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9 Jul 2012
Biomedical scientists are to play a central role in protecting public health during the London 2012 Olympics.
With predictions of an extra four million visitors to the city during the games, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) have deployed a high-quality, well-tested surveillance systems and rapid diagnostic services to monitor and respond to any outbreaks of infectious diseases. Biomedical scientists in the HPA’s network of public health laboratories will be working seven days a week during the Olympic period, providing an enhanced, rapid diagnostic testing for respiratory, gastrointestinal and waterborne diseases.
Ross McEwan, head of operations for the HPA’s London public health laboratory, said:
"The HPA’s network of public health and specialist reference laboratories are staffed by a range of medical and scientific laboratory staff including Biomedical Scientists. These laboratories will be supporting public health investigations for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games by providing an enhanced service seven days a week.
"Our risk assessments indicate that there is only a slight increased risk of infectious disease during the Games, such as gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, and the reality is that serious outbreaks at Olympic and Paralympic events are rare. However, we have developed enhanced rapid diagnostic laboratory tests for infections of public health importance during the Games which will enable us to identify pathogens earlier so that measures can be taken to limit the spread of infection."
For more information on public health surveillance during the London 2012 Olympics please visit www.hpa.org.uk/2012Games