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.
Currently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all non-essential travel worldwide for an indefinite period. All other travel advisories, including advice for British nationals trying to return home, can be found on the FCO website.
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, 8 April 2020
World Chagas Disease Day will be celebrated for the first time on 14 April 2020. Chagas disease, also called American trypanosomiasis, is a chronic and potentially severe parasitic disease which is mainly transmitted by contact with the faeces and/or urine of infected reduviid bugs.
Chagas disease is prevalent largely among the poor populations of continental Latin America, affecting between six and seven million people. In the past few decades, it has been increasingly detected in the United States of America and Canada and in many European and some Western Pacific countries.
Evidence-based and cost-effective interventions exist, including screening programmes, early case detection, prompt treatment of cases, vector control, and hygiene and food safety. The aims of the campaign are to raise public awareness of both the condition and the resources needed for the prevention, control or elimination of the disease.
Further information and advice on Chagas disease is available on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Source: WHO, 8 April 2020
On 6 April 2020, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its Measles Annual Epidemiological Report for 2018.
In 2018, 29 EU/EEA member states reported 17,822 cases of measles, of which 12,709 (71%) were laboratory confirmed. The overall notification rate was 34.4 cases per 1,000,000 of the population, similar to numbers reported in 2017 (35.5 cases), but higher than the rates in 2014 - 2016 (7.1 – 9.0 cases). Iceland was the only country to report no cases of measles during 2018. There were 37 reported deaths due to measles (case-fatality 0.2%), and over two-thirds of cases with data available for these outcomes were hospitalised or suffered complications.
Age specific notification rates decreased with increasing age, with unvaccinated children under one-year-old and aged one to four years most affected, while adults aged 20 years and above accounted for 36% of cases.
The report highlights that in order for the measles elimination goal to be reached, many countries need to make sustained improvements in the coverage of their routine childhood immunisation programmes and close the immunity gaps in adolescents and adults who have missed vaccination opportunities in the past.
Source: ECDC, 6 April 2020
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its annual report on pesticide residues found in food in the European Union. The report is based on data from the official national control activities carried out by EU member states, Iceland and Norway and includes both targeted and random sampling.
A total of 91,015 samples were analysed in 2018, 95.5% of which fell within legally permitted levels. For the subset of 11,679 samples analysed as part of the EU-coordinated control programme (random collection), 98.6% of samples were within legal limits.
The report gives a snapshot of the presence of pesticide residues in food in the EU and any possible risk to consumer health. It also provides risk managers with information on which to base decisions regarding future control measures.
Source: EFSA, 2 April 2020
The European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU-OSHA) has published five discussion papers identifying sectors in which workers are potentially at high risk of exposure to biological agents. These sectors are:
• animal-related occupations
• waste management and wastewater treatment
• arable farming
• jobs involving travel and contact with travellers
The papers present the findings of a research project carried out to tackle the knowledge gap on biological agents in the workplace and the related health effects. They look at vulnerable groups and emerging risks and provide recommendations for effective prevention.
Source: EU-OSHA, 8 April 2020