Psittacosis – health advice to bird owners

Public Health England (PHE) is working with South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol City Council to investigate a confirmed case of psittacosis in an individual from Bristol.

Psittacosis is primarily an infection of birds, but can cause pneumonia and other severe health problems in humans. Human infection is usually due to exposure to infected pet birds, such as cockatiels, budgies, other members of the parrot family and pigeons.

Bristol City Council has been in touch with residents living close to the individual who kept the birds, to inform them of the situation and any necessary action to be taken.

The birds kept by the individual have been sold on from a local pet business in South Gloucestershire. There is no evidence that the business is the original source of the infection and the owner is supporting Public Health England and partners with actions to protect public health.

PHE are using this as an opportunity to make the new owners aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease in the birds and themselves.

Sick birds may show signs of sleepiness, shivering, weight loss, breathing difficulties and diarrhoea. Not all birds that are infected will show these signs. Birds can also have a latent infection where they appear healthy and do not show any initial symptoms but they can show symptoms later.

As a precaution, people with concerns relating to birds they have recently purchased (between 28 May and 3 June) are advised to contact their vet to discuss what next steps to take with regards to their bird’s health.

Mike Wade, Deputy Director of Health Protection for Public Health England South West said:

“Members of the public who may have come into contact with birds need to be assured that severe illness as a result of infection from this bacteria is rare.

“However, it is important that those individuals are aware of signs and symptoms and discuss any concerns they may have with their GP.”

In humans, the signs and symptoms of psittacosis appear within four to 30 days after exposure but commonly occur after 10 days.

Symptoms include, fever, chills, cough, weakness or fatigue, muscle and chest, pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, headaches, sweating and abnormal intolerance to light.

For more information about psittacosis, please visit https://www.gov.uk/psittacosis

Be Clear on Cancer oesophago-gastric cancer roadshow to visit Bristol next week

Event aims to raise awareness that heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer

A Be Clear on Cancer roadshow is set to visit Bristol next week to raise awareness of the symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers. In particular, the roadshow aims to increase understanding that heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer and anyone who notices the symptoms should see their doctor.

The most recent data reveals that in Bristol, 88 people are diagnosed with oesophageal or stomach cancer (also known as oesophago-gastric cancers) each year, and approximately 64 people die from these diseases annually.

A new survey commissioned by Public Health England has found that nationally only 1 in 2 people (55%) would visit their doctor if they had heartburn most days for three weeks or more.

According to the survey, 59% of respondents did not know that heartburn could be a sign of cancer with just 15% saying they were certain that it is a symptom.

Another symptom highlighted by the roadshow is that of difficulty swallowing food. Here the survey found that 70% did not know food sticking in the throat could be a sign of cancer and just 13% of those surveyed said they were sure it is a symptom.

Early diagnosis is crucial: around 67% of people diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers at the earliest stage survive for at least five years. This figure drops to around 3% for those diagnosed at a late stage.

The Be Clear on Cancer roadshow has been visiting shopping centres across England since 28 January and will be in Bristol on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 February at the Broadwalk Shopping Centre in Knowle.

At the event, leaflets will be distributed that provide information on oesophago-gastric cancers and a nurse will also be on hand to talk to anyone who has any questions.

Dr Shona Arora, Centre Director for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Public Health England Centre said:

“People may be reluctant to visit their doctor about persistent heartburn, thinking that it’s something they just have to live with, but heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of cancer.

“The Be Clear on Cancer roadshow in Bristol is a great way for individuals from the local area to find out more about the signs and symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancers. The earlier these cancers are diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival.“

For further information about the signs and symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers, click here.

 

PRESS RELEASE from Public Health England

Change4Life Sugar Swaps roadshow to visit Bristol this weekend 

Event aims to highlight simple sugar swaps parents can make to their family’s diet

The Change4Life roadshow is set to visit Cabot Circus this weekend on Sunday 1 February to raise awareness of the high levels of sugar families consume every day, and to offer parents practical advice on how to cut down on sugar consumption by making one or more simple swaps.

While guidelines state that no more than 10% of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar[i], at present, children aged 4-10 years are consuming up to 50% more than this[ii].

Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers or type 2 diabetes later in life.

Recently published data highlights that approximately one in five children aged 4-5 years old and one in three children aged 10-11 years old is overweight or obese[iii].

Sugar can also have a devastating impact upon dental health, an integral part of overall health. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions for children aged five to nine in 2012-13. 28% of 5 year olds in England have tooth decay and of these, 24% have five or more teeth affected[iv].

Furthermore, a new survey amongst Netmums users found that nearly half (47%) of mums surveyed think their family has too much sugar in their diets[v] and two thirds of mums (67%) are worried about the amount of sugar their children consume.5

Mark Patterson, Health and Wellbeing Programme Leader for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Public Health England Centre said:

“Reducing sugar intake is important for the health of our children both now and in the future. We are all eating too much sugar and the impact this has on our health is evident.

“This campaign is about taking small steps to address this. We know from past campaigns that making simple swaps works and makes a real difference. This year we wanted to be even more single minded in our approach, which is why we are focusing on sugar alone.

“The family challenge highlights that simple swaps could lead to big changes if sustained over time and we’d urge parents in Bristol to come along to the Sugar Swaps roadshow this weekend, learn more about Sugar Swaps and sign up for their free pack full of swap suggestions.”

The Change4Life Sugar Swaps roadshow will consist of a number of interactive, fun and informative activities to teach families about the swaps; including:

  • Kitchen zone: A fun zone for all the family which reveals the surprising amount of sugar in food and drinks that kids have at different times of the day, such as at breakfast and after school.
  • The Funny Face photo board: A place where visitors can be photographed in funny poses and encouraged to put their photos across social media.
  • Sign Up Zone: An area where families can register for their FREE Sugar Swaps packs. The packs are filled with hints, tips and recipe suggestions, plus money-off vouchers, swap cards and stickers.

Change4Life recommends four simple Sugar Swaps to choose from, tackling different ‘sugar occasions’ in the day:

  • The Breakfast Swap: sugary cereal for plain cereal e.g. wholewheat biscuit cereal
  • The Drink Swap: e.g. from sugary drinks to sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks
  • The After School Swap: for example from muffins to fruited teacake
  • The Pudding Swap: for example from ice cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt.

References

[i]Department of Health (1991). Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom Report of the Panel on Dietary Reference Values of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. London. HMSO.

[ii] Department of Health (1991). Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom Report of the Panel on Dietary Reference Values of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. London. HMSO.

[iii] National Child Measurement Programme 2014 http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB16070/nati-chil-meas-prog-eng-2013-2014-rep.pdf

[iv] National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England: oral health survey of five year old children 2012.

[v] Online survey conducted with 687 parents of children aged 5-11 & 1720 parents of children of all ages, October 2104 netmums.com