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During 2007 there were 31 incidents managed by the Health Protection Team. This compares with 30 in 2006, 14 in 2005 and 22 in 2004. Most of these were managed in collaboration with multi-agency partners using problem assessment groups.

Summary of incidents

  • Tuberculosis (TB) 7 incidents
  • Salmonella 4 incidents
  • Crytposporidiuim 4 incidents
  • Legionella 1 incident
  • Environmental 2 incidents
  • Shigella 1 incident
  • Norovirus on cruise ship 1 incident
  • Other 11 incidents

Seafield sewage leak

In April 2007, Public Health contributed to the multiagency response to the Seafield leak of sewage into the Firth of Forth. Public Health aspects of the response included provision of hygiene advice to the public and surveillance. No illness associated with the sewage leak was detected.

Ozone leak at a swiming pool

At approximately 6.45am on Tuesday 5 June 2007, the swimming pool at a sports centre was evacuated due to the release of ozone. Ozone is used as part of swimming pool water treatment processes for disinfection purposes but exposure to excess levels may cause skin or eye irritation. Ozone is a colourless gas with a characteristic odour and the small amount that had been released came from a fault in the water treatment plant room.

Seven of the 28 people who were in the pool area at the time of the incident reported symptoms thought to be associated with exposure to ozone but none required admission to hospital and all recovered a short time after the exposure. The investigation was led by the NHS Lothian Health Protection Team, working together with colleagues from the local council, the Health and Safety Executive and Health Protection Scotland. A thorough investigation was carried out into the cause of the problem. Following comprehensive tests, the pool was able to re-open to the public on Thursday after a two day closure.

Eastern equine encephalitis

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is an extremely rare disease. The first European case of the disease was diagnosed in a Lothian resident who had recently returned from the USA. Although the virus is not found in the UK and is not transmitted from person to person (it can only be caught through bites from infected insects) the report of this case caused considerable public and media interest and information and advice was given by NHS Lothians Public Health Directorate.

Tuberculosis (TB)

TB is on the increase. The previous article provides details around the increasing trend and incidence rate for TB in Lothian. During 2007, Health Protection-led problem assessment groups met to manage the public health and infection control implications of specific cases. These included:

  • Two incidents involving a care home in Edinburgh and one in a long stay hospital ward. In one incident, 22 close contacts were identified among staff and other residents. No new cases were identified on screening; and
  • Follow-up of a contact of a north American XDRTB case who had travelled on flights within Europe. 4.3 incidents in 2007 key points
  • Maintaining an effective Health Protection system is crucial to the health of Lothian people.
  • For this to be sustainable it needs to be able to deal with on average two incidents a month.

Key points

  • Maintaining an effective Health Protection system is crucial to the health of Lothian people.
  • For this to be sustainable it needs to be able to deal with on average two incidents a month.