HPS Weekly Report
05 Mar 2019
Volume 53 No. 9
HPS publishes updated compendium of HAI guidance
The updated Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) Compendium contains links to current national policy and guidance on HAI, antimicrobial prescribing and resistance, decontamination and other related topics. The compendium aims to provide NHS Scotland staff with an overview of all up-to-date guidance from stakeholders and organisations.
Additionally, the compendium includes links to the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM) which is the mandatory practice guide for all NHS Scotland care settings. As well as the practice guide for standard infection control precautions, transmission based precautions and HAI incidents and outbreaks, the manual also includes supporting materials such as literature reviews, tools and posters.
Source: HPS, 28 February 2019
WHO policy brief on antibiotic resistance
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a policy brief on the challenges of antibiotic resistance (ABR) with a specific slant on the challenges of cultural factors as one of the biggest obstacles. The brief examines how the prescription and use of antibacterial medicines, the transmission of resistance, and the regulation and funding of research are influenced by cultural, social and commercial, as well as biological and technological factors.
Source: WHO Europe, 2019
ECDC reports that antimicrobial resistance shows no signs of slowing down
Data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reveal that antimicrobials used to treat diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans, such as campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis, are becoming less effective. The joint report, which presents the findings from humans, pigs and calves under one year of age from across 28 EU member states, confirms the rise in antibiotic resistance already identified in previous years.
According to the report, which refers to 2017 data, resistance to fluoroquinolones (such as ciprofloxacin) in Campylobacter bacteria is so high in some countries, that these antimicrobials no longer work for the treatment of severe campylobacteriosis cases.
Most countries reported that Salmonella in humans is increasingly resistant to fluoroquinolones. Multidrug resistance, to three or more antimicrobials, is high in Salmonella found in humans (28.3%) and animals, particularly in S. typhimurium.
In Campylobacter, high to extremely high proportions of bacteria were found to be resistant to ciprofloxacin and tetracyclines. Combined resistance to critically important antimicrobials was low to very low in Salmonella and Campylobacter from humans and animals, and in indicator E. coli from animals.
Source: EFSA, 26 February 2019
Updated guidance on Zika virus for travellers
Zika virus (ZIKV) was first noted in the Americas in 2015 and since then the epidemiology and understanding of ZIKV infection has evolved considerably, particularly with respect to congenital Zika syndrome and sexual transmission of ZIKV. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and public health authorities across the UK have reviewed the evidence available to date, and modified the advice for travellers accordingly.
- Men are advised to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of ZIKV by the use of contraception and condoms during travel and for three months afterwards (previously six months).
- The risk of Zika for an affected country will now be detailed on the individual country pages of TRAVAX under ‘Other Diseases Risk to Consider’, including the advice for pregnant travellers and travellers considering pregnancy.
The main advice for travellers to countries with a risk of ZIKV transmission is to ensure they have:
- appropriate mosquito bite avoidance measures
- travel insurance
Travellers to countries at risk of ZIKV transmission should avoid the risk of sexual transmission of ZIKV by the use of contraception and condoms during travel and for:
- two months afterwards if female
- three months afterwards if male
Pregnant travellers are advised to:
- Postpone non-essential travel to a country at high risk of ZIKV transmission, as detailed on the individual country pages of TRAVAX and fitfortravel.
- Consider postponing non-essential travel to a country at moderate risk of ZIKV transmission, as detailed on the individual country pages of TRAVAX and fitfortravel.
Ovarian cancer awareness month
Ovarian cancer is the biggest gynaecological killer of women in the UK women, with UK survival rates among the worst in Europe.
Three-quarters of women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult. It is hoped that increased awareness can drive forward improvements in diagnosis, treatment and survival.
Doctors call for zero carbon emissions by 2030
A group of health professionals is calling on the UK Government to amplify its response to climate change, and to bring in measures that will reduce UK green house gas emissions to zero by 2030, twenty years sooner than proposed by the EU. The group claims that steps required to stop climate breakdown will result in cleaner and more efficient transport, more walking and cycling, healthier and more sustainable diets and insulated homes, which will improve the physical and mental health of society and deliver economic and social benefits.
River Kelvin environmental investment project in Glasgow’s west end
Scottish Water has initiated a £15 million project in Glasgow’s west end to help improve the environment and water quality in the River Kelvin.
The project involves the installation of new and improved waste water infrastructure, underground combined sewer overflow (CSO) chambers and upgraded pipework.
These upgrades will help prevent items which are wrongly flushed down the toilet, such as rags, baby wipes, and plastic cotton buds, from overflowing into the River Kelvin during severe storm events. The upgrades will also reduce the frequency and volume of waste water spillages in storm conditions.
Work on the entire project is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2020.
Source: Scottish Water, 19 February 2019
FSS survey shows people in Scotland are unaware of the serious health consequences of DNP
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) research has found that only 4% of those surveyed in Scotland have heard about the potentially deadly substance 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), which is often illegally marketed as a ‘fat-burning’ food supplement to support weight loss or promote health and fitness.
DNP is used as an industrial chemical in pesticides and explosives, and taking it can cause the body to ‘overheat’, with side effects ranging from nausea and vomiting, to rapid or irregular heartbeat, and in some cases it can result in coma or death. It is sold as tablets or capsules and has become popular amongst people wanting to lose fat quickly, including bodybuilders and people with eating disorders. 26 people in the UK have died from taking DNP since 2007.
The survey found that 35% of surveyed people in Scotland would buy a food supplement claiming it could help them lose weight, and 55% would buy a food supplement marketed as a health and fitness product. Once aware of the dangers of DNP use, 95% of respondents said they would not take the substance knowing that it can be fatal.
Source: FSS, 25 February 2019
Firefighters were called to more than 30 deliberate fires every day in a two-month period
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have released data showing that emergency service crews dealt with 1,824 blazes between March and April 2018.
Deliberate fire calls included 319 in the city of Glasgow, 128 in Edinburgh, and hundreds more in counties across the country.
Over 1,800 deliberate fires, involving building and vehicle fires, incidents in outdoor areas such as fields, the countryside and burning refuse, resulted in call-outs for SFRS crews.
This is a reduction of 34% on the 2,782 deliberate fire calls that mobilised SFRS crews during the same period in 2017.
Source: SFRS, 26 February 2019