The HPA carries out a broad spectrum of work relating to prevention of infectious disease.
This includes infectious disease surveillance, providing specialist and reference microbiology and microbial epidemiology, co-ordinating the investigation and cause of national and uncommon outbreaks, helping advise government on the risks posed by various infections and responding to international health alerts.
Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting) in England and Wales. HPA posts regular reports about norovirus infection rates throughout the peak season.
Influenza occurs most often in winter and usually peaks between December and March in the northern hemisphere. Illnesses resembling influenza that occur in the summer are usually due to other viruses.
Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite (a tiny organism) that causes an infection called cryptosporidiosis affecting people and cattle. The Health Protection Agency provides advice on controlling outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis. We monitor any outbreaks to try to find the source of the infection, so that we can help to prevent other people from becoming infected.