At the October meeting the Aboyne and District Ladies Probus Club welcomed twenty members from the Ballater Ladies Probus and a number of guests, who were given an interesting talk by the eminent microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington.
He gave the group an insight into the precedures required when there is a serious viral outbreak. E-coli 0157 is the most prevelent virus and we learnt that the North-east of Scotland has the highest e-coli infection rate in the world.
Professor Pennington chaired one such enquiry concerning the e-coli 0157 outbreak in Wales in 2005, when a young boy died after eating a school meal in which the bug was present in the meat. Public Enquiries are set up to find the facts surrounding the outbreak involved and then produce a report suggesting guidelines to prevent such an outbreak happening again. Prof. Pennington found after his report that the same recommendations his enquiry put forward had been suggested ten years earlier by Lord Taylor, in the report into the Blackburn Outbreak in 1996, but these recommendations were never acted upon.
Prof. Pennington also said how difficult it was to predict anything which may occur, as the micros are continually evolving with new viruses appearing. Questions were plentiful and were skillfully answered by the Professor, who is obviously very passionate about his subject.