Wednesday, December 17, 2014


A long time has passed since the last post, longer than ought to happen on a blog, but here goes...

Translators without Borders has funding to extend a project to produce Ebola information in local languages, to more west African languages.  Thanks to the excellent HIFA2015 list for this information.

Avian influenza in the Netherlands - De Volkskrant reported yesterday cases in Niedersachsen, Germany, which borders the Netherlands.  It is H5N8.   The Dutch government is maintaining its English language page, which seems not to have any new cases in the country, but which has added information about adjusted government measures.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Avian influenza (Vogelgriep)

Just discovered this official Dutch government site, in (of course) Dutch, which has a complete record of the affected sites in the Netherlands,  (go to Overzicht or Inhoud, then Locaties vogelgriep), as well as news and links to official publications.  As well as sites where the virus has been found, it also lists places that have been investigated but nothing found, so not every place listed has had the virus.

I can find nothing new about avian influenza in the UK.  The UK government site about the discovery of the virus in Yorkshire was updated today (3rd December) but that seems to be relating to rules about transport of eggs.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Could I get Ebola?

I had already seen this Top 10 things you really need to know about Ebola from the CDC in the United States.  I was in two minds whether to blog about it, as some of the points it makes apply to the USA.  But, of course, the basic medical science applies everywhere.   And also, of course, you the reader might well be in the USA!

I mention it now because last night the BBC broadcast a television programme called "Could I get Ebola?", looking at how likely it is to spread to and  in the UK.  That programme has a similar approach to the CDC poster.  There are links from this iPlayer site to further resources from the BBC and elsewhere.  The programme presenter, Dr Chris van Tulleken, works at one of the hospitals that will receive Ebola cases and has been trained in the management of Ebola.

The basic conclusion of both is that, if you are in the UK or USA, the chances of catching Ebola are very very small and it is very very unlikely that you will catch it.  

The BBC have a regular News about Ebola slot - in addition to World Service radio programme, this also includes downloadable podcasts.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Avian influenza in the Netherlands - new case in Zouterwoude

I get daily emails from Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.  So De Volkskrant is the first place that I saw reports of another outbreak of avian influenza in the Netherlands.  The outbreak is in Zoeterwoude (South Holland, south of Leiden),   Exactly which strain of the virus it is is not yet known, with results expected tomorrow (Monday).

Read the article (in Dutch).

The article mentions (if my Dutch is ok!) that this is the fifth case, with five businesses affected, but names only four places  - Hekendorp, Ter Aar, Kamperveen and now Zouterwoude.  The NOS says that there were two businesses affected in Kamperveen, which makes everything add up.

There are English language reports of the Zouterwoude outbreak:  the Guardian and the Dutch government - in English here.  And the Avian Flu Diary blog also has a piece.

Added 2nd December - De Volkskrant reports that the strain found in Zouterwoede is H5N8 (introductory paragraph), something confirmed in the English language news site of the Dutch government.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Not meeting Campylobacter

Much recently in the press about campylobacter in supermarket chicken, for example, here.  That article seems to talk about just supermarket chicken, whereas this one, refers to Food Standards Agency research from a few years ago, research which looked at supermarkets and butchers.  It seems from a quick reading of that second article that there are certain points in the process which make the problem worse.   Campylobacter is present in the chicken anyway.

If that's the case, how can we reduce the risk when cooking?

Food Safety Week 2014 had advice on preparing chicken -;

and this leaflet about treating infection lists the FSA's 4Cs designed to reduce the risk of food poisoning -  Cleanliness, cooking, chilling and cross-contamination, but read the whole thing to find out exactly what!

Ebola update - two being tested in the UK

The Guardian is reporting in not a lot of detail that two children are being tested in Newcastle upon Tyne for Ebola and malaria, as a precautionary measure.  They have arrived from Africa but it is not clear where, and Public Health England are of the opinion that Ebola is very unlikely.

The Guardian is also reporting that trials of a vaccine look promising, according to the manufacturer.

Here might be a good time and place to mention the BMJ's news piece from a few weeks ago reminding NHS staff to be on the lookout for Ebola.  The news item refers to a BMJ letter from Bruce Keogh.  Access to the BMJ's content about Ebola is currently free.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Avian influenza and Ebola update

Avian influenza has been found at a second and third location in the Netherlands:

The second is in Ter Aar - Guardian
The third is in Kamperveen, confirmed as H5N8 - De Volkskrant (in Dutch)

De Volkskrant is also reporting a new case of Ebola in Mali, and has a graphic showing the present situation.  The captions are of course in Dutch, and English language alternatives for current statistics are CDC and WHO.  The CDC site has a graphic on the right.

Friday, November 21, 2014

More resources about Ebola

The BMJ has made all its Ebola resources available free of charge, and these include guidance for healthcare workers, a clinical guide, a video guide, patient information, and all BMJ articles relating to the virus.

And via an article in International Nursing Review, I discovered the Madrid Declaration, arising from an international summit on "Nursing and the Ebola Virus".  The Declaration calls for particular action from governments, and agrees a course of action for the profession.  Those present at the meeting included the International Council of Nursing, several Spanish organisations, expert nurses in the care of Ebola patients, and Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More about avian influenza

The UK government has updated its advice (adding an interactive map so you can see if you are in a restriction zone - the information at the end of the page will tell you what has changed).

There is also an official news item about the incident (with a link at the end to the DEFRA announcement).

Most newspapers and news sources look to be covering the story today, but these look worth mentioning:

British Veterinary Association and British Veterinary Poultry Association
National Farmers' Union

NHS Choices has information about avian flu (although nothing has been added yet in the light of the incident in East Yorkshire).

Note added at 1842 - the BBC is reporting that the strain found on the farm in Nafferton, East Yorkshire is H5N8, the same one found in other outbreaks in Europe.

In addition to ProMedMail and HealthMap (see yesterday's post), for news, try CIDRAP.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Avian influenza in East Yorkshire

I imagine this post will get a lot of editing!   I will put new information (added since I first posted) in bold.   Last updated at 1822 on 17th November 2014.

According to the BBC, a duck farm in East Yorkshire has had a confirmed case of bird flu.  At the time of writing, the BBC are reporting that it is not H5N1, but not what it is.  BBC World News this morning (Monday, as shown on BBC2) was reporting that there is a current outbreak in Hekendorp in the Netherlands.

The government has updated its avian influenza advice today (17th November).

This next paragraph is dependent on my Dutch being good, but Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant is reporting that H5N8 is the type involved in the Hekendorp outbreak, dangerous to people if they are in prolonged contact with infected animals.  De Volkskrant is not confirming which type has been found in Yorkshire (see .  NOS is also reporting that the Dutch outbreak is H5N8.  The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs have a news release (entirely reasonably in Dutch) with links to further official documents.

DEFRA is reporting this strain in turkeys in Germany.  So is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, with some discussion of how it arrived there, and a current outbreak in the Republic of Korea.

ProMedMail is reporting the Dutch outbreak but not yet the Yorkshire one.

HealthMap is reporting both.   Click the arrow next to the number of outbreaks for all diseases and you can choose Avian Influenza (you can also choose a specific type).

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ebola resources

I am planning to resurrect this blog, and here is the first post for some years!

The September 2014 issue of the Health Libraries Group Newsletter contains a list of internet resources concerning the Ebola virus.  You can see the column here.

I have checked the links for the December issue (in preparation), making any changes, and added some new sites including some in French.

I will update this post when the next issue is published.