The Scottish Environmental Incident Surveillance System (SEISS) is a national level knowledge management system, designed to provide information on a wide range of environmental incidents. The aim is to create a source of information that agencies can interrogate, in order to discover who else has had to manage incidents, what information was helpful in managing incidents and what lessons were learned.
The SEISS database holds details of incidents reported by participating agencies involving a risk to public health in Scotland, due to the release into the environment of chemical, microbiological, radiation or other physical agents.
SEISS is currently the only web based system that enables the reporting of environmental incidents across all of Scotland, and the annual report for 2019 provides a summary of the incidents that have occurred in Scotland during the past year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to produce daily situation reports on the coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic, listing all affected countries and the number of confirmed cases.
As of 23 March 2020, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a further exceptional travel advisory, recommending that all British nationals travelling abroad should return to the UK if commercial flights are still available. The FCO also warn that international travel is becoming highly limited with the further closure of air routes, land borders and domestic restrictions that prevent flights from leaving.
Information relating to travel and COVID-19 is available on the TRAVAX (for healthcare practitioners) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Information on COVID-19 for the general public is available on the NHS Inform (Scotland) and the NHS.UK (rest of the UK) websites.
Information and resources on COVID-19 for health professionals is available on the Health Protection Scotland (HPS) (Scotland) and Public Health England (PHE) (rest of the UK) websites.
Source: TRAVAX, 24 March 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there have been no new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since 17 February 2020.
The absence of new cases is a very positive development, but it is essential to maintain surveillance and response operations until and after the end of outbreak declaration, as outlined in the WHO recommended criteria.
Further information and advice on EVD is available on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Source: TRAVAX, 25 March 2020
New World Health Organization (WHO) guidance will help countries accelerate efforts to stop people with tuberculosis (TB) infection becoming unwell by giving them preventive treatment.
A quarter of the population of the world is estimated to be infected with TB bacteria. They are neither sick nor contagious, but are at greater risk of developing TB disease, especially if they have weakened immunity. Offering TB preventive treatment will not only protect people from becoming unwell, but will also reduce the risk of transmission in the community.
The new consolidated guidelines recommend:
- upscaling preventive treatment among populations at the highest risk, including household contacts of TB patients, people living with HIV and other people at risk with lowered immunity or living in crowded settings
- an integration of TB preventive treatment services into ongoing case finding efforts for active TB
- either a tuberculin skin test or interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) should be used to test for TB infection
- new shorter options for preventive treatment
A tuberculosis (TB) surveillance and monitoring report has been published by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The report details rates of TB since 2008, showing a significant drop in cases since 2010, from 460,232 to 269,859, across the WHO European region. Despite this decrease, the study warns that without urgent action, the WHO European region is on course to miss its sustainable development goal of eradicating TB by 2030.
This year, under the World TB Day (24 March) theme ‘It’s time’, the WHO is highlighting the need to accelerate the TB response in order to save lives and end suffering and build on commitments made by heads of state at the 2018 United Nations high-level meeting on TB.
Source: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 24 March 2020
To mark the International Year of Plant Health, the European Food Standard Authority (EFSA) has launched a new website highlighting the work it is doing with its partners to combat plant pests and protect Europe’s cultivated and wild plants.
The website will be updated throughout the year with news and information on activities aimed at raising awareness about plant health in Europe and beyond.
Source: EFSA, 25 March 2020