Community news|19/08/20

Biological agents, emerging risks and health effects

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A new EU-OSHA report presents the results of a major project on occupational exposure to biological agents and related health effects. Although carried out before the Covid-19 pandemic, it provides conclusions that are highly relevant in the current context.

The project aimed to identify and describe the most significant exposures. In particular, the report focuses on five sectors/types of occupations that are particularly at risk:

  • health care,
  • animal-related professions,
  • waste and waste water treatment,
  • the field crop,
  • occupations involving travel or contact with travellers.

The project also addressed emerging risks, including multi-resistant bacteria and the increased spread of infectious agents. A link was thus established between the phenomenon of globalisation and the emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Covid-19 epidemic in Europe.

The study included a review of the scientific literature, interviews with experts, focus groups and a stakeholder workshop. By analysing knowledge on risk factors, identifying data gaps and proposing future policy options, the report aims to raise awareness of the issue. In addition, it provides reliable information that can support efforts to put in place effective prevention measures.

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