Tag Archives: Disease

Badger culling – Part four

11 Mar

This old chestnut has raised its head again. The Labour Party applied through the Freedom of Information Act to obtain advice that was given to the government by the group Natural England.

Natural England says that badger culling in the form that it’s going to take in the two pilots, could make the situation worse.

Previously, culling was done in a scientific manner -RBCT-Randomized Badger Culling Trial.  Large numbers of badgers were culled virtually simultaneously and this was sustained over a four-year period.  The way that the culling will be done in the new pilots may only disturb the badgers so that they move into other areas thus spreading disease and more cattle will be affected with TB.

Natural England concludes that even if the cull areas are expanded, it is unlikely that the existence of badgers will be in danger, but, they may eventually disappear from some areas.

 

 

Thank you to BBC.co.uk

Sniffles, snuffles and house mites

14 Nov

Yes, it’s the season of snuffles, sniffles and coughs and of course, the most important of all (to me anyway), man-flu!

But, did you know that your snuffles may not be due to a cold, but due to a little pest, the house mite – here are some fabulous house mite facts:-

Unwanted bedmates: dust mite facts

* House dust mites measure between 0.4mm in length and up to 0.02mm in width

* The average life cycle of a dust mite is up to 20 days for a male, and 70 for a female

* Dust mites are one of the most common triggers of asthma

* A female can lay 60 to 100 eggs in the five weeks her life

* Prevention includes washing bedding at 60C, steam-cleaning carpets and curtains and replacing pillows annually, and mattresses every 8 to 10 years

And now for your delectation is a picture…

Bet you are enjoying this one!

Now, to really turn your stomach – the bit that makes us all sneezy is inhaling their……..poo, yes indeed, their poo.  So, we could all be mistaking our man-flu for something a little more sinister and are failing to treat the underlying cause.

A spokesperson for Allergy UK, said: “The home was somewhere we escape to but for millions is has become the trigger of allergies. Now runny nose and sneezing are in fact the most common indicators of a house dust-mite allergy, so the nation is not treating the root of the problem, just the symptoms.”

So take another look at the delightful picture above and maybe your runny nose is not just due to a seasonal cold.

Weil’s Disease – should you be worried?

1 Sep

We are really excited this week to introduce our first guest blogger – welcome Jez from Adventure Safety Training.  He is talking about Leptospirosis or Weil’s disease which is it’s more common name.

Jez has worked for over 10 years in outdoor activities.  He is a keen kayaker and canoeist (which puts him in the higher risk of infection from Leptospirosis category).

More recently Jez started to teach First Aid and offers a wide range of first aid courses including HSE first aid at work courses and for those working in the outdoor environment.

Leptospirosis also goes by several other names including Weil’s disease. It is a bacterial infection that can infect people. It comes from animals usually rats and cattle, but not exclusively.

Leptospirosis is most common in tropical areas of the world. It is in the UK but much more rare. It tends to affect those that work in certain environments.  They tend to be farmers, sewage workers, abattoir workers and those in contact with fresh water a lot of the time (sailors or canoeists, particularly those with stagnant water).

The bacteria can get into your body through cuts scratches and exposed soft tissue (i.e. lining of mouth and eyes). It is easy to reduce the risk of infection, use protective clothing/gloves in suspected areas or when handling high risk carriers (i.e. rats). Wash cuts and grazes immediately and then cover with waterproof plasters. Always wash your hands before eating if you have been in a high risk area.

Globally, it is estimated that 10 million people will get leptospirosis every year. Rarely, leptospirosis occurs in temperate climates, such as the UK.  In 2009, there were 33 reported cases of leptospirosis in England and Wales, 14 of which were acquired abroad. Most cases either involved people who regularly worked with animals and/or water, such as farmers and sewer workers or people who took part in water-based activities, such as canoeing or sailing. It is very rare for someone from the UK die from it as most of the cases are of the mild form and caught early enough.  However, Andrew Jeremy (“Andy”) Holmes MBE was a British rower on 24th October 2010 he died from contracting the rare water-borne disease.

The symptoms usually occur from 3 days after infection up to 30 days. These do vary but include flu like symptoms, diarrhoea, cough, sore throat, muscle pain or conjunctivitis. If these symptoms are left to continue it is possible to move towards more serious Leptospirosis these symptoms vary depending upon which organs are being affected. It could move to the liver, kidneys and heart, the brain or the lungs.

If you do work in areas that could be affected (see list above) do tell you GP ASAP. The earlier it’s suspected the better the rate of recovery. It can only be diagnosed with blood and urine tests. By the time these are done it could have got more serious, so a GP may well start antibiotics early if you work in suspicious areas.

Prevention is better than cure!

Mr Fox and his not so friendly diseases

8 Aug

Hello again!

I thought I would continue the theme of talking about a different animal each week and about the current issues, particularly health issues, that are emerging.  I hope you are not eating your breakfast or lunch whilst reading this as some of what I am about to say is not very pretty.

‘Today’s Technician’ magazine published by the National Pest Technicians Association published a very interesting report last month about the diseases that foxes carry that may have lethal consequences for working dogs and in extreme cases, humans too.  Because of the explosion across Europe of the red fox population, a disease carried by foxes that is capable of killing hundreds of people a year may be brought to Britain.  Why?  It’s a direct result of the EU lifting restrictions on animal movements.

I really don’t want to sound like a scaremonger but at conference recently, Vic Simpson of the Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre in Truro outlined the threat posed by Alveolar echinococcosis (AE).  It’s caused by infection with a small tapeworm found in foxes and dogs.  They slowly multiply, typically growing for 10 – 15 years before diagnosis.  By this time, the liver is so badly and extensively damaged that more than 90% of patients die.  I must stress at this point, that this is very very rare in humans, but it can be transmitted to humans through water contamination and food ingestion OR by handling dogs or foxes that have picked up eggs in their fur.

The current situation in the UK is that so far, no disease has been reported and any dogs taken to Europe must be treated with a wormer 48 hours prior to their return.  The EU is pressing the UK from imposing any controls on animal movement and worming requirement Derogation expires in December 2011 which means, anyone coming into the UK from the EU can bring their dog, cat, etc…into the country untreated.

As with any parasite, once it is here, it is here forever.  Clearly, we will not be seeing any cases for at least 15 years but the question is, should we have a fox disease surveillance programme in place now in readiness, particularly with the rapid expansion of the fox population.  This is a question that only the government perhaps can answer.

 

 

With thanks to Today’s Technician (July addition) and Vic Simpson of the Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre in Truro.

Weil’s Disease – should you be worried?

1 Aug

We are really excited this week to introduce our first guest blogger – welcome Jez from Adventure Safety Training.  He is talking about Leptospirosis or Weil’s disease which is it’s more common name.

Jez has worked for over 10 years in outdoor activities.  He is a keen kayaker and canoeist (which puts him in the higher risk of infection from Leptospirosis category).

More recently Jez started to teach First Aid and offers a wide range of first aid courses including HSE first aid at work courses and for those working in the outdoor environment.

Leptospirosis also goes by several other names including Weil’s disease. It is a bacterial infection that can infect people. It comes from animals usually rats and cattle, but not exclusively.

Leptospirosis is most common in tropical areas of the world. It is in the UK but much more rare. It tends to affect those that work in certain environments.  They tend to be farmers, sewage workers, abattoir workers and those in contact with fresh water a lot of the time (sailors or canoeists, particularly those with stagnant water).

The bacteria can get into your body through cuts scratches and exposed soft tissue (i.e. lining of mouth and eyes). It is easy to reduce the risk of infection, use protective clothing/gloves in suspected areas or when handling high risk carriers (i.e. rats). Wash cuts and grazes immediately and then cover with waterproof plasters. Always wash your hands before eating if you have been in a high risk area.

Globally, it is estimated that 10 million people will get leptospirosis every year. Rarely, leptospirosis occurs in temperate climates, such as the UK.  In 2009, there were 33 reported cases of leptospirosis in England and Wales, 14 of which were acquired abroad. Most cases either involved people who regularly worked with animals and/or water, such as farmers and sewer workers or people who took part in water-based activities, such as canoeing or sailing. It is very rare for someone from the UK die from it as most of the cases are of the mild form and caught early enough.  However, Andrew Jeremy (“Andy”) Holmes MBE was a British rower on 24th October 2010 he died from contracting the rare water-borne disease.

The symptoms usually occur from 3 days after infection up to 30 days. These do vary but include flu like symptoms, diarrhoea, cough, sore throat, muscle pain or conjunctivitis. If these symptoms are left to continue it is possible to move towards more serious Leptospirosis these symptoms vary depending upon which organs are being affected. It could move to the liver, kidneys and heart, the brain or the lungs.

If you do work in areas that could be affected (see list above) do tell you GP ASAP. The earlier it’s suspected the better the rate of recovery. It can only be diagnosed with blood and urine tests. By the time these are done it could have got more serious, so a GP may well start antibiotics early if you work in suspicious areas.

Prevention is better than cure!