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Emerging infections

New pathogens (including antimicrobial resistant strains) are continually emerging. As soon as we get one under control another emerges

Did you know?

Prior to the 1980s organisms such as Campylobacter, E. coli O157, legionella and norovirus were  largely unheard of

Emerging infections in recent years include new agents/strains:

  • SARS, Influenza H1N1, avian flu
  • E.coli O104
  • Ebola

In response to the threat of emerging pandemic strains such as influenza, hygiene is now seen as an important first line of defence to contain the disease before vaccines or treatments become available

We live in an increasingly crowded and mobile world where new infectious agents and antibiotic resistant strains spread easily and quickly

ID risk in the community is increasing

  • The proportion of “at risk” people with reduced immunity to infection, is currently estimated at around 20% in the European community and US, and is likely to increase.
  • It includes many who are otherwise considered healthy –  the elderly (over 65), the very young, pregnant mothers etc.
  • It also includes those with underlying disease: e.g. HIV/AIDS, diabetes
  • Hygiene needs do not differ significantly from those which apply to healthy people; it is just that the risks of infection from poor hygiene  are greater for “at risk” groups

At risk groups

In the UK, at risk groups living at home and in the community includes the 300,000+  diagnosed annually with cancer and  91,000+  living with HIV .

But it is the elderly that make up the largest numbers of the “at higher risk” population