Tag Archive: Health Protection Agency


Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

08.03.2013 Biological Hazard United Kingdom England, [Suffolk County] Damage level
Details

Biological Hazard in United Kingdom on Friday, 08 March, 2013 at 17:32 (05:32 PM) UTC.

Description
A drug user has died in Suffolk after being infected with anthrax. Ambulance genericThe Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the victim had injected heroin. There has been a small outbreak of cases in Europe, with 13 cases identified by health officials since June last year. Seven of the cases have occurred in the UK, including one in Scotland and one in Wales. Four of the five people who contracted the bacterial infection in England have died, experts said. The HPA said the source of the infection is presumed to be contaminated heroin. The HPA said it is “unclear” whether the British cases are linked to the European outbreak which has affected drug users in Denmark, Germany and France. Dr Chris Williams, consultant in communicable disease control at the HPA in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, said: “Anthrax can be cured with antibiotics, if treatment is started early. It is therefore important for medical professionals to be alert to the possibility of anthrax infection in heroin users presenting with signs and symptoms – which include severe soft tissue infections or blood poisoning – to prevent any delays in providing treatment. “It is possible that further cases may be seen in people who inject heroin. People who use drugs may become infected with anthrax when the heroin they use is contaminated with anthrax spores. This could be a source of infection if injected, smoked or snorted – there is no safe route for consuming heroin or other drugs that may be contaminated with anthrax spores.”
Biohazard name: Heroin contaminated with antrax
Biohazard level: 3/4 Hight
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

Drug user dies after anthrax infection

Health Protection Agency reports heroin user in Suffolk died after injecting what is presumed to be contaminated drug

  • Press Association
  • The Guardian, Friday 8 March 2013 14.12 EST
anthrax bacteria

Anthrax bacteria. A heroin user has died of the disease. The Health Protection Agency has reported seven anthrax case in the UK since June last year. Photograph: Smc Images/Getty Images

A drug user has died after being infected with anthrax, health experts have said.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the person, who injected heroin, had died in Suffolk.

There has been a small outbreak of cases in Europe, with 13 cases identified by health officials since June last year.

Seven of the cases have occurred in the UK, including one in Scotland and one in Wales. Four of the five people who contracted the bacterial infection in England have died, experts said.

The HPA said the source of the infection is presumed to be contaminated heroin.

Two of the deaths occurred in Blackpool and the other death was a drug user in Medway, Kent.

The HPA said it is “unclear” whether the British cases are linked to the European outbreak which has affected drug users in Denmark, Germany and France.

Anthrax is a bacterial infection and is primarily a disease of herbivorous mammals, though other animals and some birds can also become infected. Drug users can be exposed when heroin is contaminated with anthrax spores.

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Epidemic Hazards

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2 17.02.2013 Epidemic Hazard United Kingdom England, Manchester Damage level
Details

Epidemic Hazard in United Kingdom on Monday, 11 February, 2013 at 17:22 (05:22 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Saturday, 16 February, 2013 at 13:12 UTC
Description
Another person in the UK has been diagnosed with the deadly Sars-like virus after catching the disease from a family member. The patient becomes the third person in a week to contract the disease. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said on Monday that a person who had been travelling in the Middle East had been hospitalised in Manchester with the coronavirus. Two days later, a family member was admitted to hospital in Birmingham after contracting the disease through person-to-person infection. The HPA has announced that another member of the same family has caught the disease and was being treated in isolation. The patient was said to be recovering. Four out of the 12 confirmed global coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in Britain. Prof John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department of the HPA, said: “Although this patient had a mild form of respiratory illness, as a precaution the HPA is advising that the patient self-isolate and limit contact with non-household members. “Follow-up of other household members and contacts of this case is under way. “Although this case appears to be due to person-to-person transmission, the risk of infection in contacts in most circumstances is still considered to be low. “If novel coronavirus were more infectious, we would have expected to have seen a larger number of cases than we have seen since the first case was reported three months ago.

Epidemic Hazard in United Kingdom on Monday, 11 February, 2013 at 17:22 (05:22 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Sunday, 17 February, 2013 at 04:46 UTC
Description
Britain reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday that a third member of one British family has been confirmed as novel coronavirus infection, said the WHO. WHO said in a statement that the latest confirmed case didn’t have recent travel history outside the country. It said this new case offered further indications of person-to-person transmission, however, “no sustained person-to-person transmission has been identified.” The case is recovering from mild respiratory illness and is currently well and the British Health Protection Agency (HPA) is following up on all close contacts who may have been exposed to the recently confirmed cases, WHO said. Britain reported a confirmed case of the new coronavirus infection to WHO on Monday, who had recently travelled to the Middle East and Pakistan. Two days later, his relative, who didn’t travel to other coutries recently, was confirmed for infection. As of Saturday, WHO has been informed of a total of 12 confirmed cases of human infection with NCoV, including five deaths.

Earth Watch Report  –  Epidemic Hazards

 

Today Epidemic Hazard United Kingdom England, Manchester Damage level
Details

Epidemic Hazard in United Kingdom on Monday, 11 February, 2013 at 17:22 (05:22 PM) UTC.

Description
A new virus related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) has been found in a patient in Britain who recently visited the Middle East and Pakistan. Officials have confirmed the patient was diagnosed with the coronavirus, which has infected ten people globally and killed five, and is receiving intensive treatment in a Manchester hospital. Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said in a statement it was providing advice to ensure the British patient was treated appropriately and healthcare staff were protected. ‘Our assessment is that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains extremely low and the risk to travellers to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries remains very low,’ the HPA said. Sars caused a global alert last September and the new virus makes the victim exhibit similar symptoms, including severe respiratory illness, fever, coughing and breathing difficulties. The bug was identified when the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an international alert last September saying a virus previously unknown in humans had infected a Qatari man who had recently been in Saudi Arabia. People who have had contact with the patient are also being tracked to check on their health. Coronaviruses are typically spread like other respiratory infections, such as flu but the WHO has said it does not spread easily from person to person.
Biohazard name: SARS
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

New SARS-like virus infects British patient in tenth case globally

By Kate Kelland

LONDON | Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:41pm EST

(Reuters) – A new virus from the same family as SARS that sparked a global alert last September has been found in another patient in Britain, health officials said on Monday.

The latest case of infection with the new virus known as a coronavirus brings the total number confirmed globally to 10, of whom five have died.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the latest infection was “a sporadic case” and did not alter the WHO’s risk assessment. It added, however, that the new case “does indicate that the virus is persistent”.

The British patient, who recently had traveled to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, is receiving intensive care treatment in hospital in the city of Manchester, northern England.

The new virus, which the WHO refers to as novel coronavirus or NCoV, shares some of the symptoms of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – a coronavirus which emerged in China in 2002 and killed about a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected worldwide.

Symptoms include severe respiratory illness, fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.

 

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Hand-held dental x-ray machines linked to cancer risks, emitting 10 times the radiation of normal x-rays

radiation

by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Once again, the penny pinching bureaucrats running Great Britain’s National Health Service, notable for a euthanasia program that kills 130,000 people a year, may be responsible for creating yet another unhealthy environment for British subjects.

In this case, British dentists have been warned against using a cheap, hand-held x-ray machine on their patients because they pose a significant health risk.

According to the BBC, the imported machines, known as the Tianjie Dental Falcon, expose “users and patients to 10 times the normal level of radiation, increasing their risks of cancer and organ damage.”

Doctors and dentists in such chronically underfunded, government-run health care systems are always looking for ways to curb costs. In this case, it seems as though one cost-cutting measure has been hurting the very patients they were caring for. But other bureaucrats from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency are now asking NHS, as well as private dentists, to get rid of the devices.

Entire skull irradiated

In assessing the damage so far, officials have had to admit they don’t know how many patients have been exposed to the additional risk. So far, 13 of the Chinese-made devices have been seized at a distribution center. Most were sold on Internet sites including eBay, the BBC said. At least one dental surgery office was found to be using the dangerous device.

Officials discovered the devices were emitting excessive radiation during emergency testing of the product by the Health Protection Agency, as well as scientists at King’s College Hospital in London. There, officials found that the devices contained insufficient lead shielding inside of them to protect both dentists and patients from excessive radiation exposure.

In addition, officials found that the hand-held x-ray’s beam is too wide, meaning a patient’s entire skull and brain are needlessly exposed to the additional radiation, not just their teeth.

Further, the device poses an electrical hazard because it comes with a European-style electrical plug and travel adapter not compatible for the United Kingdom’s power system. So, besides being a major fire hazard, the device also could give dentists and patients a dangerous shock.

“Over time someone operating this machine, such as a dental assistant, would be exposed to unacceptable levels of accumulated radiation and this would have an increased risk to their health,” said Donald Emerton, a scientist who tested the device.

“I certainly wouldn’t want someone to use this piece of equipment to take an X-ray of me,” he told the BBC.

The MHRA said it believes the UK’s only distributor of the machines must be shuttered, but said investigations are ongoing to make sure no more of them can be sold and used there.

The agency said issues with the devices first came to light around June. Officials said it wasn’t clear how many of them are in circulation.

The BBC said officials with the device’s manufacturer, Zhengzhou Tianjie Electronic Equipment Co., could not be reached for comment.

Cash-strapped government systems force providers into buying cheap equipment

The devices sell for about ?200, or about $320; other hand-held dental x-ray devices for sale in the UK and around the world can cost as much as ?4,000 (about $6,500).

“It’s vital that dentists and dental staff do not buy these dental X-ray machines from eBay or other websites because they are not approved and not safe for dentists or patients,” said Bruce Petrie, of the MHRA’s Medical Devices Enforcement Team.

“We are working with eBay and other governments to ensure dentists and patients are protected,” Petrie added.

Barry Cockcroft, England’s chief dental officer, added, “It is vitally important that when buying equipment, dentists make sure it is appropriate and safe for use. I would urge all dental professionals to be cautious of seemingly cheap devices which may not be fit for purpose and potentially dangerous.”

As healthcare costs soar, government-run systems are forced to cut costs anyway they can, even if it means buying the cheapest, most dangerous equipment out there.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20579318

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.naturalnews.com

Earth Watch Report   –   Biological Hazards

Today Biological Hazard United Kingdom England, Rochester [Kent] Damage level Details

Biological Hazard in United Kingdom on Thursday, 20 December, 2012 at 11:36 (11:36 AM) UTC.

Description
A woman has died after injecting herself with heroin contaminated with anthrax. An inquest has been opened after Claire Skelton, 42, from Rochester, Kent, died at King’s College Hospital in London on December 9. The cause of death was given as anthrax and intravenous drug abuse. Her death is the third in Britain linked to an outbreak of anthrax among drug users believed to have used contaminated heroin. The Health Protection Agency said 13 cases of anthrax among people who inject drugs have been reported in several European countries since June. Six of the cases have occurred in the UK, including four in England, one in Scotland and one in Wales. Earlier this year, two drug users died in Blackpool after contracting the bacterial infection. The HPA said the source of the infection is presumed to be contaminated heroin. Anthrax is an acute bacterial infection that normally infects humans when they inhale or ingest anthrax spores.
Biohazard name: Heroin contaminated with antrax
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

Flu jabs are a ‘waste of taxpayers’ money’, claim scientists who say the benefits have been over-hyped

  • University of Minnesota report says benefits – especially for older people – have been over-promoted
  • New vaccine pipeline hindered as a result
  • But experts still recommend current vaccination ‘as it’s the best we have’

By Sophie Borland

The US researchers say ministers  in Britain as well as America are ‘wasting taxpayers’ money’ on the jab.

And they claim that because the benefits have been so ‘over-promoted’, scientists have been deterred from inventing vaccines that would be far more effective.

Flu jabs are a waste of taxpayer's money due to the protective effects of the vaccine being over-hyped, it has been claimedFlu jabs are a waste of taxpayer’s money due to the protective effects of the vaccine being over-hyped, it has been claimed
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But the Department of Health has insisted the flu jabs ‘save lives’ and urged the elderly and patients with long-term conditions to come forward for their vaccinations.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota looked at 12,000 studies on the effectiveness and safety of the flu jab, going back to the 1930s.

They say that although Government officials claim it protects between 70 and 90 per cent of the population, this is actually not the case.

In fact, they say, it protects just 59 per cent of adults aged 18 to 65, but is far less effective in the elderly.

Professor Michael Osterholm, who was involved in the study, said: ‘I have been a strong proponent of vaccination in general, and flu vaccine in particular, for many years. I still recommend its use as the best we have.

The report's author, Professor Michael Osterholm, said he still recommended the vaccine, but its benefits were over-reportedThe report’s author, Professor Michael Osterholm, said he still recommended the vaccine, but its benefits were over-reported

‘But we have over-promoted this vaccine. For certain age groups in some years its effectiveness has been severely limited relative to what has been previously reported.

‘That has had a very dampening effect on the development of new vaccines.’ And Douglas Fleming, of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Influenza Monitoring Unit in  Birmingham, said: ‘No vaccines are perfect. Last year’s flu vaccine was a bad match with the circulating strains. Its effectiveness varies from year to year and with different age groups.

‘Among the elderly it is widely recognised that its effectiveness decreases. Better vaccines are needed for this reason particularly. It has been over-hyped by many people.’

At present the flu jab is offered free to the over-65s, pregnant women and anyone with an underlying health condition such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.

The immunisation programme is  estimated to cost the taxpayer £115million a year.

The latest figures from the Health Protection Agency show that 61 per cent of the over-65s have been vaccinated this year, as well as 30 per cent of pregnant women and 37.5 per cent of those with long-term conditions.

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘There is no doubt that the flu programme saves lives.

‘Evidence on the effectiveness of the vaccine is reviewed by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation and this year the committee undertook a detailed review of the flu vaccine programme.

‘We strongly encourage scientists and the vaccine industry in their efforts to develop new and more effective flu vaccine and do not agree that these efforts are being discouraged.

‘Each year thousands of people die after catching flu and we urge everyone that is in an at-risk group to get the vaccine.’

Professor Osterholm added: ‘We support using flu vaccine in all age groups. Even among the over-65s, although it is of limited benefit, it is still a benefit.’