We now move into the realms of biological agents. This is now looking a bit diminished, like a disease responding to treatment. We again have the usual scene setting items explaining what biological agents are (probably no-one knows, and certainly they don’t seem to care). The section on assessment and control has now adopted the better organisation of the international diploma (well as it used to be). This is particularly the distinction between deliberate work and opportunistic work ( yes that seems to describe the scrap metal van that comes round every now and again, scavenging for stock). The risk factors are much more comprehensive. The list of zoonoses (those passed on from animals) has been augmented with malaria. That may sound odd, but for international companies, you nearly always encounter it. Hepatitis is now clarified by reference to the B, C and D types. I notice too, in the international diploma equivalent, we have lost snakebite. I did have my hopes up because I’ve always thought of snakebite as a drink (cider and lager) and did bat an eyelid that it had been included – it’s clearly lethal. But turns out they actually meant snake venom. But last time I looked that was a chemical rather than a biological agent. Anyway that’s gone into the long grass.
I notice though that “treatment and control” considerations for these specific biological agents has been removed – this might be accidental omission. The excessive detail that used to be there on control measures has now gone. There’s a simple sentence referencing the hierarchy of control. That certainly squares with the reduced teaching hours now allocated but does leave you a bit in the dark as precisely what they mean and how much detail to go into. Previously there used to be endless detail (at least implied) about containment level approaches. In fact it’s still there in the International diploma – for which the Dustin Hoffman film, Outbreak is forever etched on mind. I lost count of how many people died in that film, but at least it sort of showed you the basic idea of moving from no controls to full control (even though it wasn’t specially realistic). The later film, Contagion, was more realistic, but I lost count of how many big movie stars died in that film too.
Next week is noise and vibration – and that’s just my motorcycle.