On 2 July 2019, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) published the current quarterly epidemiological commentary on Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI), Escherichia coli bacteraemia (ECB), Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) and surgical site infection (SSI) in Scotland. For CDI, ECB and SAB, data on case numbers, incidence rates, funnel plots and typing (CDI only) are provided for both healthcare and community-associated cases. SSI incidence data are provided for hip arthroplasty and C-section procedures. Supplementary data are provided as a separate link contained in the report.
On 27 June 2019, at the Antibiotic Guardian Awards, the Health Protection Scotland (HPS) Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (ARHAI) group won the award in the Infection Prevention and Control category for its National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM).
The NIPCM is mandated in NHS Scotland, adopted by Public Health Wales (PHW), endorsed by all chief officers in Scotland, and recognised internationally as an innovative approach to infection prevention and control (IPC) policy and guidance production.
The NIPCM has supported Scotland in standardising IPC precautions across care settings aligning practice, monitoring, quality improvement and scrutiny. The 2019 UK five-year AMR national action plan (2019-2024) mandates that England will adopt the Scottish NIPCM and care standards.
On 28 June 2019, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published the Tetanus Annual Epidemiological Report for 2017. Eighty-two cases of tetanus, including forty-six confirmed cases, were reported in the EU/EEA in 2017.
Adults aged 65 years and above were the most affected age group, with women accounting for the majority of the cases. Cases tended to occur more frequently in the warmer months, which are associated with higher levels of outdoor activity. The current epidemiology of tetanus in the EU/EEA may be explained by lower vaccination coverage or waning immunity in older populations. Due to the severity of tetanus, there is a need to maintain high vaccination rates in all age groups and continue developing and implementing strategies to protect specific groups, particularly the elderly, in countries with higher rates of disease.
Source: ECDC, 28 June 2019
The Food Standards Agency (FSA), with the support of Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and local authorities, is leading the investigation into the food supply chain to identify the source of the listeria strain linked to recent hospital cases. This strain was traced back to a producer which withdrew all their ready-to-eat foods on a precautionary basis.
Investigations are continuing to try and determine the origin of the listeria strain and an enhanced set of food safety measures have been put in place.
Source: FSA, 26 June 2019
New, as yet unpublished data, were presented on 27 June 2019 at the 22nd meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020 (GET2020). These data show that the number of people at risk of trachoma, the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, has fallen from 1.5 billion in 2002 to just over 142 million in 2019, a reduction of 91%.
Trachoma is a disease of the eye caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Transmission occurs through contact with infective discharges from the eyes and nose, particularly in young children who harbour the main reservoir of infection. It is also spread by flies which have been in contact with the eyes and noses of infected people.
Source: WHO, 27 June 2019
The Scottish Government has committed significant funding to help repair and restore Scotland’s peatland areas, which store around 1,600 million tonnes of carbon.
In light of the global climate emergency, an extra £11 million has been allocated to fund projects to restore degraded peatlands, following an initial commitment of £3 million earlier this year.
Restoration work includes improving areas of wetlands by reducing drainage and slowing water flow on peatland, as well as covering areas of peat exposed to the elements, helping to lock in carbon and reduce potentially harmful C02 emissions.
Source: Scottish Government, 24 June 2019
Public Health England (PHE) has published an evidence review of commercially available baby foods and drinks aimed at children up to 36 months.
The main findings show inconsistencies between national infant feeding advice and how some commercial baby food and drink products are presented.
The review recommends that the food industry and government:
- improve the nutrient content of products
- ensure clear, consistent and honest labelling and marketing of products
- ensure that products high in sugars are labelled as not being suitable for eating between meals
- restrict the use of implied health claims on baby food products
- put in place a recurring survey of early years feeding practices to further the evidence base
- prioritise consumer awareness campaigns around early years feeding
Source: PHE, 27 June 2019
On 28 June 2019, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) reported that grass and woodland fires in Scotland had quadrupled over the past year. During a two-month period last summer, close to 2,500 fires affecting grassland, woodland and crops were recorded by firefighters across the country. The figure is an increase on the previous year’s figure of 624 blazes between June and August 2017.
SFRS has published safety information to assist the public to avoid fire risk, and provided regionalised totals of the June to August 2018 fires.
Source: SFRS, 28 June 2019