Inquest opens at Kings Lynn into Terry McSpadden of Elm who disappeared nine years ago without trace

Ely Standard - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 09:50

The family of Terry McSpadden who disappeared nine years ago is calling for answers after the inquest into his death was opened.

Categories: Local Press

Brexit Q&A: What happens next?

Newmarket Journal - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 09:30
The vote to leave the European Union has opened up a period of enormous political uncertainty, raising huge questions on how the UK will move forward in the months and years to come.
Categories: Local Press

Vehicle catches fire in Greenhills, Soham

Ely Standard - Tue, 28/06/2016 - 09:18

A vehicle caught fire in Greenhills, Soham on Saturday afternoon.

Categories: Local Press

Concern growing for missing Mildenhall pensioner Martin

Newmarket Journal - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 21:48

Concern is growing for a man missing from his Mildenhall home.

Categories: Local Press

Magical fun at Wicken fete and dog show

Ely Standard - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 17:14

The sun shone as crowds enjoyed music and stalls for the annual Wicken fete and dog show.

Categories: Local Press

Children's plastic toys can 'harbour viruses for hours'

NHS Choices - Behind the Headlines - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 16:35

"Plastic toys 'can harbour nasty viruses for hours, raising risk of infection'," the Mail Online reports. New research suggests that enveloped viruses, which have a protective shell, may survive on toys for up to 24 hours.

This laboratory study aimed to assess virus survival on a plastic toy at 22C and two different humidity levels – 40% (similar to indoor levels) and 60%.

Researchers used a virus called bacteriophage Φ6, which is harmless for humans. It acts as a useful "surrogate virus" for research, as its structure is similar to common causes of viral infection, such as the influenza virus.

The study found that viral survival was significantly less at the lower humidity – at two hours, virus survival had reduced by 99.9%. At high humidity, it took 24 hours to reduce by 99%.

Children's toys – particularly shared ones like in daycare centres and hospitals – have often been implicated in spreading infection during outbreaks. However, this study can't provide all the answers. For example, it can't inform us about the survival of other bacteria and viruses (e.g. tummy bugs spread hand-to-mouth), or whether viral survival may be the same on other surfaces.

What is probably most useful is the standard hygiene measure of ensuring that your child washes their hands regularly, after playing, after using the toilet and before eating.

Employees in settings where toys are likely to be shared should also be aware of the importance of regularly cleaning the toys.


Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from Georgia State University, Atlanta, US. It was funded by a grant from the university, and the authors declare no conflict of interest. The study was published in the peer-reviewed Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

The Mail article may suggest that this study has directly shown that viruses on plastic toys lead to infection, which isn't the case. As is so often the case, its headline verges on scaremongering. This study had a valuable purpose, but its results weren't conclusive.

These criticisms aside, the body of the article was largely accurate and informative.


What kind of research was this?

This was a laboratory study aiming to assess the survival of viruses on plastic toys in different environmental conditions.

The researchers explain how toys may transmit viruses to children, particularly shared toys in daycare centres, hospitals and doctors' waiting rooms. They go on to say how many cross-sectional studies have assessed the presence of viral DNA or RNA, but it's difficult to tell whether actual enveloped viruses are present and how long they survive.

This study aimed to assess an enveloped virus that infects and replicates within Pseudomonas bacteria – a virus called bacteriophage Φ6, which has similar characteristics to influenza. Enveloped viruses have a protective shell, so they can survive longer on external environments, such as objects and surfaces.

The researchers looked at its survival on non-porous plastic toys in different conditions.


What did the research involve?

The researchers incubated the Pseudomonas bacteria with the bacteriophage Φ6 virus in the lab. They cut up a disinfected plastic toy (a squeaking frog) into 1cm2 pieces and put the culture onto them.

They then incubated for 24 hours, some at 22C and 40% humidity, and others at 22C and 60% humidity. They assessed virus survival over the 24 hours.


What were the basic results?

Over 24 hours, there was a 99% reduction (2log10) in the number of infective viruses when incubated at 60% humidity. The number had already halved by 8 hours (1log10).

There was a significantly increased rate of decline at 40% humidity. There was a 3log10 decline at two hours, and 6.8log10 decline by 10 hours.

Log10 is a reference to measurements on the logarithmic (log) scale, which is a useful method of talking about very large numbers and very small numbers at the same time (in this case, viral load).


How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers conclude: "a lipid-enveloped virus [a virus with a protective shell] can survive on the surface of a nonporous children's toy for hours at indoor temperature and relative humidity levels, and the relative humidity level affects how rapid the inactivation is".



This laboratory research assessed the survival of a single type of bacteria-infecting virus on a plastic toy at 22C and two different humidity levels.

The bacteriophage Φ6 virus was chosen to be representative of influenza and other enveloped viruses, and indicated how they would survive under the same conditions. Certain characteristics of the bacteriophage, though, make it easier to study than the actual viruses.

The 40% humidity was meant to be typical of indoor environments. The researchers found that even at this humidity, it may take up to two hours to achieve a 99.9% reduction in levels of infectious virus – similar to previous findings about the rate of inactivation of the flu virus on non-porous surfaces. High humidity was associated with even longer viral survival.

However, this study is limited as it doesn't address many other issues, such as:

  • viral decline at other temperatures – combined with these and other humidity levels
  • survival of other types of non-respiratory viruses – or bacteria – on plastic toys, such as gastrointestinal viruses and bacteria that are spread hand-to-mouth, like norovirus or E.coli bacteria; whether the viral levels detected here at different time-points would directly lead to infection in a child if they were to touch the object is unknown
  • levels of viruses and bacteria on environmental surfaces all around us – for example doors and door handles, tables, work surfaces, taps, etc – all of which children would equally come into contact with
  • the effect of disinfecting or cleaning the items

Toys and children's play equipment has previously been linked to transmission of viruses during outbreaks. In environments such as nurseries, daycare, hospitals or surgeries where toys are shared, regular cleaning and/or disinfection of the items may be beneficial in helping to limit the spread of infection.

However, what is probably most useful is ensuring that your child washes their hands regularly, after playing, after using the toilet and before eating.   

Links To The Headlines

Are your child's TOYS making them sick? Plastic toys 'can harbour nasty viruses for hours, raising risk of infection'. Mail Online, June 27 2016

Links To Science

Bearden RL, Casanova LM. Survival of an Enveloped Virus on Toys. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. Published online May 3 2016

Categories: NHS Choices

People urged to stay safe on level crossings at Littleport, Ely and Waterbeach

Ely Standard - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 15:58

British Transport Police are urging the public to stay safe when using crossings in Littleport, Ely and Waterbeach.

Categories: Local Press

Businesses warned about new law agreed before Brexit

Newmarket Journal - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 15:12

As hysteria continues over Brexit, a leading law firm has warned businesses about hefty penalties they will face for employing illegal migrants when new legislation begins next month.

Categories: Local Press

Thousands of people swoop on dragon festival at West Stow

Newmarket Journal - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 14:42

Thousands of people managed to tame a dragon at a festival celebrating the legendary creatures over the weekend.

Categories: Local Press

Long Melford Vintage Rally is off due to rain but couple have set up alternative event

Newmarket Journal - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 13:10

After being devastated to hear that a water logged field meant Long Melford Vintage Rally had to be cancelled, a couple from the village set up their own event.

Categories: Local Press

Cars written off and one driver taken to hospital with a back injury following A10 collision near Stretham

Ely Standard - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 13:10

A road traffic collision on the A10 near Stretham this morning resulted in two vehicles being written off.

Categories: Local Press

New specialist bike boosts patients’ recovery at West Suffolk Hospital

Newmarket Journal - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 12:42

Critical care patients at West Suffolk Hospital are now being given a better chance of making a good recovery following the introduction of a specialist ‘bed bike’ which aims to keep joints moving while combatting muscle wastage.

Categories: Local Press

Temporary coach parking on Ely outskirts with drop off points in the city show we have listened, council says

Ely Standard - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 12:34

Temporary coach parking plans are in the pipeline for Lancaster Business Park on the outskirts of Ely with visitors still able to get dropped off in the city centre.

Categories: Local Press

Father of three died after setting himself on fire on busy Cambridgeshire motorway Huntingdon inquest hears

Newmarket Journal - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 12:11

A father-of-three died after dousing himself in petrol and setting it alight while driving on a busy motorway in Cambridgeshire to a custody hearing, a Huntingdon inquest has heard.

Categories: Local Press

Police move against race hate leaflets as appeal for those who published them goes out to community

Ely Standard - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 12:11

Police have met with a local Polish community leader in Huntingdon following reports of the distribution of offensive material targeting them.

Categories: Local Press

New president for Ely Inner Wheel Club

Ely Standard - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 11:54

Ely Inner Wheel Club welcomed their new president at a meeting last Wednesday.

Categories: Local Press

Soham Village College are district rounders champs

Ely Standard - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 11:26

A group of girls from Soham Village College have earned the title of district rounders champions.

Categories: Local Press

Caught on camera - the moment two more cars come to grief on Littleport road making it at least 15 such incidents in three months

Ely Standard - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 11:14

Two more vehicles have come off a road at Littleport to add to the tally of 13 reported crashes – including a fatality- in the previous three months.

Categories: Local Press

Ely Museum First World War Family History Weekend - 2nd and 3rd July 2016

Events - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 11:09
Date:  Saturday, 2 July 2016 - 11:30am - 2:00pm First World War Family History Weekend

Saturday 2nd July

WWI Family History Experts will be on hand to help you discover your relatives who served in The Great War. Bring your medals and photos along for identification too!

Sunday 3rd July

A special event focusing on the Cambridgeshire Regiment's involvement in the Battle of the Somme. Explore the role this regiment played in the Battle.

Telephone:  01353 666655 Email: Website:  Ely Museum Location Ely Museum Market Street Ely CB7 4LS United Kingdom See map: Google Maps

Wildlife Watch: Watery Worlds - Saturday 2nd July 2016

Events - Mon, 27/06/2016 - 10:48
Date:  Saturday, 2 July 2016 - 2:00pm Wildlife Watch: Watery Worlds

Find out what is living under the water at Roswell Pits. Will you find a water scorpion or water beetle? Will you see a dragonfly?

Meet in Fisherman's Car Park, Willow Walk, Ely

Children under 8 must be accompanied by a parent or carer.


50p per chid

Contact:  Clive Telephone:  01353 610224 Website:  Wildlife Watch Location Fisherman's Car Park Ely CB7 4AT United Kingdom See map: Google Maps