European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD), which takes place on 18 November 2020, is a health initiative coordinated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which runs from 18 to 24 November 2020, and provides a platform and support for national campaigns on the prudent use of antibiotics in the EU/EEA.
This year the ECDC are asking medical professionals, veterinarians, farmers, policy makers, organisations, governmental institutions, and the general public to use social media channels to discuss what they are doing to use antibiotics responsibly. The hashtag for the EAAD 2020 campaign is #KeepAntibioticsWorking.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to evolve, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises British nationals against all but essential travel, exempting some countries that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. This advice is being kept under constant review and may change at short notice.
The fitfortravel (for the general public) and TRAVAX (for health professionals) country pages have been updated to include a COVID-19 country specific risk-rating, with every country being identified as high, moderate or low risk and each rating accompanied by appropriate travel advice. This information will be listed in the ‘Alerts’ section on each country page of fitfortravel and the 'Emerging Health Risks' section of every TRAVAX country page. This risk-rating is based on a robust public health assessment of the COVID-19 risks for travellers to each country and is regularly reviewed.
The COVID-19 risk rating and travel advice from the FCDO is being kept under constant review and may change at short notice. All travellers are advised to continue following sensible precautions and consider the following sources of information listed below.
Advice for travellers
Before planning or booking international travel, please check:
Information relating to travel and COVID-19 is available on the TRAVAX (for healthcare practitioners) and fitfortravel (for the 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.
On 4 November 2020, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reported one new case of polio in Kouilou region, Congo. This is the first recorded case in the country, and has been linked to the Huila outbreak in Angola.
Advice for travellers
- Poliomyelitis is spread mainly through person-to-person contact via the faecal-oral route.
- Travellers should be offered a booster dose of poliomyelitis vaccine if it has been more than ten years since their last dose.
Further information is available on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Source: TRAVAX, 10 November 2020
Measles surged worldwide in 2019, reaching the highest number of reported cases in 23 years, as highlighted in a report written by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which finds measles cases worldwide increased to 869,770 in 2019, the highest number reported since 1996 with increases in all WHO regions. Global measles deaths increased by almost 50% since 2016, claiming an estimated 207,500 lives in 2019 alone.
After steady global progress from 2010 to 2016, the number of reported measles cases climbed progressively to 2019. Comparing 2019 data with the historic low in reported measles cases in 2016, the report suggests a failure to vaccinate children on time with two doses of measles-containing vaccines (MCV1 and MCV2) may be the main driver of these increases in cases and deaths.
Although reported cases of measles are lower in 2020, necessary efforts to control COVID-19 have resulted in disruptions to vaccinations and crippling efforts to prevent and minimize measles outbreaks. As of November, more than 94 million people were at risk of missing vaccines due to paused measles campaigns in 26 countries, with many of these countries experiencing ongoing outbreaks. Of countries with postponed planned 2020 campaigns, only eight (Brazil, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines and Somalia) resumed their campaigns after initial delays.
The Faculty of Travel Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has published a new resource for healthcare professionals providing travel health services.
This new publication defines standards of care that are essential for the delivery of a travel medicine service, and can also be used to help healthcare professionals identify key areas for continuing professional development, alongside quality improvement in their travel medicine service.
Source: TRAVAX, 10 November 2020
The Scottish Government has announced the introduction of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Scotland. This brings into place stringent biosecurity measures for all bird keepers, including those who keep pet birds, to help prevent the spread of avian influenza from wild birds or any other source. This precautionary step has been taken in response to a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8, causing high mortality in poultry and wild birds in England and Europe.
The measures will be kept under review and will be adjusted to reflect the risks. A similar zone has also been declared in England and Wales.
Source: Scottish Government, 11 November 2020
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published a report on current West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance and control capacities across EU/EEA countries, European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partner countries, and EU candidate/potential candidate countries. The report also includes a scoping literature review to collate existing knowledge and operational experience on the effectiveness of vector control practices in reducing WNV risk.
The aim of the ECDC review was to identify, present and discuss studies on applied aspects of vector control under specific operational scenarios of WNV management, to establish what worked, where and why, and equally, to ascertain what did not work and why.
Source: ECDC, 6 November 2020
The UK Government has launched a consultation on proposals to ban online adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt in the UK. The areas being consulted on include:
- types of advertising to be restricted
- liability for compliance
- enforcement of the restrictions
The consultation is open until 22 December 2020, and hopes to gather views from the public and industry stakeholders in order to understand the impact and challenges of introducing a total ban on the advertising of these products online.
Source: UK Government, 10 November 2020
The Scottish Government has announced a new £4.5 million cashback incentive to help people install renewable and energy efficiency measures in their homes. Homeowners will be able to apply for 75% cashback, up to the value of £7,500, towards the cost of a renewable heating system, and a further 40% cashback, up to £6,000, for energy efficiency measures.
This new scheme is part of the Scottish Government’s ambition to reduce emissions from heating buildings, and also aims to support a green economic recovery from COVID-19.
Source: Scottish Government, 9 November 2020
The Scottish Government funds a portfolio of research on the environment, natural resources and agriculture, and are currently developing a strategy for the next cycle of research, beginning in 2022, which will outline the vision, priorities and mechanisms for funding that research.
A consultation has been launched to allow views on the priorities for future research to be shared, and asks for comment around the themes of:
- plant and animal health
- sustainable food system and supply
- human impacts on the environment
- natural resources
- rural futures
The consultation is open until 14 December 2020 and can be completed online.