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Division of Infection Control and Environmental Health

This division is working to prevent infectious diseases and reduce damage to health caused by environmental factors. Key activities are emergency preparedness, investigations, consultancy, laboratory services and research, both at national and international levels.

Target groups include the authorities, health professionals and the general public.

The division is also responsible for co-ordinating emergency preparedness, consultancy and laboratory services across the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Research

Our advice is based on the latest knowledge. This requires insight and scientific understanding that is generated from research, systematic research reviews and reports.

Population studies are conducted, as well as laboratory-based studies and research. Laboratory research involves experimental studies in cells and animals and analyses of harmful contaminants, bacteria and viruses.

The division has expertise within: 

  • exposure to health-damaging pollutants in the environment 
  • nutrients, pathogens and other food components 
  • damaging effects of chemicals in consumer products
  • components and pathogens in drinking water
  • noise strain from different sources
  • indoor and outdoor climate health
  • prevention of infectious diseases
  • pathogens

Emergency preparedness

The division is responsible for preparedness relating to risk assessment, prevention and detection of infectious disease outbreaks, and environmental incidents that may have adverse health effects.

There are three on-call duty officers: 

  • Poisons Information Centre provides advice and guidance to the general public and health professionals 
  • Infectious disease control duty medical officer provides a consultation helpline for health professionals
  • Microbiological emergency duty officer

Health surveillance

Infectious disease surveillance is essential for evaluating and implementing measures that limit the spread of infectious diseases. There are three registries: 

  • Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (MSIS) collects data about notifiable infectious diseases that are submitted to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health 
  • Norwegian Surveillance System for Antibiotic Use and Hospital-Acquired Infections (NOIS) collects information about healthcare-associated infections in hospitals and nursing homes 
  • Norwegian Surveillance System for Viral Resistance (RAVN) collects information about virus resistance in Norway.

Samples from cases of infectious diseases caused by bacteria or viruses are received from the health authorities.

Through detection and characterisation using advanced genetic engineering and microbiological methods, information is gathered about the national epidemiological status.

The field epidemiological team assists the municipal health and care services with evaluation, clarification and measures to stop infectious disease outbreaks.

The following registries are operated to monitor various environmental health risk factors:

  • National Register of Severe Allergic Reactions to Food
  • National Register of Adverse Effects from Cosmetic Products
  • Waterworks Registry

Vaccines and immunisation

The division is responsible for the childhood immunisation programme, advice about the other vaccines and vaccine supply. This includes: 

  • Registration of immunisation coverage (SYSVAK) 
  • Monitoring of adverse events after vaccination (in collaboration with the Norwegian Medicines Agency) 
  • Monitoring of immunity in the population 
  • Advice about vaccines and immunisation 

 

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