Infectious diseases investigation
There are a number of small outbreaks and individual cases of food and waterborne diseases within the borough each year which are reported by local doctors, the general hospital and the public. Each of these cases is investigated and where possible an attempt is made to try and identify the source of the infection.
This investigation is particularly important where the initial case results in the identification of a number of similar cases and that may result in sampling of various foodstuffs, water supplies etc.
The major concern is to identify the cause of any outbreak at a very early stage to ensure that it does not spread further and affect large numbers of people. The families and groups affected by disease are given advice and information on how to limit the spread of the disease amongst themselves and are advised on the necessity to be absent from work if they are likely to be infectious.
The rapid transfer of information in connection with infectious diseases is very important in limiting its spread and so the electronic transfer and comparison of data amongst local authorities and the medical professions is commonplace. This has resulted on the detection of outbreaks of food poisoning and other infections amongst British travellers which was caused in foreign hotels.
The other major source of infection is human contact with animals and so pet shops, farm animals and contacts with rodent are all targeted for attention and advice to the public.
Environmental Health Officers from the Public Health Department worked closely with Public Health Wales as part of the Outbreak Control Team (OCT) set up to investigate the outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis associated with a swimming pool in Merthyr Tydfil. The OCT report can be found by clicking on the link to the right of this page.
Advice leaflets are provided with regard to the main infections dealt with by this Department and related issues.