In recent years there has been a decline in the average concentrations of fine particulates and nitrogen dioxide. In most parts of The Netherlands these are now below their respective limit values. Nevertheless, at some sites, these values for both types of pollutant are persistently exceeded in a limited number of cases. These findings were reported in the yearly monitoring report of the National Air Quality Collaboration Programme (NSL). This cooperation programme provides a platform where government bodies combine forces to improve air quality.
Some European cities have developed effective policies to adapt to more frequent wet and dry periods forecast for the years ahead, as a result of climate change. In an attempt to alleviate these effects, they are laying out parks, establishing green belt areas, and encouraging urban agriculture schemes. These measures will have the added benefits of promoting biodiversity and of enhancing the quality of residential life in these cities.
Safety of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) cannot be confirmed because of the limited amount of published research in this area. This view was expressed by the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in a fact sheet about e-cigarettes. The National Institute is concerned about the safety, quality, sales, and endorsement of e-cigarettes.
In 2011, 19.6 billion euros was spent on the treatment of mental disorders. This amounted to 22% of the total expenditure on health and welfare during that year. With an expenditure of 8.3 million euros, cardiovascular diseases took second place. These figures were taken from the latest Cost of Illness in the Netherlands study (www.costofillness.nl), which was published by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) today.
Leading organisations have joined forces to launch a unique project that will pave the way for a pan-European framework for rapidly assessing and communicating the benefits and risks of vaccines. Such a framework would make it easier for regulators and public health authorities to make fast, more informed decisions regarding vaccination strategies, and help to maintain public confidence in immunisation, particularly when questions are raised about the safety of specific vaccines.
RIVM and Nictiz have made an overview of the risks that eHealth applications may entail and how these risks can be controlled. Online therapy, remote care, telemedicine: many healthcare institutions are integrating eHealth. More awareness is needed about the risks of e-Health technology.
Bacteria that are resistant to almost all antibiotics continue to spread across Europe. This was revealed by new figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Antibiotic resistance is, therefore, a threat to public health. In the Netherlands, both the human and veterinary health services are making every effort to combat antibiotic resistance through for example the responsible use of antibiotics.
RIVM 'Young Researchers' present their PhD research in 4 short films which were made especially to highlight and explain their scientific research. Worthy of our attention for our knowledge of health increases through research. Whooping cough, avian influenza, antibiotic resistance and nanomaterials are the topics of these short films.
The Knowledge Centre on Healthy Urban Living starts on 12 November 2013. This Dutch centre delivers integrated knowledge that will enable people to live long, healthy, and independent lives in clean, sustainable, and prosperous cities.
Last weekend, a 17-year-old girl from the province of Zeeland (The Netherlands) has died of complications after a measles infection. She was not vaccinated against the disease. Since May, cases of measles are being reported in The Netherlands, especially among the unvaccinated population. The last measles outbreak was in 1999/2000. More than 3,000 patients have been reported in that period, three patients died.
The number of chronically ill people in the Netherlands has been increasing. RIVM has investigated the impact of this increase on social participation in terms of work, education, voluntary work and informal care.
Each year, on October 15th, hundreds of millions of people from over 100 countries join together in a global effort to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap to prevent diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia.
Community-dwelling Dutch adults over the age of 70 consume more unhealthy saturated fatty acids and more salt than recommended, and less wholemeal products, fruit and fish than recommended. This group is therefore advised to comply with the same recommendations for diet improvement as the general Dutch population. One in five older adults has serious overweight. A healthy diet and sufficient physical exercise are important for all ages to prevent chronic diseases and disabilities. One in four Dutch adults over the age of 70 complies with the recommendation to take vitamin D supplements.
Online therapy, remote care, telemedicine: eHealth is an integral part of modern living. eHealth is not only about technology. It also deals with connectivity, participation, and innovation in Health Care. Above all, it is a route to enhanced quality of Health Care and patient safety. Good education and training are crucial if progress is to be made in implementing eHealth. After all, today’s students are tomorrow's health care professionals. The University of Twente and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) jointly developed the first academic textbook on eHealth in The Netherlands. It will launch in The Hague October 15th. The first copy of Improving eHealth will be presented to Rien Meijerink MA, Chairman of the Council for Public Health and Health Care (RVZ).
Routine screening for anorectal chlamydia among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) could avert further spread of chlamydia and HIV in the total MSM population. Since costs of non-routine screening exceeds the cost of routine screening at the HIV treatment centre, the screening programme would more than offset the costs of routine screening over a twenty-year period.
Local and provincial authorities, drinking water supply companies and water resource managers authority are making progress with the assessment of the current and future risks for the quality of extracted water in drinking water protection files. However, there is a risk that different acts, such as the Drinking Water Act and the Soil Protection Act, might prescribe contradictory measures in some cases. This is one of the conclusions of an evaluation by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
Last year, a man was treated at the Amsterdam Academic Medical Centre (AMC) after being bitten by a tick and becoming infected with a strain of the Borrelia bacterium not previously encountered in the Dutch patient population. The case report detailing the man's treatment was published in the medical journal The Lancet on August 17th. A study by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has since established that the bacterium in question is present in 4 per cent of Dutch ticks.
Until 2003, Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), an aggressive form of chlamydia, was considered to be a rare tropical disease, endemic to Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Then, an outbreak of LGV in the Netherlands signaled the start of an epidemic amongst men who have sex with men (MSM). A decade later, a new study suggests that regional differences in testing rates underestimate the actual incidence of LGV across the country.
Researchers searching for signs of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in different livestock animals have found antibodies specific to the new virus in dromedary camels. This suggests that these animals have encountered MERS-CoV, or a closely related virus, and may be one reservoir of the virus that is causing MERS in humans. The results of this study, led by RIVM-researchers, are published today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Annemiek van Bolhuis, MBA, has been appointed Director of Public Health and Health Services at RIVM. She takes up this post on October 1st and succeeds Moniek Pieters, PhD, MSc, who will start her new job as Director of Public Health at GGD South Gelderland in October.
Xu Ke, Vice Minister National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China, visited RIVM at its premises at Bilthoven on July 15th 2013.
Prof Jaap van Dissel is appointed as Director of the RIVM Centre for Infectious Disease Control. He takes up the post on 15 August and succeeds Prof. Roel Coutinho, who reached retirement age in April.
Some areas of the Netherlands where families for religious reasons chose not to get their babies vaccinated are now reporting cases of measles, and it is expected that the number of cases will increase. The Minister of Health announced today that children who have an increased risk of becoming infected with measles are being offered an extra vaccination. The Dutch population is, in general, well protected against measles thanks both to childhood vaccinations and immunity induced by the disease itself.
In the Netherlands, there are 80 municipalities with a low vaccination coverage for one or more vaccinations. This is a decrease compared to last year when there were still 90 municipalities. The average percentage of children who are vaccinated in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) remains high. These results are stated in a recently published report by the RIVM: Immunisation coverage National Immunisation Programme in the Netherlands. Reporting year 2013. Included in the report is vaccination data on babies born in 2010, young children born in 2007, schoolchildren born in 2002 and adolescent girls born in 1998.
In 2012, the number of new consultations at Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) clinics in the Netherlands increased by 7% over the previous year. Meanwhile, general practices report a 14% increase in the number of STI diagnoses in the period 2010 to 2011. The percentage of people testing positive for STIs increased largely due to more cases of chlamydia in young heterosexuals, and more cases of gonorrhea in MSM. The number of new HIV infections within the group known as men who have sex with men (MSM) decreased in 2012, but remained stable amongst heterosexuals.
The level of immunity to the recently circulating H7N9 influenza virus in an urban and rural population in Vietnam is very low, according to the first population level study to examine human immunity to the virus. The findings have implications for planning the public health response to this pandemic threat.