Super-infections could spread post-Brexit

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Super-infections could spread post-Brexit

Efforts to prevent spread of antibiotic resistant infections, including certain types of gonorrhoea and other infectious diseases could be compromised if the UK leaves the EU’s early warning system post-Brexit without an effective replacement.

The Brexit Health Alliance, which includes NHS, research, industry, patients and public health bodies, warns that public health issues must be addressed before we leave the EU.

Our proximity to Europe and high levels of cross-border travel mean cases of infectious disease in the UK are regularly imported from other EU countries. For example, recent outbreaks of measles in England and Wales have been linked with ongoing outbreaks in Eastern Europe, while a multi-country outbreak of salmonella was linked to Polish eggs.

Tracking outbreaks across countries needs collaboration between the UK and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Unless the UK can negotiate continued access to ECDC systems post-Brexit, there may be delays in communication in cases of emerging risk or in crisis management situations.

“If we fail to reach a good agreement on the EU and UK’s future relationship, that could be a significant threat to public health. This cannot and should not be ignored,” said Niall Dickson, co-chair of the Brexit Health Alliance.

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