a new strategic framework based around its core functions, strategic priorities and enablers and supports a renewed focus across the organisation to maintain world-leading services and infectious disease control capability. It draws on learning from past experience and outlines a set of shared priority areas where PHE and its partners can make the greatest impact on the public’s health.
Source: PHE, 11 September 2019
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), in conjunction with the Scottish and Welsh Governments, have published a revised ‘Rabies Control Strategy for Great Britain’. The strategy, which was first published in June 2018, sets out a framework for managing an outbreak of rabies in Great Britain, in order to protect the environment, society and the economy.
Although the strategy covers general control principles for the most likely scenarios for cases of classical rabies virus and the rationale for such controls, it is not intended to provide detailed operational instructions for how to deal with an outbreak. The Scottish Government’s ‘Exotic diseases of animals: contingency framework plan’ covers these arrangements and should be referred to for detailed explanation of the systems, structures, roles and responsibilities implemented during an outbreak, which are referenced in this control strategy.
Further information about rabies can be found on the HPS website.
Source: DEFRA, 12 September 2019
The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved the use of dolutegravir/lamivudine (Dovato®) within NHSScotland for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in adults and adolescents above 12 years of age weighing at least 40kg, with no known or suspected resistance to the integrase inhibitor class, or lamivudine. The decision means that patients for whom this two-drug combination is appropriate can be treated with a daily, single-tablet combination of the drugs, as opposed to the currently used three-drug regimens, which gives the same outcome at no additional cost.
Source: SMC, 9 September 2019
Foodmaker Soupologie have issued a recall for three varieties of their soup products due to the possibility of Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
The products affected are:
- Soupologie 5 a Day Classic Tomato with Carrot & Red Pepper Soup, best before 1 October 2019, batch code 03969
- Soupologie Broccoli, Pea & Basil Soup, best before 2 October 2019, batch code 03984
- Soupologie Pea & Leek Soup, best before 2 October 2019, batch code 03980
All products affected come in 600g packs, with no other Soupologie products thought to be affected.
Listeria monocytogenes is an infection with symptoms which include high temperature, muscle aches or pains, chills, sickness and diarrhoea. Older people, pregnant women, babies under one month of age and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to Listeria.
Further information and guidance regarding Listeria can be found on the HPS website.
Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), 14 September 2019
The Scottish Government has opened a consultation on the role of public sector bodies in tackling climate change, which is one of the commitments in the ‘Programme for Government 2019-2020’. The consultation focuses on the role of public sector bodies in ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change, how the public sector climate change reporting duties should be revised to support that, and how the Scottish Government and the wider public sector can work together to make a step-change in delivery.
The consultation includes a proposal that all public sector bodies set the date by which they will reach zero emissions in their annual reports from 2022.
The consultation closes on 14 December 2019.
Source: Scottish Government, 11 September 2019
The first-ever World Patient Safety Day, on 17 September 2019, will be marked with events around the world to raise awareness on patient safety as a global health priority. The campaign, launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to create awareness of patient safety and encourage people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer. The day, which is promoted by the slogan of ‘speak up for patient safety’, brings stakeholders together in an effort to reduce the unintended harm caused in health care.
Thousands of patients around the world suffer avoidable harm or are put at risk of injury while receiving health care every day, often as a result of problems in practice, products, procedures or systems. In high-income countries, it is estimated that one-in-ten patients is harmed while receiving hospital care.
Patient safety is vital to delivering quality health care. This implies effort across the health system, such as a safe infrastructure, the safe use of technologies and medical devices, the correct administration and use of quality medicines, well-informed patients, a skilled and committed workforce and an enabling environment are all needed to improve patients’ safety and the quality of health care.
Source: WHO, 17 September 2019