Select Committee on Science and Technology Fourth Report


Call for Evidence

The Science and Technology Select Committee has set up Sub-Committee I, with Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior in the chair, to consider and report on issues relating to human infectious disease in the United Kingdom, including—

·  current effectiveness of the surveillance systems in the United Kingdom and potential problems in the future

·  links between surveillance and treatment of infectious disease

·  links between surveillance and the strategies for preventing infectious disease

and to pay regard to—

·  developments in surveillance, vaccine and diagnostic technologies

·  international approaches to surveillance, treatment and prevention of infectious disease

·  public attitudes, risk-perception and the role of the media.

We invite written submissions by 14th October 2002, which are relevant to our terms of reference, and addressed in particular to the following questions:

  1.  What are the main problems facing the surveillance, treatment and prevention of human infectious disease in the United Kingdom?

  2.  Will these problems be adequately addressed by the Government's recent infectious disease strategy, Getting Ahead of the Curve?

  3.  Is the United Kingdom benefiting from advances in surveillance and diagnostic technologies; if not, what are the obstacles to its doing so?

  4.  Should the United Kingdom make greater use of vaccines to combat infection and what problems exist for developing new, more effective or safer vaccines?

  5.  Which infectious diseases pose the biggest threats in the foreseeable future?

  6.  What policy interventions would have the greatest impact on preventing outbreaks of and damage caused by infectious disease in the United Kingdom?

The Committee welcomes evidence on any area of infectious disease. However, as other bodies have recently inquired, or are in the process of inquiring into antimicrobial resistance, hospital-acquired infections and sexually transmitted infection, the Committee will not make these primary concerns in its inquiry. Nevertheless the Committee will not exclude these areas.

Please note that the Committee will focus on UK health issues, not diseases primarily affecting overseas countries, whilst acknowledging that infection crosses borders and may threaten the United Kingdom. The Committee will also focus on naturally occurring infection rather than bioterrorism.

The Committee will not consider evidence on whether the MMR vaccine is safe.

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