A new vaccine is being made available to prevent a disease which causes severe birth defects and miscarriages in livestock.
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Bosses at the West Cumberland Hospital have confirmed an investigation is underway into why there was a delay in actioning two reports about air quality at two orthopaedic operating theatres. The two theatres have been shut since Friday while emergency maintenance work is carried out.
One of the theatres is due to reopen today (Thursday). The Trust that runs the hospital says all hospital theatres are routinely checked and they're investigating why there was a delay in actioning two reports that were received. 19 patients have been affected by the closure.
– Jeremy Rushmer, Director of Clinical Transformation at North Cumbria University Hospitals
We apologise again wholeheartedly to those patients whose operations have been affected by the temporary closure at Whitehaven but would like to reassure people that we took this action as a precautionary measure in the interests of patient safety.
The Trust also announced the planned date for moving all complex, high risk orthopaedic surgeries, like hip fractures, to Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary has been brought forward from June. Patients will still return to Whitehaven for on-going care and rehabilitation.
Two orthopaedic operating theatres at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven could reopen today.
Emergency maintenance work has been taking place since they were closed on Friday when an issue over air quality came to light.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has licensed veterinary pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health to provide the "Bovolis SBV" vaccine for animals affected by the Schmallenberg virus.
VMD chief executive Pete Borriello said:
"This is the culmination of intensive activity on the part of MSD Animal Health and the VMD to make a safe and effective vaccine available to tackle Schmallenberg.
"Without in any way compromising the scientific rigour of our assessment process, we accelerated our assessment so that a vaccine will be available this summer.
"This means it will be possible to vaccinate sheep and cattle before most of them become pregnant. This is important as it is during pregnancy when exposure to the virus can cause damage to the foetus."
The Schmallenberg virus originated in Germany and is carried on the wind by midges.
Outbreaks have tended to coincide with midge seasons during hotter weather.
There is no evidence of any health risk to humans, but symptoms in livestock include:
- Causes mild symptoms in adult cattle such as fever and diarrhoea
- Reduces milk in dairy cows
- Animals that have been infected are immune
- Two-30% of infected sheep, cattle and goats give birth to deformed or stillborn offspring
A new vaccine could be made available to farmers whose livestock has been affected by the Schmallenberg virus, it was announced today.
The virus, which emerged in the Netherlands and Germany in 2011 and causes severe birth defects and miscarriages, has been identified on more than 1,700 farms across the country.
Adult animals infected by virus-carrying midges, thought to have blown across the Channel, gave birth to deformed or stillborn lambs and calves.
UK farmers will be the first in the European Union to have access to the vaccine, which will be used this summer, before most animals become pregnant again.
A drive to encourage more people to consider a career caring for older people in their own homes has been launched in Cumbria.
The county's ageing population and an increasing number of elderly people choosing to live longer independently have prompted efforts to recruit more home care workers as Kim Inglis reports:
Sandy Armstrong works for the Care Sector Alliance Cumbria, and she joined colleagues in Carlisle city centre today to try and encourage people to apply for carer jobs.
She says that it is not all about having the right qualifications:
Mildred Tomlinson says that the service she receives from her home carer is invaluable in helping her to stay independent:
Karen Rangecroft is a home carer in Cumbria and she explains what her work involves and why she enjoys her job so much: