Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 01 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1222

Investigative accounts of food poisoning epidemics sometimes read like crime thrillers. A report in this month's Eurosurveillance (1999;4:47-8) describes a raid on a suspect's house where samples were “taken and seized as a precaution.” The items were not guns or drugs but sponge biscuits, cream cheese, whipped cream, and eggs. His crime? Leaving tiramisu out of the fridge for long enough to culture Salmonella enteritidis, then offering it to relatives.

The population of Iceland, which numbers about 250 000, has a very high prevalence of osteoarthritis of the hip (Annals of Rheumatic Diseases 1999;58:201-7). One study found an age-sex standardised rate of 8% in people over 35—almost five times higher than the rate in a comparable population in southern Sweden. The authors say that genes probably explain the difference. Farming, a known risk factor for osteoarthritis, probably isn't to blame. Only 4% of Icelanders are farmers.

The prevalence of osteoarthritis of the hip is lower in England than in Iceland. Even so, a large population survey found that 1.5% of people over 35 need hip replacement surgery (Lancet 1999;353:1304-9). This translates to around 46 600 operations each year. The shortfall in actual provision is encouragingly small: the NHS already pays for 43 500 hip replacement operations each year in England.

Glyceryl trinitrate is a cheap, non-invasive treatment for …

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