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HPA declares itself ready for the Olympics

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Infectious disease experts have declared they are “Games ready” ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

As millions of people prepare to descend on the capital, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has implemented a raft of measures to ensure that any potential diseases are spotted and addressed as quickly as possible.

Although the HPA expects a “slight” increased risk of illnesses such as stomach bugs and chest infections during the Games, it does not anticipate any serious infectious outbreaks at Olympic and Paralympic events.

The HPA plans to introduce quicker laboratory testing to help diagnose bugs more rapidly. Infections such as Salmonella will be diagnosed within a day - compared to the standard 48 hours.

It will also monitor calls to NHS direct and out of hours GPs and data from accident and emergency departments and NHS walk-in centres.

Experts will look at symptom patterns and be able to determine whether there have been any infection outbreaks.

Doctors have also been told to report any symptoms which point to emerging infections or exotic diseases.

Dr Brian McCloskey, HPA Olympics lead and director for London, said: “In preparation for London 2012 we have put in place world class systems to monitor and respond rapidly to any outbreaks of infectious diseases or environmental hazards.

“These new and enhanced systems will provide the first indication of emerging infections in the community and hospitals if they are to occur.”



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