The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said it is "games ready" to protect the visitors and participants of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games from infectious diseases and environmental hazards.
Under a seven-year programme, the agency has enhanced its syndromic surveillance systems to include services more likely to be used by international visitors such as emergency departments, walk-in-centres and out-of-hours GP services.
The current systems record the number of people with symptoms of infectious and other acute diseases attending GP surgeries or calling NHS Direct.
The HPA has also deployed undiagnosed serious infectious illness (USII) surveillance systems in UK hospitals to detect potentially new and emerging infections.
A new gastrointestinal test has also been developed to rapidly detect viruses, bacteria and parasites which cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
HPA Olympics lead and director for London, Dr Brian McCloskey said, "These new and enhanced systems will provide the first indication of emerging infections in the community and hospitals if they are to occur."
"Our experts will analyse surveillance data daily to identify issues of public health significance that could have implications for the Games," added McCloskey.
The agency has also asked visitors to the 2012 Games to prevent the spread of infectious disease by practicing good hand hygiene and being up-to-date with routine vaccinations.
HPA chief executive Justin McCracken said other countries have reported improved public health systems as a result of hosting Olympic and Paralympic Games and the agency expects the same for the UK.
"In fact, we intend to continue with our enhanced syndromic surveillance systems after the Games have finished, as a legacy," McCracken added.
"We will also use the information collected through these systems to help inform planning for future Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Image: UK Health Protection Agency headquarters in Central London. Photo: Stacey Harris.