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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-report-volume-10-2016/hpr-volume-10-issue-30-news-9-september
1. Outbreak of drug-resistant gonorrhoea in England: an update
The outbreak of HL-AziR gonorrhoea in England reported in HPR in April persists. According to an update on the situation published in this issue , the outbreak – initally reported in Leeds – has spread to the West Midlands and south of England, including London. Initial cases were among heterosexuals but more recent evidence suggests HL-AziR infections are now spreading among men who have sex with men.
There have been 17 cases of HL-AziR gonorrhoea reported to date in 2016 compared to 15 cases for the same time period in 2015. Between November 2014 and August 2016 there have been a total of 48 confirmed and two probable cases.
The potential for rapid spread of HL-AziR N. gonorrhoeae among high risk sexual networks including MSM is of particular concern. Few antimicrobials remain effective in the treatment of gonorrhoea, which can develop resistance rapidly. Therefore dual therapy is recommended because simultaneous development of resistance to both drug classes is unlikely, and first-line treatment will remain effective. Nevertheless, the first documented case in the world of gonorrhoea treatment failure to both ceftriaxone and azithromycin was reported in the UK in July this year .
- PHE website. High level azithromycin resistant gonorrhoea in England: an update. HPR 10(30): infection report.
2. Travel advice for Hajj pilgrims
The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) has published updated guidance for UK-based Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, for the upcoming Hajj season in September 2016, taking account of health-related requirements and recommendations published by the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (MOH-KSA) [1,2].
As last year, in view of international outbreaks of disease, including MERS-CoV – cases of which occur throughout the year in KSA – the advice includes the recommendation that vulnerable groups (those over 65 years of age, those with chronic diseases – such as heart, kidney/respiratory disease, diabetes and immune deficiency – and pregnant women and children) should postpone their pilgrimage for their own safety.
- National Travel Health Network and Centre (7 September 2015). Hajj pilgrims urged to be aware of MERS advice.
- WHO (1 July 2016). Health conditions for travellers to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj), 2016.
3. Fourth PHE annual conference being held at Warwick University
PHE scientists and other public health experts from a range of disciplines will present papers at the agency’s fourth annual conference being held at Warwick University on 13 and 14 September.
More than 100 presentations and 270 e-posters will be presented through the course of the two-day event, the first full day of which begins with PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie’s customary welcome address, followed by a keynote presentation by Nicola Blackwood MP, parliamentary under secretary of state for public health and innovation. The first day will close with a lecture from Sir David King, the Foreign Secretary’s special representative for climate change.
Seven health protection sessions extend through the Tuesday programme into the morning of Wednesday. In chronological order, these are:
- Tackling antimicrobial resistance: a national perspective (Tuesday 10:30 - 11:30, Studio Theatre)
- Environmental hazards: protecting and improving health (Tuesday 12:00 - 12:30, Studio Theatre)
- Developing TB diagnostics, screening and surveillance for application in practice (Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Social Sciences building)
- Sexual health, reproductive health and HIV: a warning light on the health dashboard (Tuesday 14:30 - 15:30, Studio Theatre)
- Innovation and best practice in outbreak investigation (Tuesday 15:40 - 16:40, Studio Theatre)
- Surveillance: information in action (Wednesday 09:45 - 10:45, Social Sciences building)
- Meningococcal disease: controlling local and national outbreaks through vaccination (Wednesday 11:15 - 12:15, Social Sciences building).
Full details of speakers, and many abstracts, are available via the detailed programme pages at http://www.phe-conference.org.uk.
4. Winning the end-game against tobacco
The epidemiology and public health section of the Royal Society of Medicine is hosting a one-day conference on Friday 16 September, 2016, exploring strategies that will enable the countries of the United Kingdom to become tobacco-free. It will consider the opportunities arising from legislation, health education and treatments supporting smoking cessation, and the contribution of advocacy .
Special rates are available for PHE and NICE employees.
- Winning the end-game against tobacco, London, 16 September, 2016.