- Investigation of notifiable infectious diseases.
- Tracing of contacts.
- Exclusion of food handlers from work and children from school.
- Offering advice and any necessary follow-up procedures.
There are a number of diseases, which must be notified to the Environmental Agency when diagnosed by a doctor for example:
- Dysentery Typhoid and other food poisonings
- Cerebro-spinal Meningitis
- Chicken Pox
- Epidemic Parotitis (Mumps)
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Tuberculosis (for epidemiological purposes)
Some of these diseases, for example food poisonings, may require investigation by the Environmental Health Officer. The patient is contacted and interviewed to establish the origin of the infection and to limit its spread. It may be necessary, especially in the case of food handlers to exclude them from work until certified to be no longer infectious so as to diminish the risk of a food borne disease being transmitted to others. For similar reasons, children too young to be conscious of personal hygiene may be excluded from school/nursery whilst they are infectious.
On rare occasions when certain serious infectious diseases are diagnosed it may be necessary to disinfect a premises or its content to prevent the spread of the disease. Our trained operatives are able to safely use fumigants for this purpose if necessary in extreme situations. Items like bedding and clothing are taken to the steam disinfector operated by the Agency. This is most effective in eliminating pests and infectious material as the steam under pressure can penetrate and kill the microorganisms that may be present.
The Agency has been very involved in the response to the pandemic in many ways. As part of the Government’s coordinating group and the Infection Control Committee, we have been active in providing advice and expertise in various areas. In the early stages we were carrying out disinfection of numerous public areas in government housing estates, children’s parks, exercise areas etc as well as inspecting all the catering establishments that were wishing to open at this time. There were numerous new public health conditions that they had to comply with and this was checked by night patrols to ensure they were adhering to this.