Public Health

Alert re Cryptosporidium

There has been an increase in the number of cases of Cryptosporidium in the Gateshead area recently. Doctors are advised to consider this infection in cases of diarrhoea and to arrange stool samples if the symptoms have been going on for more than three days.
The letter from Public Health England can be accessed in the Memos section

Post Chickenpox Streptococcal infection

Public Health England had published a warning about 4 cases of invasive Group A Streptococcal infection (iGAS) after chickenpox infection in children locally.
One child has died and the other three remain in hospital.
Please acquaint your self with the guidance which can be found in the
Memos section

Cold Weather Warning

Public Health England have released a warning about forecast cold weather conditions this weekend, the text is below:

The Met Office has issued a Level 3 Cold Weather alert, which indicates that severe weather is now imminent. There is a 90% probability of severe cold weather/icy conditions from today until early next week.

As cold weather can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes as well as make chest diseases worse, it is important that practices communicate with all patients on the practice list who are deemed to be ‘at risk’ to ensure they are safe and well including:

•older people (over 75 years old)

• “frail” older people

•children under the age of five

•people with pre-existing chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke or TIA, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes and

•people with mental ill-health that reduces individual’s ability to self-care (including dementia)

It is also likely that there will be a surge in demand for appointments and home visits over the next few days from patients who are vulnerable to the cold so please be prepared to respond appropriately. Also ensure that staff are aware of cold weather risks and are able to advise patients effectively.

The following advice is being issued by Public Health England

“Make sure that you stay warm. If going outside make sure you dress appropriately. If indoors, make sure that you keep your heating to the right temperature; heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing . If there is anyone you know who might be at special risk, for example, an older person living on their own, make sure they know what to do to stay warm and are well stocked with food and medications. If you are worried about your health or that of somebody you know, ring NHS 111”

Further information is available on the Met Office website


Many of you will be aware of the current increase in cases of Influenza A in the area. Public Health England have published new advice on management of Influenza. The publications can be found in the Flu section of the Guidelines page.


We have received a note from Public Health England about the MERS outbreak in the Middle East. It may be relevant if seeing patients returning from that part of the world. It cam be found in the Guidelines section. Please remember that part of the handbook is password-protected and can be accessed by using the GatDoc login.