In brief

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 05 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8265

Whooping cough cases continue to rise in England and Wales: Three babies died from whooping cough in England and Wales in October, bringing the total number of deaths in this age group this year to 13. The total number of cases to the end of October was nearly 10 times that in the same period in 2008, the last “peak” year before this current outbreak, the Health Protection Agency has said.

Netherlands raises the age for buying tobacco: The new Dutch cabinet has agreed to raise the age limit for sales of tobacco from 16 to 18, as the latest figures for 2012 indicated that the smoking prevalence in the Netherlands was set to rise for the first time in a decade, from 25% to 26%, an extra 170 000 smokers. Tobacco control experts blame the increase on the previous government’s policies, including allowing smoking in small cafés.

Fifth coronavirus death is detected: A fifth person has died from the coronavirus that results in a respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome, the World Health Organization said on 3 December. The two latest deaths were in Jordan, WHO said. The disease had previously been detected only in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, although one patient was transferred to the UK for treatment. It brings the total number of cases of the infection to nine.

NHS bodies in England will have a duty of candour: New rules to increase transparency in NHS organisations and patients’ confidence in services have been announced by the health minister Dan Poulter after a public consultation. The government will create regulations that require the NHS Commissioning Board to include a contractual duty of openness in all commissioning contracts from April 2013. This means that NHS organisations will have to tell patients if their safety has been compromised, apologise, and ensure that lessons are learnt.

Health bodies call for action on climate change: A declaration calling for the protection and promotion of health to be made one of the central priorities of the global policy response to climate change was issued this week by an alliance of health organisations that includes the World Medical Association. The so called Doha declaration on climate, health, and wellbeing was launched at the climate change summit in Doha, Qatar. See

Sri Lanka tackles obesity in monks: Devotees in Sri Lanka who traditionally give food to Buddhist monks are to be given special menus in an attempt to stop the monks developing nutrition related illnesses. Reports indicate that increasing numbers of the monks, who do not cook and rely on donations given by devotees, are contracting diet related diseases such as diabetes because of fatty, sugary gifts.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8265