According to the RIVM report ‘Tuberculosis in the Netherlands 2014’, a total of 823 people were diagnosed with TB last year. That is 21 fewer patients than in 2013. For 2015, no increase in this number of patients is expected, on the basis of continued monitoring of the TB situation in the Netherlands, despite a greater influx of migrants.
The application of nanotechnology to design and produce medical devices is increasing. RIVM provides an overview of nanotechnology enabled medical devices. Examples include implants equipped with nanocoatings, materials mimicking natural tissue, devices employing the electric and magnetic properties of nanomaterials and applications in oncology for detection and treatment of cancer.
Almost one third (30%) of all deaths from foodborne diseases are in children under the age of five years, despite the fact that they make up only 9% of the global population. This is among the findings of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Estimates of the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases—the most comprehensive report to date on the impact of contaminated food on health and wellbeing. These estimates are the result of a decade of work and input from more than 100 experts from around the world, including the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
There seem to be sufficient alternatives available for the majority of disinfectants and preservatives containing the carcinogenic substance formaldehyde. However, the suitability of these alternatives needs to be reviewed per sector and application. This was the conclusion of an initial inventory conducted by RIVM.
The Dutch Society for Radiation Protection (NVS) has awarded its Joh Aten Grant 2015 to Teun van Dillen of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) for his work on the SUDOQU methodology. This methodology can be used for calculating the radiation dose from exposure to ionising radiation from surface-contaminated objects used by workers and/or members of the public. The NVS also submitted Teun van Dillen’s name for the Young Professional Award granted by the International Radiological Protection Association (IRPA). This prize will be awarded in 2016 during the international conference of radiation experts in Cape Town.
The most recent measles epidemic and outbreak of Salmonella Thomson due to smoked salmon have cost 3.9 and 1.7 million euros, respectively. This is concluded in the RIVM report on the State of Infectious Diseases in the Netherlands 2014. The calculations were made to provide insight into the costs of infectious disease control, treatment and prevention.
Every year, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM provides an overview of surveillance and developments in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP). In 2014, the number of doses against the human papillomavirus (HPV) has been reduced from 3 to 2. The number of invasive pneumococcal diseases in vaccinated children has been further reduced as a result of the introduction of a new vaccine in 2011. Another development was the reduction of the number of invasive pneumococcal disease in adults, probably due to indirect protection.
Wednesday, 18 November is European Antibiotic Awareness Day. On this day, attention throughout Europe is requested for the responsible use of antibiotics in people and animals. As a result of inappropriate and overuse use of antibiotics, increasingly more bacteria are becoming resistance to antibiotics.
On 26 October 2015, heel prick screening started for all newborns on St Eustatius and Saba. The screening is being coordinated by the Department of Public Health on St Eustatius in cooperation with the Queen Beatrix Medical Center, and the Department of on Saba, in cooperation with the Saba Health Care Foundation.
In cases of extreme rainfall over a short period of time, sewerage systems may be unable to immediately drain rainwater away, causing it to remain on the streets or cause inconvenience in houses or buildings. People who come into contact with this water have a 3 to 7 times higher risk of (mild) health complaints, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, a sore throat or skin complaints, as demonstrated through a survey by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM.
In 2014, there were more patients in the Netherlands with diseases transmitted by wild rodents than in previous years. This is especially so for leptospirosis, with cases rising from an average of 30 in previous years to 97 cases in 2014, and hantavirus infections increasing from an average of 13 cases to 36 cases in the same period. The reasons for this increase are not clear, but possibly the mild winter and hot summer have played a role. However, as the number of patients is limited, there is no cause for concern. Nevertheless, it is essential to remain alert to diseases transmitted by wild rodents and a study is being carried out on the factors that contribute to the increased incidence, as indicated in the annual Zoonotic Diseases Report prepared by RIVM and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Products Safety (NVWA).
In 2014, fewer outbreaks of food-borne infections and food poisoning occurred in relation to previous years. However, due to a rise in the number of affected individuals per outbreak reported, the total number of sick persons has increased by 13% compared to 2013. This was demonstrated in the ‘Registry data of food-borne infections and food poisoning in the Netherlands in 2014’ report by RIVM and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority.
Without global agreement on the use of HFCs, their contribution to the greenhouse effect may increase sharply to 10 percent of that of CO2 by 2050. The current contribution is less than 1 percent. These are the findings of research led by RIVM. From 1-5 November 2015 a total of 197 countries will meet in Dubai to negotiate reduction of the use of HFCs. If the countries reach an agreement, it will be the first time that a global treaty addresses part of the climate problem.
Dr Joke van der Giessen is the first woman to be elected President of the International Commission on Trichinellosis (ICT). Her term of office is for five years (2015 to 2019). Joke van der Giessen is a veterinary microbiologist and parasitologist in the RIVM Center for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology. She is head of the National Reference Laboratory for Foodborne Parasites at RIVM. Trichinellosis or trichinosis is a notifiable disease in humans and animals that needs to be controlled in the animal population.
Lowering the amount of salt in processed foods or choosing low-salt alternatives can lead to substantial health benefits when it comes to cardiovascular disease. It can cause a maximum reduction of heart attacks by 5% and over 7% less strokes. These are the results of PhD research by Marieke Hendriksen at RIVM and Wageningen University. Considerable effort by both consumers and the food industry is required to achieve the calculated health benefits.
The flu epidemic in the winter of 2014/2015 lasted 21 weeks and as such was the longest epidemic ever recorded in the Netherlands. Nearly two million people suffered from flu-like symptoms. About 10,000 people were hospitalised for complications from flu, such as pneumonia. During the flu epidemic period, more than 65,000 persons died in the Netherlands; this is approximately 8,600 persons more than the expected number of deaths in this 21-week period. This excess mortality may be associated with the flu. These are the results of the RIVM annual report on influenza and other respiratory infections. The annual report lists the results of the ongoing surveillance and research that RIVM carries out in collaboration with partners to closely monitor developments in the field of respiratory infections to enable timely appropriate measures.
Using information about the RNA (genetic material) of a virus in reconstructing an outbreak can help to map the extent of the outbreak, the infection source and the way in which the virus is transmitted. As a result, measures can be taken to prevent virus spread. This is a finding of research carried out by Marcel Jonges from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM.
A warning label on the packaging of raw chicken products may result in improved kitchen hygiene among one quarter of the population. Most people already prepare chicken safely, irrespective of whether they read the label. Consumers consider labels to be important, useful and reassuring. This has been demonstrated by research carried out by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in conjunction with the Voedingscentrum (Dutch Nutrition Centre).
The percentage of overweight (including obesity) among 6-9-year-old children differs between European countries, ranging from 18 to 57%. Percentages are highest in southern European countries. These findings come from the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) performed by Member States of the WHO European Region and coordinated by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition at RIVM is a partner and collaborator in this unique initiative.
People whose health literacy is not up to standard are less healthy and less capable of taking proper care of themselves, which is seen both in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. Worldwide, health literacy is increasingly often considered an important health predictor. It is also receiving increased attention from researchers, politicians and care institutions, as was demonstrated by research for the European Commission by the EPHORT consortium in which RIVM participates.
The World Health Organization (WHO) published its first CAESAR annual report 2014. This report describes the resistance data from five countries in the WHO European Region gathered through the Central Asian and Eastern European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (CASESAR) network. The WHO Collaborating Centre for AMR Epidemiology and Surveillance at the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM coordinates CASESAR data collection and conducted the data analysis and drafted the report in collaboration with partners.
As a result of an increase of people suffering from Lyme disease, the numbers of people with cardiac arrhythmia caused by Lyme disease (known as Lyme carditis) has also increased. According to a recent assessment by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM among GPs, about 10 patients a year suffer from this in the Netherlands. A quick diagnosis of Lyme carditis is important in order to prevent cardiac arrhythmia from worsening or even becoming life-threatening.
Of the foods we eat and drink, the production of meat and dairy products (milk and cheese) is associated with the largest food-related environmental impact. For a reduction in environmental impact, it would be favorable to reduce the consumption of meat and dairy foods and consume more plant-based alternatives instead, such as legumes, vegetables and grains. Research by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) shows that a partial replacement of meat and dairy by plant-based alternatives is beneficial for health and the environment.
As of November 1, Prof. Hans Verhagen will join the European Food Safety Authorithy (EFSA )in Parma, Italy as Head of the Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance Department (RASA). Hans Verhagen became the head of the RIVM Centre for Nutrition and Health in May 2005. Since 2013 he is working as a Senior Scientific Advisor in Nutrition and Food Safety at RIVM. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.
The Interspecies website which helps researchers to reduce and refine the use of laboratory animals is transferred to the 3Rs database Programme of the 3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences (ULS) of Utrecht University. RIVM initiated the website and the underlying database and remains responsible for the database content.
Two children in Ukraine were reported to be paralysed after contracting polio from a rare strain of the virus (cVDPV1). Because of the inadequate vaccination coverage in Ukraine, this virus strain has had the chance to spread. Only about 50% of children in Ukraine are fully immunized against polio.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Dutch national breast cancer screening programme. A major change during those 25 years was the transition from analogue to digital images. The digitisation process was started in 2008 and completed in June 2010. The results of the changeover are now known. Especially in women under the age of 60, the proportion of breast cancers being detected early has risen. The data also confirm that breast cancer is increasingly common in the 50 to 75 year-old target group.
‘Synthetic biology may contribute to a sustainable society if it is used in a responsible and thoughtful manner. The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) will contribute to the responsible development of this new technology with knowledge about health and the environment’, according to Els van Schie, Director of Environment and Safety of RIVM at a meeting (7 September 2015) on synthetic biology.
Using a meteorological transmission model, humans and animals at risk of becoming infected with Q fever can be mapped at street level resolution. This is demonstrated by the doctoral research by Jeroen van Leuken of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM and IRAS (Institute for Risk Assessment Science) of Utrecht University. The source of a Q fever infection (such as a contaminated farm) is considered, in addition to how the bacteria spread in the surrounding area. The transmission depends on weather conditions and environmental factors, such as the amount of vegetation and soil type.
A delegation of scientists from the Palestinian Territories and Israel visited RIVM between 2 and 7 September 2015. The focus of their visit was the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans via vectors, such as mosquitoes, flies and ticks. The visit contributed to improving public health and to advancing cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
In the coming weeks, citizens from major European cities will measure fine particles in the air with their smartphone. They will contribute to new insights into levels of air pollution for their city. The European iSPEX project follows an initial iSPEX project in the Netherlands.
The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM has described building blocks for a definition of microplastics. Considerations as regards criteria and threshold values serve as input for discussion at EU level.
From 1 September, Jacco Wallinga will hold the chair in Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the department of Medical Statistics and Bio-informatics of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). As an extraordinary Professor, Wallinga will work on the appraisal and effect prediction of public health measures to control infectious diseases. He will continue to work at the National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM) as Head of the Modelling of Infectious Diseases department.
Current pharmaceutical legislation does not impose any legal constraints on the use of alternatives to animal testing, but neither does it actively encourage the use of these alternatives. Alternative methods are permitted, but it must be demonstrated that these have the same predictive value as animal testing. In practice, the required validation procedure is often complicated, costly and time-consuming. These are the findings of research conducted by The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
Long-term disruption of day/night rhythms leads to an increase in breast cancer risk and bodyweight in mice susceptible to breast cancer. RIVM and Erasmus MC demonstrated this scientifically for the first time in a recent study. This study demonstrates a direct link between long-term disruption of circadian rhythms, as in regular night work and frequent jet lag, and the development of breast tumours and a gain in bodyweight. The study provides an insight into separate aspects of night work that contribute to this risk.
It is expected that over the coming month, around half a million people will be bitten by a tick. Last month, considerably more tick bites have been reported compared to previous years. Tick bites can transmit Lyme disease, so it is important for people to check themselves thoroughly for tick bites after spending time in the countryside. People who have contracted Lyme disease can participate in the research into long-term complaints after being infected with Lyme. The health of participants is monitored for a year, and 500 more people can join in the project this year.
RIVM congratulates Professor Dick van Soolingen, who was presented the highly coveted Gardner Middlebrook Award. He was honoured with this award at the 36th Annual Congress of the European Society of Mycobacteriology (ESM) in Riga (Latvia) on June 28, 2015.
More people than expected participated in the first year of the population screening for bowel cancer, which was found in 2,500 people. This was established in a study undertaken for RIVM by Erasmus Medical Centre and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, which analysed data on 741,914 participants. The unexpectedly high participation has put pressure on colonoscopy capacity in some areas.
In our annual report, we look back at compelling RIVM projects and research in 2014.
On 1 July, Prof. Dr Marc Bonten, Clinical Microbiologist, took office as a top academic staff member at the RIVM Centre for Infectious Disease Control. He will bring in valuable knowledge in the area of antibiotic resistance. Marc Bonten combines his activities for RIVM with his work for the University Medical Centre Utrecht.
The National Heat Plan became active in the Netherlands on June 30th. This means that it is necessary to take preventive health measures for vulnerable groups. Moreover, everyone should be cautious for sunburn, because the UV index is 7 and above in the coming days.
The Netherlands is the first country where the burden of disease due to Lyme disease has been determined. The burden of disease is a measure for the number of lost healthy life years caused by a disease. These results can facilitate disease burden estimates to assess the impact of Lyme on public health in other countries. The greater part of lost healthy life years is caused by long-term complaints after Lyme disease.
The number of clients tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at Dutch STI clinics has increased since 2004. The percentage of clients with at least one STI (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, hiv, hepatitis B) increased from 12.3 per cent in 2004 to 15.5 per cent in 2014. General practitioners, who carry out the majority of STI consultations in the Netherlands, report a similar upward trend. As in previous years, chlamydia was teh most frequently diagnosed STI, according to the RIVM report 'Sexually transmitted infections including HIV, in the Netherlands in 2014’.
Over recent years, antibiotic resistance to most agents has remained stable in the Netherlands, and the use of antibiotics has slightly decreased. Yet there is reason for concern, because an increasing number of bacteria that can cause infections in human beings are shown to be resistant to antibiotics that are used as a last resort, thus making the choice for an antibiotic that works properly an increasingly difficult one. After years of considerable decrease, the use of antibiotics for animals has hardly declined in 2014.
By combining the available international knowledge, the method to assess the extent to which consumers are exposed to chemical substances via everyday products such as paint, cleaning agents and cosmetics will be improved. A new web-based version of the computer program ConsExpo will make this possible. The update of the program will be realised by RIVM in collaboration with the counterpart institutes ANSES (France), BfR (Germany), BAG (Switzerland) and Health Canada.
RIVM would like to explore possibilities to eliminate obstacles during innovation of green chemistry with industry. Our institute will provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on applied sustainability methodologies. This will be the basis of a decision tree for sustainable and safe production of biobased substances and products. Participating companies will help develop this tool and gain knowledge on relevant laws and regulations at the same time.
EU project EuroMix (European Test and Risk Assessment Strategies for Mixtures) was launched recently. EuroMix will provide a test strategy for mixture testing based on new and already existing toxicological tests. The project has high societal relevance, because to date mixtures cannot be adequately addressed and European regulation has indicated the need for mixture risk assessment in the future.
Companies, authorities and scientists can save time, money and test animals in the risk assessment of nanomaterials by using available data. RIVM has commissioned the development of a strategy to evaluate the potential for read-across in case of missing data for nanomaterials with a focus on fulfilling data requirements in regulatory frameworks.
The number of medical examinations in which children are exposed to relatively high radiation doses has increased significantly over the last years. For example, the number of CT scans in children has risen by approximately 80% since 2005. A similar rise is also seen among adults, as is shown by research of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
We can all help to reduce pollution of the environment by pharmaceutical residues. For instance, producers could make environmental information on their products publicly available, physicians could prescribe less or different drugs, and patients may return unused or expired medicines to the pharmacy.
Bernice Notenboom’s Arctic March expedition team has reached the summit of Greenland. She has conquered the 3500-metre high summit on Greenland with functioning air measuring equipment. And just in time, because they are now stuck in the Watkins Mountains due to bad weather. The storm, which prevents the Twin Otter plane from landing on the polar cap to retrieve the team, will last until Friday at least.
Commissioned by the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ), RIVM investigated whether excess adhesive is present in two types of injection needles from the Terumo Company (K-Pack II and Neolus). The investigations show that less than 1 percent of the Terumo needles contain visible amounts of excess cured adhesive is found (epoxy resin). This rate is much lower than the rate of 20 percent that was mentioned in the TV program EenVandaag. The RIVM also examined needles from other manufacturers. Excess cured adhesive was found in a comparably small percentage as in the Terumo needles. No completely blocked needles were found. In addition, no liquid adhesive is observed in the needles. The RIVM has investigated more than 7000 needles for this fact-finding.
Dr Hoang Hirschberg, employed at RIVM, has carried out PhD research into three alternatives to for needle injections. She concluded that all alternatives have advantages and limitations. Not one single delivery method will be generally applicable but depending on vaccine antigen, target population and market. Thanks to the numerous new technologies and extensive knowledge in this field Hirschberg is expecting that, in the future, more alternatives to needle injections will become available.
Patients are increasingly being treated with complex medical technologies in their own home. This offers great benefits, however, it also introduces risks. Despite improvements in recent years, points of special interest still exist. This was the conclusion of an RIVM investigation commissioned by the Inspectorate of Health Care (IGZ).
Climate reporter and expedition leader Bernice Notenboom and her team left for Greenland on 4 May 2015 for the second part of the Arctic March. Over the next few weeks, she will investigate the effects of climate change in the polar region.
A total of 673 different types of additives are used by manufacturers in their tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco) and the number of additives used per tobacco product type increased over the years. That is the conclusion of a multiannual trend analysis with data from 2010-2013, performed by RIVM.
Growing tobacco plants acquire metals from soil, fertilisers, and industrial pollution. Smoking liberates some of these metals from tobacco into smoke to be inhaled by the smoker and bystanders. This can cause harmful health effects, such as cancer, and liver- and kidney damage. Arsenic, cadmium, nickel and lead are the main contributors to the health risks of metals in smoke. These are results of research conducted by the University of St Andrews (Scotland) commissioned by RIVM.
In 2014, 53% of people between the ages of 12 and 80 in the Netherlands participate in some type of sport weekly. The percentage has been just above 50% for many years, announced Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and RIVM during the National Sport Week. Men (53.9%) play sports slightly more often than women (51.3%), with the percentages highest for teenagers (67.2%) and people in their twenties (65%). These data were obtained in the CBS health interview survey in the framework of the Lifestyle Monitor.
The Dutch Inspection for Health Care (IGZ) revoked the decision not to use two types of Terumo brand syringes based on research of Terumo needles and needles of other brands.
Every four years, RIVM assesses the quality, accessibility and affordability of the Dutch healthcare system. The latest Dutch Health Care Performance Report was published in September 2014 and is now available in English. The Dutch Health Care Performance Report 2014 highlights numerous positive developments, as well as some issues for consideration.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) published a Report of the WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg). RIVM was commissioned by WHO to write a background paper that served as the basis for discussions on novel tobacco products. The background paper provides an overview of novel marketed products and products with emerging use, including oral tobacco products, modified or alternative cigarettes, water pipes and notable alterations to traditional products.
RIVM performed a systematic literature review of epidemiological studies on the health effects of breastfeeding. It is an update of previous reports on the health effects of breastfeeding from 2005 and 2007. Most of the reported health effects were already reported back then. New is the finding that breastfeeding might have a protective effect on hypertension among mothers. The probable protective effect of breastfeeding on eczema in children could not be confirmed.
At the start of the “Tick Awareness Week”, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and Wageningen UR are commencing a large-scale study on the long-term effects of Lyme disease. Annually about 25,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in The Netherlands. Although this number may be stabilising, the number of new patients remains high. Most people recover after a course of antibiotics, but 1,000 to 2,500 people a year continue to have persistent symptoms. Why these complaints develop in one person and not in the other, is unknown. Therefore, the study "Lyme Prospect” has started. People who are about to start a course of antibiotics against Lyme disease can apply for participation.
It is nearly impossible to get an overdose of potassium from natural food sources. However, there are certain groups at risk of developing abnormal high levels of potassium in the blood, like patients with severe kidney damage. They need to follow a potassium-restricted diet. Severe hyperkalaemia can be life threatening because it can cause cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest or muscle weakness. RIVM reviewed available data on potassium intake in the Netherlands and the potential risk groups for developing hyperkalaemia, commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has been commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), in cooperation with Radboud University Medical Center (Radboudumc), the Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CLM) and Wageningen University (WUR) to conduct a study over the next two years on the resistance of the Aspergillus fumigatus fungus to fungicides. The purpose of the study is to better understand the development and spread of the resistant fungus in order to take steps to reduce problems caused by resistance. RIVM has final responsibility for conducting the study and shall formulate policy recommendations based on the outcome.
The currently existing models and techniques provide insufficient certainties in the assessment of the harmfulness of nanoparticles and nanomaterials to people and the environment. There are indications that some nanoparticles have harmful characteristics, but it is insufficiently clear why this is the case with these particular particles. Other nanoparticles do not give any reason for concern for the time being.
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are natural toxins occurring in a wide variety of plants, including herbs. When excessive amounts are ingested, these toxins are harmful to humans because PAs are carcinogenic and may cause severe liver damage. Commissioned by the NVWA, RIVM investigated whether the limit value (1 microgramme per kilo) is still adequate. This is indeed the case for herbal teas and food supplements containing herbs.
An international study has indicated that some 14% of all norovirus infections can be attributed to contaminated food. The results of this study, which RIVM coordinated, have been published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID). On World Health Day april 7th, the World Health Organization highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety. We have put this article in the spotlight to raise awareness to the harm caused by foodborne illnesses.
RIVM is developing methods to identify new and emerging risks of chemical substances to workers, consumers and the environment. These methods are designed for faster identification of the adverse effects of exposure to substances so that policy makers can take timely measures. RIVM has published an interim report on progress in developing these methods.
As a result of the EenVandaag broadcast regarding the safety of injection needles, and after consultation with the Dutch Inspection for Health Care (IGZ), RIVM advises against the use of needles sold under the Terumo brand name in the execution of the National Immunisation Programme (NIP).
Calculated ammonia emissions in the Netherlands are still declining. However, emissions overall are greater than previously assumed. Emissions are calculated ever more accurately and sources which were previously not taken into consideration appear to be more significant. Therefore these emissions are now included in international reporting guidelines.
While e-cigarettes are less harmful to health than tobacco cigarettes, the vapour from an e-cigarette contains substances and chemical impurities in concentrations that could be detrimental to health. This is the result of a recent study carried out by RIVM in the Netherlands .
Consumption of reduced-sodium foods over a 3-week period was well accepted by uninformed participants in an experimental real-life canteen setting. The reduced-sodium foods did not trigger compensation behaviour during the remainder of the day. Therefore, offering reduced-sodium foods can contribute to daily sodium intake reduction. That is the outcome of research by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, TNO and RIVM commissioned by the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Health, Welfare and Sport.
Scientists and policy makers from around the world will visit research institutes and companies in the field of Life Sciences in the Utrecht region on March 18th.
Long-term exposure to particulate air pollution and nitrogen dioxide has been found to be associated with total mortality and mortality from respiratory diseases and lung cancer in the Netherlands. This was the key finding of a recent study in the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal by RIVM and Utrecht University in which a new method was used to analyse data on 7 million adults living in the Netherlands.
Insulin glargine is used in the treatment of diabetes. A new study conducted by RIVM in association with the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research found no evidence for increased incidence of breast cancer in mice receiving insulin glargine. The study results are in line with previous studies that found insulin glargine did not increase the risk of breast cancer in patients with diabetes.
Consumption of foods and food supplements that contain oil from microalgae Schizochytrium sp. and Krill oil do not cause harm to our health. Only at extreme high intakes the most conservative tolerable upper level would be surpassed by 10 percent of the older children and adults. Such a scenario is little realistic.
Some foods contain less salt in 2014 compared with 2011. According to research by RIVM the salt content of bread was 21 percent lower in 2011. With current consumption patterns in the Netherlands, lower salt in bread probably leads to lower daily salt intake, as bread is a major contributor. In other foods such as soups and meat, the salt content remained unchanged. No major differences were observed for saturated fat and sugar between food compositions in 2014 compared with 2011 and 2013.
On request of the Dutch food and product safety authority, the RIVM has developed a prioritisation method for substances used in textile production. This method can be used to identify substances for which it is considered important to assess the risk. Most substances with a high priority are dyes and flame retardants.
AMR is one of the major global challenges in infectious disease control. In particular, a growing number of bacteria has become resistant to antibiotics as a result of their improper and excessive use. Surveillance is key to understand the threat of AMR and to target interventions. RIVM is proud to have attained Collaborating Centre status from the World Health Organization. As Collaborating Centre we will continue to support the WHO with the implementation of the upcoming Global Action Plan on AMR and the European Strategic Action Plan on AMR.
Medical devices are a group of products varying from relatively simple devices like plasters and wheelchairs to complex equipment like pacemakers and MRI scanners. At the request of the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate, RIVM has compared the market authorization systems for medical devices in the United States of America (USA) and Europe. Based on the comparison of the requirements of both systems, it cannot be concluded that one or the other system leads to safer medical devices on the market.
RIVM researchers Arie Havelaar and Arno Swart received the prestigious Best Paper Award 2014 of the Society for Risk Analysis. This prize is awarded annually for the best paper of the year in the journal Risk Analysis.
There is no uniform approach in the European Union for the risk assessment of occupational exposure to non-threshold carcinogens. A major cause of these differences is choices on cancer risk levels used for the assessment. This has emerged from a report by RIVM.
The number of natural areas in Europe that are threatened by air pollution will decrease between 2005 and 2020. This applies both to the deposition of excessive acidifying and eutrophying pollutants, as has been indicated by a report by the Coordination Centre for Effects (CCE) of RIVM.
COMPARE, a large EU project intends to speed up the detection of, and response to disease outbreaks among humans and animals worldwide, through the use of new genome technology. The aim is to reduce the impact and cost of disease outbreaks. To that end, 28 European partners, led by Technical University of Denmark and Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam have received 20 million euro in funding from the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission.
Chemicals made from vegetable or animal waste may be an alternative to the use of the substance bisphenol-A (BPA) in thermal paper. Thermal paper is widely used for cash register receipts. Promising alternatives are lacking in the current proposal to the European Commission to reduce the use of BPA.
The European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week will be held this year in the week of 24 -31 January. January 20th, the Olive Foundation (the network of women with gynaecologic cancer) and RIVM opened the Stock Exchange trading day. The president of the Olive Foundation, Fenneke van Swigchum, had the honour of sounding the gong, to raise awareness for cervical cancer and its prevention.
The report ‘Recording of foodborne infections and food poisoning in 2013’ issued by RIVM and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) shows a total of 290 outbreaks involving 1,460 cases of foodborne infection or food poisoning. This is the first time that data from both organisations have been combined in a single study, and it is clear that the number of outbreaks has risen slightly in recent years while the number of cases has remained more or less stable. 2012 is an exception. In that year as many as 1,149 people fell ill in a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Thompson caused by eating contaminated smoked salmon.
The Nigerian Ebola patient admitted to the Major Incident Hospital was declared cured 21 days ago. Consequently, the monitoring of the state of health of the University Medical Centre Utrecht medical team that nursed him, has also been concluded. It has been established with certainty that none of the health workers was contaminated with Ebola.
1 January saw the launch of the ANVS. The ANVS combines many of the Dutch government’s tasks in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection in one independent authority. RIVM is the regular knowledge provider for the ANVS.
Research carried out by RIVM and UMC Utrecht has shown that children who go to a day care centre are more likely to develop gastroenteritis (stomach flu). This has medical and economic consequences. Day care attendees need to see the General Practitioner twice as often and are admitted to hospital with complications twice as often. In the Netherlands the excess societal cost of gastroenteritis are estimated at 25 million Euro each year. Researcher Remko Enserink thinks that better implementation of existing infectious disease prevention measures would not only result in fewer sick children, but also in lower societal costs.
In 2013, 848 patients with tuberculosis (TB) were reported. This was 109 TB patients (12%) less than in 2012. In the past decade, the number of TB patients in the Netherlands has fallen by 38%. This has emerged from the 'Tuberculosis in the Netherlands 2013' monitoring report from RIVM, in collaboration with the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. The report describes the situation of TB in the Netherlands in 2013 and also breaks down the key figures.
Modifications to the National Immunisation Programme have led to fewer cases of whooping cough among children. However, for babies still too young to be (fully) vaccinated, the pertussis burden remains high, particularly during years with high levels of infection. The number of pertussis infections among adolescents and adults has increased during the last 15 years. This is a (growing) risk to babies. The increase in the number of whooping cough cases is caused by waning immunity after vaccination and because the bacteria has become more resistant to vaccination. This has emerged from the RIVM monitoring of pertussis in the Netherlands between 1989 and 2014.
Since August 2014, there has been an increase in the number of Chikungunya patients in the Caribbean region. Travellers who visit the region can become infected there. In order to prevent this, it is advised to wear clothing that covers the body, and to apply mosquito repellent that contains DEET to uncovered skin, both during the day and in the evenings.