Austrian society for hygiene, microbiology and preventive medicine (OEGHMP)

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Univ.-Prof. Martin Wagner, head of the OEGHMP, about the main topics and activities of the society:

What are the topics the OEGHMP is dealing with?

Activities and interests of the OEGHMP are focusing likewise on scientific and academic issues as well as on professional and political issues of hygiene, microbiology and preventive medicine including infection prevention and control (IP&C) in health institutions. Since its foundation in 1925, the OEGHMP is the national partner for hygiene specialists in different disciplines (human medicine, veterinary medicine, food hygiene, water hygiene). The OEGHMP, by the way, is the only society in that field in Austria that strives for the One Health approach from its beginning.

What are the main activities of the OEGHMP?

The association supports the cooperation within a community of 600 Austrian hygienists, microbiologists and medical preventionists as well as the cooperation with scientists of related fields for the benefit of scientific progress. Furthermore it encompasses compact expertise through involvement of all academic chair holders in hospital hygiene in Austria and serves as the associated scientific society of the Austrian Medical Association for clinical microbiology and hygiene.

In the program of your annual meeting in summer also tuberculosis will be an issue. Especially multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a great danger: With a half million new cases each year, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is spreading around the globe. The world must act decisively, CDC director Tom Frieden said recently. What are the initiatives resp. preventive measures in Austria?

In Austria, the Tuberculosis Act regulates the fight against tuberculosis in great detail. Within its possibilites, the OEGHMP is striving to support the respective public health authorities and  emphasizes the importance of proper infection control, especially in the case of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Just recently, OEGHMP-members were able to document the first authochtonous transmissions of MDR-TB from abroad to two patients in Austria in 2014. Occupational safety of health care workers is therefore a real challenge. By allocating a dedicated session of our General Meeting to this topic, we hope to generate awareness of this newly emerging problem.

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Carola Timmel is journalist for print and radio and professional speaker. Her focus lies on the topic Medicine & Health.

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