News in Brief
The UK government has decided not to downgrade ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA) from a class A to a class B drug. This is despite advice by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, an independent body that advises the UK government on drug policy. Having completed a year long study that looked at the effects of ecstasy, the council published guidance that the drug should be downgraded. Ecstasy is a risk to public health, says the report “MDMA (ecstasy) has undoubted harms, causing direct toxicity especially when taken.” However, dependence on the drug was unusual. Many have criticised the government for failing to take an evidenced based decision (http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/publication-search/acmd/mdma-report and www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/feb/12/ecstasy-jacqui-smith-drug-laws).
Campylobacter infections in humans continue to rise in Europe, says a report that looked at the transmission rates of infectious disease from animals to humans. Mainly transmitted in fresh poultry meat, this organism can cause diarrhoea, fever, and headaches