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"World Health Minute" 29 June, 2017

News Highlights
WHO hopes Yemeni cholera outbreak is half done at 218,000 cases A major cholera outbreak in Yemen may have reached the halfway mark at 218,798 cases as a massive emergency response has begun to curb its spread two months into the epidemic. Soon after the outbreak began, the WHO saw a risk that it could affect 300,000 people within six months. But it spread at double that speed, prompting a far-reaching emergency response that may have turned the corner as WHO says the strength of the response will make a difference
Stripping Americans of health insurance could be deadly: study Health insurance saves lives – that’s the conclusion of a report released just in time to weigh into the debate among Senate Republicans considering a bill that could strip millions of Americans of coverage. “Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that lack of insurance is sometimes deadly,” co-author Dr. David Himmelstein, a professor at the City University of New York’s Hunter College School of Public Health, said. Based on findings from a variety of large studies, Americans without health insurance faced 40 percent higher odds of dying during the study periods than the privately insured, the report found. “Being uninsured is deadly,” co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler said. “That was the conclusion from a 2002 Institute of Medicine report. The evidence that’s accumulated over the last 15 years actually strengthens the Institute of Medicine’s conclusions”
Experts find new strain of cholera that spreads faster Forty-five strains of ‘vibrio’ cholera were isolated from 10 different places in India and their genetic modules compared to the Haitian strain, which was responsible for the outbreak of cholera in 2010 in Haiti. The new strain does not lead to sporadic cases, but attacks groups of people, which is why it is stated to be virulent. The samples were taken from sewage treatment plants in Hyderabad and 16 strains were isolated, showing that that there was a gene mutation. The new strain of vibrio cholera showed that it had minor difference from the existing strain and this difference didn’t affect the toxin production in the bacteria
Politics of Death: Land conflict and murder go `hand in hand` in Brazil The scale of violence, role of farming in the economy, hazy nature of property ownership and impunity make land conflicts particularly dangerous in Brazil. Brazil`s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for protecting the land rights of indigenous people, has missed its own deadline to demarcate the land, or in essence to ring fence it for indigenous people. "The government only thinks about agribusiness, not us Guarani-Kaiowa," indigenous activist Elson Gomes said. "We don`t have enough land or a place of our own to survive"
Preparedness, surveillance and response
Experts find new strain of cholera that spreads faster
Forty-five strains of ‘vibrio’ cholera were isolated from 10 different places in India and their genetic modules compared to the Haitian strain, which was responsible for the outbreak of cholera in 2010 in Haiti. The new strain does not lead to sporadic cases, but attacks groups of people, which is why it is stated to be virulent. The samples were taken from sewage treatment plants in Hyderabad and 16 strains were isolated, showing that that there was a gene mutation. The new strain of vibrio cholera showed that it had minor difference from the existing strain and this difference didn’t affect the toxin production in the bacteria
WHO hopes Yemeni cholera outbreak is half done at 218,000 cases
A major cholera outbreak in Yemen may have reached the halfway mark at 218,798 cases as a massive emergency response has begun to curb its spread two months into the epidemic. Soon after the outbreak began, the WHO saw a risk that it could affect 300,000 people within six months. But it spread at double that speed, prompting a far-reaching emergency response that may have turned the corner as WHO says the strength of the response will make a difference
113 malaria cases set alarm bells ringing in Delhi
With monsoon approaching, people in the city have another health worry — malaria. The city has already witnessed 113 cases of the diseases, while the numbers of dengue cases have inched close to 100. According to a corporation data released on Tuesday, the number of chikungunya cases recorded stand at 149. Of the 113 people affected by malaria, 70 belonged to Delhi, while the rest were traced to other states. Officials said at least 40 malaria cases have been recorded this month alone
With 113 Cases, Malaria Makes a Dangerous Comeback in Delhi
Malaria rampant, over 6k cases registered so far
The number of people landing in hospitals due to the diseases caused by the vector has increased manifold. To date, over 6,000 malaria cases have been registered in the State. The supply of mosquito nets in agency areas has not been implemented yet and fogging measures are also not being carried out on a regular basis. Malaria fevers are rampant in coastal Andhra Pradesh right from Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore and Chittoor districts
‘Clean Kerala’ campaign: State government finally wakes up to over 100 fever deaths in 2017
More than 100 people have died of fever in 2017 alone, with official data from the Health Department revealing that around 14 lakh people were affected by communicable diseases this year. While 53 people have died of H1N1, there were 800 confirmed cases of swine flu. Data also showed that until June this year, there were 7,300 confirmed cases of dengue, with 13 people dying from the mosquito-borne disease. Health Department stats reveal there were 204,926 cases of Hepatitis A and B, and 295 cases of malaria. And while these numbers are only from government hospitals, the actual figures may be twice this, with a number of patients going to private hospitals in Kerala as well
H1N1 claims 260 deaths in Maharashtra, Health dept yet to procure vaccine: report
The H1N1 influenza virus has overtaken dengue and malaria to become the biggest killer among seasonal ailments in Maharashtra, claiming as many as 260 lives so far, with Pune witnessing the highest number of deaths – 62 – this year, a media report said. Despite the high occurrence of deaths, state authorities are yet to procure a vaccine against the new strain. This, despite a strong recommendation by the state committee earlier this year to prevent communicable diseases
Mosquito Menace: New Species Of Deadly Mosquitoes Enters Delhi
Yet another malaria causing species of mosquitoes have arrived in the city, putting people`s lives at risk. The National Institute of Malaria Research has recently found two species of the carrier anopheles mosquito-stephensi (urban vector) and culicifacies (rural vector) circulating this year, and resurfacing after 10 years. The Municipal Corporations of Delhi have reported around 113 cases of malaria, which are racing ahead of the number of Dengue cases
Cholera vaccine faces major test in war-torn Yemen
Imagine a poor, war-ravaged country the size of Spain where more than 20 million people are threatened by a deadly disease that’s spreading fast from city to city. You have 1 million doses of a vaccine at your disposal. Who would you try to protect? On 15 June, a group managing the modest global reserve of cholera vaccine decided to dispatch 1 million doses to the country, about half of what it had in stock; vaccina¬tion is set to begin in early July. It will be one of the biggest tests yet for the vaccine. But where to deploy it is still under debate, says Dominique Legros, a cholera expert at the World Health Organization
13 dengue fever cases reported in SW China
Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China`s Yunnan Province has seen a surge in dengue fever cases, with 13 reported since the prefecture`s first case of this year on June 23. An emergency response has been launched and measures have been taken for disease prevention and control
Dengue fever risks increase in Mekong Delta
Thousands of people in the region were infected with dengue fever since the beginning of the year at an alarming rate compared to 2016. The number of dengue infections has risen significantly in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, particularly in Can Tho City and the provinces of Dong Thap, Ben Tre, Ca Mau and Tien Giang, according to the Ministry of Health. Dr. Huynh Minh Truc, director of Can Tho Preventive Medicine Centre, said the city had seen nearly 600 cases of dengue fever since the beginning of the year. Can Tho’s Children Hospital has conducted 853 in-patient dengue fever treatments from patients both inside and outside the province, and about 2,600 out-patient cases, an increase of 10 per cent compared to the same period last year
Genetic analysis of H7N9 finds adaptations, clade patterns
In the latest genetic analysis of H7N9 avian influenza samples from China, researchers said viruses circulating in the current fifth wave fall into two geographically separate clades of Yangtze River Delta lineages that have undergone substantial adaptation. Most human cases in the current wave are from the YRD lineage, which aren`t as reactive to existing candidate vaccine viruses. The YRD viruses have formed two subsets, YRD-1 and YRD-2. Within the YRD-2 subset, the team observed two clades, one (YRD-2a) circulating in central and eastern China and the other (YRD-2b) mainly found in eastern Guangdong province, its likely origin. They said the YRD-2b clade also includes the recently identified highly pathogenic H7N9 viruses
Four H7N9 cases reported in SW China
Southwest China`s Yunnan Province reported four cases of human infection of the H7N9 bird flu virus, local health authorities said. The cases were discovered in Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. Of the four patients, one has fully recovered and three others are still in hospital for treatment, said a statement of the Yunnan provincial health and family planning commission
Quatre cas humains de H7N9 signalés dans le sud-ouest de la Chine
Cholera kills more than 60 people in South Sudan
A cholera outbreak in South Sudan’s Namurunynag State in Eastern Equatoria has killed more than 60 people in one month, local Governor Louse Lobong Lojore said. The governor and the Health minister, Dr Riek Gai Kok, appeared before lawmakers in Juba to explain how 16 children died in Kapoeta town after they were vaccinated against measles last month
UN Brought Cholera to Haiti. Now It Is Fumbling Its Effort to Atone
A $400 million voluntary trust fund for Haiti to battle cholera was created last year by Ban Ki-moon, then the secretary general, when he apologized for the United Nations’ role after having repeatedly denied any responsibility. But the fund, meant in part to compensate cholera victims, garnered only a few million dollars and is now nearly empty. Without an immediate infusion of funds, warned UN deputy secretary general, Amina J. Mohammed, “the intensified cholera response and control efforts cannot be sustained through 2017 and 2018”
Andhra tragedy: 16 tribals die of water borne diseases in East Godavari village
At least 16 tribals of a village in East Godavari district died of suspected water poisoning, malaria and typhoid since May 29. Andhra Pradesh Home Minister N Chinnarajappa said that a dead cow may have contaminated their primary water source. He said that nine persons died in the hamlet itself earlier, while another seven who were brought to primary health centres died in the last two weeks
How Baking Soda Could Help Fight Deadly Superbugs
Scientists are searching for better tests to identify which antibiotic drugs will work using a universal test that is between 50 and 60 years old. The traditional test uses a substance called the Mueller-Hinton broth, which enables many types of bacteria to grow. A sample from a patient is then pitted against different antibiotics to see what works best. Recent experiments show some bacteria cheat the standard test, but now scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara have hit on a way to make it more accurate using sodium bicarbonate, which is also found in human tissue, and is tricked into thinking the bacteria is in the body by the addition of the chemical
Authorities confirm bird flu case in southern Belgium
Belgian health authorities said they have confirmed a case of bird flu in southern Belgium concerning the highly contagious H5N8 virus, and established a 3km perimeter around the area where the transport of birds and eggs was forbidden. In the perimeter around the village of Wangenies, just outside of Charleroi, authorities also introduced a ban on feeding birds outside. The measures will stay in place for at least three weeks
African swine fever detected in wild boars in Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has detected African swine fever (ASF) in two wild boars, the Agriculture Ministry said. The infected animals were found in Zlin, 300 km (186 miles) south-east of the capital Prague, State Veterinary Administration spokesman Petr Vorlicek said. No pig farm was affected so far. A 10-km sanitary perimeter has been established including a farm with around 5,000 pigs that are being inspected
South Africa bans sale of live hens to contain bird flu
South Africa has banned the sale of live hens throughout the country in a bid to control an outbreak of highly contagious H5N8 bird flu, but no humans have been affected, the government said. Exports of processed poultry products, live chickens and fresh produce will continue depending on the requirements of importing countries, the department of agriculture said. "To date, no human cases of infection with avian influenza H5N8 have been reported. However, people handling wild birds, sick or dying poultry must wear protective clothing and wash their hands with disinfectants," the department said
Cholera spreads to East Darfur refugee camp
The first cases of cholera have appeared in a South Sudanese refugee camp and a village in East Darfur, as five people reportedly died and more than 100 were infected. Sheikhs in Kriu refugee camp for South Sudanese people, 35 km south of Ed Daein city, reported the deaths of three refugees from cholera. 61 people have been infected. Within a week, the first reports of the spread of cholera in Shangil Tobaya in North Darfur have been accompanied by reports of infections in South Darfur (Kalma camp) and East Darfur
Sudan: Cholera Spreads to East Darfur Refugee Camp
Yemeni PM declares state of emergency over cholera outbreak
Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid Bin Daghr has declared a state of emergency in health sectors in the provinces of Abyan, Aden, Lahij, Dhale, and Shabwah. He also urged the rapid reporting of cases. Bin Daghr asked local authority leaders to be highly prepared to monitor and control cholera cases in hospitals and health centers in these provinces. The UN agency added that the decline in cholera cases should still be taken under consideration, as 1,400 have died in two months with nearly 219,000 suspected cases
Cholera outbreak kills 795 in Somalia since January
An outbreak of cholera/acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) in Somalia has killed 795 people since January, the UN humanitarian agency said. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that there was a 19-percent decrease in the number of new cases in the first week of June, which can be attributed to timely and effective intervention efforts over the past months. The UN also cites figures from the ministry of health of Somalia reported 1979 AWD/cholera cases and 13 deaths between June 12-18. "A cumulative total of 53,015 cases including 795 deaths have been reported since the cholera outbreak started in January 2017. The case-fatality rate of 1.5 percent remains above the emergency threshold of 1 percent," the UN said
Health systems
When Cutting Access to Health Care, There’s a Price to Pay
A study about equity in access to health care for 21 countries in 2000 revealed that the United States had the highest degree of inequity in doctor use, even higher than Mexico — which is both poorer and generally more inequitable. And as noted in a 2003 study by the Institute of Medicine, insurance status, more than any other demographic or economic factor, determines the timeliness and quality of health care, if it is received at all. A review of studies published this week in Annals of Internal Medicine reported that health insurance substantially raises people’s chances of survival. It improves the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure, significantly cutting mortality rates. It reduces death rates from breast cancer and trauma. Over all, the review concluded that health insurance reduces the chance of dying among adults 18 to 64 years old by between 3 and 29 percent
Technology can accelerate universal healthcare in Africa - WHO
Integrating technology into Africa’s healthcare systems is key to opening them up faster to the poorest and most vulnerable people, the World Health Organization`s Africa director said. Using more technology presents a “big opportunity” for rolling out universal health coverage in the region, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti said ahead of the first WHO Africa Health Forum this week in Rwanda. Technology can pave the way to improvements in data management, training for health workers and making referrals, among other areas, she added
U.S. Republican healthcare bill imperilled with 22 million seen losing insurance
Twenty-two million Americans would lose insurance over the next decade under the U.S. Senate Republican healthcare bill, a nonpartisan congressional office said, complicating the path forward for the already-fraught legislation. Moderate senators are concerned about millions of people losing insurance. Key conservative senators have said the Senate bill does not do enough to repeal Obamacare. The CBO assessment that an additional 15 million people would be uninsured in 2018 under the bill and its prediction that insurance premiums would skyrocket over the first two years prompted concern from both sides
Stripping Americans of health insurance could be deadly: study
Health insurance saves lives – that’s the conclusion of a report released just in time to weigh into the debate among Senate Republicans considering a bill that could strip millions of Americans of coverage. “Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that lack of insurance is sometimes deadly,” co-author Dr. David Himmelstein, a professor at the City University of New York’s Hunter College School of Public Health, said. Based on findings from a variety of large studies, Americans without health insurance faced 40 percent higher odds of dying during the study periods than the privately insured, the report found. “Being uninsured is deadly,” co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler said. “That was the conclusion from a 2002 Institute of Medicine report. The evidence that’s accumulated over the last 15 years actually strengthens the Institute of Medicine’s conclusions”
Fake Percocet overdoses sweep Georgia
On Tuesday, June 27, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation classified a new fentanyl analogue as being resistant to the life-saving drugs, Narcan and Naloxone, that are a counteractant that revives patients after overdosing. The fatal form of fentanyl, known as acrylfentanyl, is so dangerous that it can kill someone by physical contact. It has not yet been confirmed by the GBI if the new acrylfentanyl is related to the mass overdose of counterfeit Percocet earlier this month
U.S. Malaria Donations Saved Almost 2 Million African Children
Over the last decade, American donations to fight malaria in Africa have saved the lives of nearly two million children, according to a new analysis of mortality rates in 32 countries there. The study looked at the long-term effects of the President’s Malaria Initiative, a program started by President George W. Bush in 2005 that has spent over $500 million a year since 2010. The results debunk one of the persistent myths of foreign aid: that it has no effect because more children survive each year anyway as economies improve
Unicef: Nurses’ strike will fuel more casualties in outbreaks
The United Nations Children’s Fund has raised the alarm that the nurses’ strike, now in its 23rd day, will fuel more casualties in the disease outbreaks being reported in several parts of Kenya.The UN agency wrote that the strike has impeded response. In a periodical report on the health needs of Kenya, UNICEF listed the disease outbreaks: “There is an active cholera outbreak in five counties (Garissa, Nairobi, Murang’a, Turkana and Nakuru) with 581 confirmed cases and seven deaths”. This excludes the recent cholera outbreak in Nairobi’s Weston Hotel
Kenya: Unicef - Nurses` Strike Will Fuel More Casualties in Outbreaks
Pharmaceuticals regulator defends itself against quality breaches
The Kenyan state regulator of the multi-billion shillings pharmaceutical sector has defended itself against claims that it has allowed a local manufacturer of medicines to continue operation even without meeting quality standards. The Pharmacy and Poisons Board issued a statement saying it allowed Mac’s Pharmaceuticals to continue operation since all its essential drugs including painkillers, anti-malaria drugs and anti-bacterials are of good quality, safe and efficacious for consumption in line with required standards. The claims, circulated on media platforms, had suggested that Mac’s Pharmaceuticals was found to be in breach of Good Manufacturing Practices for medicines in July last year but PPB has not yet suspended its license despite being informed
Adulterated blood racket revealed in India
Three people in India, including the managing director of a hospital, have been arrested for allegedly adulterating blood with saline and selling it to patients. Dr Vakati Chakravathy, the managing director of Venus Hospital, along with manager Chepuri Shravan and blood bank technician Bandi Prem Kumar admitted they had tampered with the blood products in order to make a profit. The blood dilution scandal came to the attention of authorities after a complaint was made by the son of a farmer who needed a blood transfusion
One Nightmare Scenario in Senate Bill: Drug Rationing
Senate Republicans may not realize it, but their repeal-and-replace health-care legislation, if passed, would set the U.S. on the road to European-style price controls and rationing of prescription medications. This would follow fairly directly from the enormous cuts to Medicaid that the bill would impose
Pharmacists warn about online buying of prescription drugs
Pharmacists have warned people not to risk buying prescription medicines online or from unauthorised sources. Community pharmacist and president of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) Daragh Connolly said buying medicines online was “deadly dangerous”. “You don’t know what you are taking or what effect it might have on you,” he said
Communicable diseases
Venezuela`s latest deadly plight: AIDS
Affordable drugs, education for at-risk groups, free condoms all helped control and reduce the country’s HIV epidemic. Stephanie Nolen, Latin America correspondent for Canada’s Globe & Mail, who covered the AIDS pandemic in Africa more than a decade ago, was recently in Venezuela which she described thus, "There is nowhere in the world today where people are dying of AIDS at the pace and in the sheer numbers that they are in Venezuela: Even the poorest African countries today have HIV treatment programs"
Vaccination may be curbing ER visits for shingles
Emergency room visits for shingles fell in the past decade for people aged 60 and older but rose for most younger age groups. The decrease among older people may be due to more of them getting the shingles vaccine, U.S. researchers suggest. Anyone who has had chicken pox or the chicken pox vaccine can develop shingles, but the risk increases sharply after age 50 and vaccination against the shingles-causing virus is recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention starting at age 60
Cameroon`s sex workers brush off beatings to send clients for HIV tests
While one in 25 people in Cameroon are living with HIV, more than a third of the country`s sex workers are infected, meaning they hold the key to halting the spread of the virus. Despite the frequent insults, threats and attacks, sex workers are helping to save the lives of their clients from the Central African nation`s biggest killer - HIV. Sex workers are persuading these men to take free HIV tests in mobile clinics, set up inside or nearby brothels and run by teams of doctors, nurses, social workers and lab technicians
Lawmakers push White House for action after HIV panel resignations
The leaders of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus are demanding answers from the White House after a mass exodus from a presidential advisory group. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the co-chairs of that group, delivered a letter last week to President Trump that called for the White House to back off proposed budget cuts to HIV/AIDS programs, revamp the currently blank website it scrubbed in January, and to appoint a national AIDS policy director, all after six council members jointly resigned
President Trump wants you to know he actually does care about HIV/AIDS
In the nearly eight months since he was elected president, Trump has managed to alienate a diverse range of stakeholders in the healthcare world — from scientists researching autism to parents of children with preexisting conditions. But the backlash from the HIV/AIDS community has been especially fierce. In a very public display of frustration, Scott Schoettes, a former member of PACHA, accused the Trump administration of having “no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Writing in a commentary in Newsweek, he also said Trump and his government have sought zero input from experts on their HIV policy and have pushed legislation that “will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease”
D.C. reports sharp decline in new HIV infections
In 2007, D.C. residents were diagnosed with HIV at a rate of nearly four per day. That rate dropped to less than one resident per day in 2016. The 74 percent decline in new cases — from 1,333 in 2007 to 347 in 2016 — can be attributed to factors that include a needle-exchange program, condom distribution and increasing use of preventive medication to halt the spread of the disease, city officials
WHO for use of devices to test multiple diseases
The World Health Organization released new advice to countries, recommending the use of multi-disease testing devices for Tuberculosis, HIV and Hepatitis. A single device called the GeneXpert can be used to diagnose TB and HIV infections, and quantitatively measure HIV and hepatitis C viral loads. India recently procured 600 GeneXpert machines for the National Tuberculosis programme. “With the power and adaptability of molecular technologies, we are in an era of great advancement for the rapid diagnosis of many diseases using single platforms,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme
China helps Guyana battle Zika, other infectious diseases
China has donated at least GYD$20 million in medical equipment to Guyana to aid the fight against Zika and other infectious diseases. The equipment will be used in the Reference Laboratory of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).“I want to thank the Chinese Embassy and the people of China for the continued support in the medical field and look forward to other support for the Reference Laboratory”, Health Minister, Volda Lawrence was quoted in a Ministry of Public Health statement as saying following the signing ceremony at the GPHC
Study links deforestation and malaria
A new study of 67 less-developed, malaria-endemic nations, titled Anthropogenic Forest Loss and Malaria Prevalence: a Comparative Examination of the Causes and Disease Consequences of Deforestation in Developing Nations, finds a link between deforestation and increasing malaria rates across developing
SA/Japan Collaboration on Early Warning System for Malaria – CSIR
South Africa has experienced an unprecedented outbreak of malaria in several districts in Limpopo this year. The CSIR-hosted Alliance for Collaboration on Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS) Programme, in collaboration with researchers in Japan, have studied the malaria outbreak in Limpopo, as well as worldwide climate phenomena and discovered that there is an association between climate change and malaria
Kenyans are first in Africa to get generic of latest AIDS drug
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said. Dolutegravir is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. ‘The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper,’ said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as ‘the most effective HIV treatment currently on the market’
FG Declares Nigeria Meningitis Free
The Federal Government has officially declared Nigeria free from the latest ‘type c’ deadly Cerebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM) which has claimed thousands of lives since the outbreak in 2016. The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Oyewole disclosed this to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council weekly meeting in Abuja. He said that there has been no polio case recorded for the year 2017 while cholera outbreak in Kwara State has fizzled out
Scientists Illuminate Structures Vital to Virus Replication
Scientists at the Morgridge Institute for Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have, for the first time, imaged molecular structures vital to how a major class of viruses replicates within infected cells. The research uses pioneering cryo-electron tomography to reveal the complex viral replication process in vivid detail, opening up new avenues to potentially disrupt, dismantle or redirect viral machinery
Morgridge researchers reveal complex viral replication process in unprecedented detail
Two new cases of the plague have popped up — here`s why it keeps appearing in the US
This week, the New Mexico Department of Health confirmed that a 52-year-old woman and a 62-year-old woman were hospitalized with cases of the plague. Both cases were in Santa Fe county. These aren`t isolated incidents — there was another human plague case in Sante Fe county this year and four cases each in New Mexico in 2016 and 2015. There are usually a few plague infections in the US every year, mostly in the West. Plague is a bigger problem in places that have a harder time shutting down outbreaks. In the US, disease detectives try to find every person an infected individual came into contact with. That`s harder in regions with humanitarian crises or ongoing conflicts, according to the World Health Organization
Non communicable diseases
40 Million Death Per Year Due to Non Communicable Disease : WHO
Non-communicable diseases are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors. Cardiovascular diseases are the most prominent factors for causing the maximum deaths (17 million), followed by cancers (8.8-million), respiratory diseases (3.9-million), and diabetes (1.6-million). These four groups of diseases account for over 80 per cent of all premature NCD deaths. NCDs disproportionately affect people in low and middle income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths – 31 million – occur
Non-Communicable Diseases Kill 40m People Each Year: WHO
Whole genome sequencing not ready for routine use: study
A study testing the value of DNA sequencing as part of routine medical care showed that roughly one in five people carried a mutation linked with rare disease, but few actually benefited from that information, researchers reported. The finding comes from the first rigorous study examining the impact of whole genome sequencing in healthy primary care patients. Scientists for years have predicted that a person`s DNA would eventually become part of every patient`s medical chart. The new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, put that notion to the test
Preventable Deaths Surge in the U.S.
More than 130,000 Americans are killed annually by preventable causes, and the number has been climbing at a faster rate recently because of opioid abuse and car crashes involving drivers distracted by mobile devices. The death count jumped more than 7 percent in 2015 to about 146,600, according to a report by the National Safety Council. Vehicle mishaps and poisonings, driven by opioid abuse, killed more than 80,000 people combined in 2015. Preventable accidents cost society about $850 billion a year, according to the group
Heart-healthy goals tied to lower blood pressure among blacks
Black Americans may be able to lower their risk for high blood pressure by following the seven heart-healthy steps laid out by the American Heart Association (AHA), according to a new study. The AHA`s "Life`s Simple 7" program focuses on seven goals: a healthy weight, a healthy diet, healthy physical activity levels, quitting smoking, and good control of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. The risk of high blood pressure decreased as the number of heart healthy habits followed by black Americans increased, researchers found
Fewer admissions for heart failure, but blacks still fare worse than whites
Between 2002 and 2013, hospital admissions for heart failure fell by nearly a third in the U.S., but blacks are still more than twice as likely as whites to be hospitalized for the condition, researchers say. “These findings are impressive and suggest that efforts to prevent heart failure and improve the outpatient treatment of heart failure have had overall success in reducing the number of heart failure patients needing hospitalizations,” senior study author Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow said. “However, the improvements were not equally distributed across race/ethnicities and genders, and additional efforts are needed.”
Merck heart drug surprises with positive result; questions linger
Merck & Co said its experimental cholesterol drug from a class with a history of consistent failure lowered deaths and heart attacks in a large trial, but the company has yet to decide whether to seek approval despite the surprise success. The drug maker reported only that the drug, anacetrapib, met the main goal in the 4-year trial of about 30,000 high-risk heart patients already on cholesterol-lowering statins. It showed a statistically significant reduction in the combined risk of heart attacks, heart-related death and need for repeat artery-clearing procedures
Vaping teens more likely to take up regular cigarettes
Adolescents and young adults who try e-cigarettes are more than three times as likely to take up smoking traditional cigarettes as their peers who haven`t tried the devices, a research review suggests. "E-cigarette use among teens and young adults could increase the future burden of tobacco by creating a new generation of adult smokers who might have otherwise not begun smoking," said lead study author Samir Soneji
Lifestyle illnesses reach tribals too: Study
A two-year study by a professor from a Chennai-based government-run epidemiological department has revealed that both urban and rural areas of India are undergoing an epidemiological transformation and the nation will soon face a huge burden of non-communicable diseases. The findings are based on a study conducted by Professor Vijayaprasad Gopichandran from the Katkari tribe of Raigad district. They show prevalence of 16.8 per cent hypertension and 7.3 per cent diabetes among tribe members who were observed and tested over a period of two years
Family-led rehabilitation ineffective for stroke patients, says Lancet study
Family-led rehabilitation is ineffective for stroke patients, a recent study has found. The study titled — ‘family-led rehabilitation after stroke in India’ — published in The Lancet is based on one of the largest stroke rehabilitation trials that was conducted at 14 centres across India, following up 1,250 stroke patients over six months
High NCD concerns among children
A high number of students are suffering from Non-Communicable Diseases forcing stakeholders of the education system to rethink the delivery of its physical education programs. Speaking at a workshop on Quality Physical Education today, Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Dr Mahendra Reddy said stakeholders needed to place children at the centre of learning. “Our children all over the world are falling prey to junk food and poor eating and lifestyle habits which are affecting their growth and development," he was quoted saying in a Government statement
Too many children are sun tanned because parents are increasingly abandoning sun cream, NHS England warns
Health experts claim that a golden glow may be more harmful than it appears as they warn that too many children are becoming sun tanned because parents are increasingly abandoning sun cream. NHS England said the findings showed a "worryingly relaxed attitude" towards sun care among the parents of young children, highlighting the fact that one in ten parents of children aged 2-7 admitting they have encouraged them to sunbathe. The study, of 1,000 parents with children aged 11 and under, found that more than a fifth do not apply any sunscreen on their child until they are visibly starting to burn
Suntans on children `are not healthy`
Promoting health through the life course
France to legislate on assisted reproduction: spokesman
The French government wants to give lesbian couples and single women access to assisted reproduction, a government spokesman said, setting the scene for a major extension of gay rights under new President Emmanuel Macron. Spokesman Christophe Castaner said the government would not rush the issue and would aim to build a consensus. France saw often-violent protests leading up to the legalization in 2013 of marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. Castaner said Macron had promised to pursue the issue once an influential ethics panel made its view known, and that the goal now would be to legislate on the matter
California to list herbicide as cancer-causing; Monsanto vows fight
Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto`s Roundup weed killer, will be added to California`s list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7, the state`s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment said. Monsanto vowed to continue its legal fight against the designation and called the decision "unwarranted on the basis of science and the law." The listing is the latest legal setback for the company, which has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization`s International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is "probably carcinogenic" in a controversial ruling in 2015
French ethics panel backs lesbian procreation help
Campaigners for lesbian motherhood got a significant boost in France on Tuesday when a panel of ethics specialists said that female couples and single women should be granted access to sperm-donor techniques of medically assisted reproduction. The recommendation from the National Consultative Committee on Ethics (CCNE) comes two months after President Emmanuel Macron promised to legislate on access to medically assisted procreation for lesbians if elected
Rubbish piles raise health fears in strike-hit Greece
Sacks of rubbish and rotting vegetables piled high on the pavements of Athens` port of Piraeus on Monday - signs of a mounting labour dispute fast turning into a public health crisis. The strikers fear job losses as Greece wrestles with its seventh year of austerity demanded by international creditors. More specifically, the workers want better terms for short-term staff threatened, they say, by a court order banning extensions to their contracts
Child marriages will cost poor countries trillions of dollars
Child marriage will cost developing countries trillions of dollars in the next decade, seriously hampering global efforts to eradicate poverty, the World Bank said. An estimated one in three girls in the developing world is married before the age of 18, with one girl married off every two seconds, according to experts. The World Bank said ending child marriage would reduce population growth, boost girls` educational achievements and increase their earnings. It would also lead to women having healthier and better educated children, further boosting prosperity
Construction on wetlands ramps up water stress in Zimbabwe
"A wetland acts like a sponge which absorbs water and then recharges underground water so that the water table remains high. Construction disrupts this process," said Sandra Gobvu of Environment Africa, an NGO that works in southern Africa to promote sustainable development. When wetland areas are concreted over, much less water is absorbed, Gobvu added. Wetlands also help control flooding by absorbing excess water and releasing it gradually into water bodies, she said. "If we preserved them in their natural state, wetlands would actually help us adapt to the changing climatic conditions," said Barnabas Mawire, Environment Africa`s Zimbabwe country director
At food trading `chokepoints`, climate change could disrupt supplies - report
International trade in food relies on a small number of key ports, straits and roads, which face increasing risks of disruption due to climate change, a new report says. Disruptions caused by weather, conflict or politics at one of those so-called "chokepoints" could limit food supplies and push up prices, the study by British think-tank Chatham House warned. "The risks are growing as we all trade more with each other and as climate change takes hold," Laura Wellesley, one of the study`s authors, said
Politics of Death: Land conflict and murder go `hand in hand` in Brazil
The scale of violence, role of farming in the economy, hazy nature of property ownership and impunity make land conflicts particularly dangerous in Brazil. Brazil`s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for protecting the land rights of indigenous people, has missed its own deadline to demarcate the land, or in essence to ring fence it for indigenous people. "The government only thinks about agribusiness, not us Guarani-Kaiowa," indigenous activist Elson Gomes said. "We don`t have enough land or a place of our own to survive"
U.S. brands China as among worst human trafficking offenders
The U.S. State Department has placed China on its global list of the worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labour, a step that could aggravate tensions with Beijing that had eased under President Donald Trump. Myanmar was upgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List of nations that deserve special scrutiny, from Tier 3, those countries not complying with minimum U.S. standards and making no significant effort to do so. Afghanistan, Malaysia and Qatar moved up to Tier 2, a list of nations making significant efforts to comply
China launches five "green finance" pilot zones
China has launched five pilot zones to promote "green finance" and help pay for a war on pollution that is expected to cost at least 3 trillion yuan ($440 billion) a year, according to notices published by the central bank. The five zones will be set up in the provinces of Guangdong, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Zhejiang, as well as the far western region of Xinjiang, and financial institutions will be given a variety of incentives to provide credit and special funds for environmentally friendly industries
Homophobic bullying drops at UK schools but suicides bids `alarming` - study
Stonewall`s 2017 School Report questioned over 3,700 LGBT students and found one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual students have attempted suicide and two in five transgender pupils have tried to take their own lives. Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, said the group`s third School Report showed progress had been made, with 45 percent of LGBT pupils reporting bullying compared to 65 percent in 2007 and 55 percent in 2012. But she said suicide and self-harming remained too frequent - and one in 10 transgender students had received death threats
How investing in poor children saves lives and boosts the economy
UNICEF is launching a compelling report, Narrowing the Gaps: The power of investing in the poorest children, showing that investments in the most deprived children and communities provide greater value for money. The study indicates that every $1 million invested in the poorest children saves nearly twice as many lives as the same investments that do not reach the poor. These findings have important implications, also in Kenya, especially as the Government works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Kenya’s Vision 2030. The SDG child mortality target aims to end all preventable new born and child deaths by 2030. This universal goal demands urgent action to reach the still unreached children, families and communities
Major diseases, conditions that kill children before their fifth birthday
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest mortality rate of children under five years, with one child in 12 dying before their fifth birthday — far higher than the average ratio of one in 147 in high-income countries. In Part Two of the maternal health series, The Star Kenya seeks to find out the causes of infant mortality and what needs to be done — and has already been done — to reduce these numbers
Tap water dwindles as cities parched by South India drought
One of southern India`s worst droughts in decades has dried up reservoirs in the region, severely impacting the availability of drinking water in Chennai and other cities. Water supplies across the port city of Chennai have dropped by half, with the government saying tap water may dwindle to a trickle in the days to come. "We are supplying between 450 to 470 million litres of water every day," compared to the normal requirement of 830 million litres, said Arun Roy, of the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewage Board that supplies water across the city