As part of its series on the relationships between human, animal and environmental health, titled “The Infection Loop,” HuffPost Green examines how changes in climate and landscape, human movement, agricultural practices, and microbe adaptation are affecting the spread of malaria. “Our disease-fighting weaponry has certainly improved in recent years, from the widespread distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to hopeful progress towards a malaria vaccine,” but some “experts suggest that getting ahead of the disease, let alone maintaining a lead, is far easier said than done,” according to the article, which includes quotes from malaria researchers working in several academic disciplines (Peeples, 11/16).
Inter Press Service examines how doctors and aid workers in and around Mogadishu, Somalia, “are warning that famine victims in internally displaced camps have become vulnerable to contagious diseases like cholera and measles, as conditions here are ripe for an outbreak.” Sanitation and access to food and drinking water are the greatest concerns, IPS reports, adding that “[w]hile international aid continues to be delivered to Somalia, relief efforts at some camps have dwindled or stopped.” The news service writes, “The Somali government’s Mogadishu spokesman Mohamed Abdullahi Arig told IPS that the government needed help to prevent a possible cholera outbreak and to prevent other communicable diseases from spreading in the camps. ‘The government is more vigilant, but our capacity is too little. We need the international community’s assistance in this sector,’ Arig said” (Abokar, 11/17).
“Health authorities say 207 cases of typhoid are being treated in Zimbabwe’s capital after a prolonged spell of unusually hot weather amid acute water shortages,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. Prosper Chonzi, Harare city council health director, “said Tuesday the disease will be difficult to contain in impoverished townships relying on water from shallow, makeshift wells and marshlands,” and that “humanitarian agencies have been asked to help provide clean water,” the news service writes.
In this post in the Global Post’s “Global Pulse” blog, journalist John Donnelly reports on how a machine developed by researchers at the TB Laboratory at the Lung Center of the Philippines “that can detect multi-drug resistant [tuberculosis (MDR-TB)] in record time may revolutionize TB treatment.” According to the blog, the GeneXpert, dubbed by researchers as the “espresso maker,” grew out of a collaboration among partners put together by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics in Geneva and “can detect [MDR-TB] in two hours instead of the old way of growing cultures that took two months.”
“Europe’s health is suffering, with around 80,000 cases of tuberculosis infection a year and serious problems with measles, HIV and threats from ‘superbug’ infections, an annual health report” from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said Thursday, Reuters reports. The report said infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance, especially multi-drug resistance, are major concerns, according to the news service. The “report also identified several emergent diseases in Europe it said might pose a risk to public health,” including West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya, Reuters notes.
PlusNews examines the difficulties in diagnosing and treating multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in children, writing, “With weaker immune systems, children who contract TB — most often from parents — progress to active disease in about a year. But just how many children are affected is not known as there is almost no research into children and MDR-TB — and very little useful guidance on how to treat them.”
“Researchers are developing an electronic nose that would sniff out tuberculosis (TB) like a Breathalyzer detects alcohol, putting an end to current time-consuming tests and possibly saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year,” the Globe and Mail reports (D’Aliesio, 11/7). A team of Indian researchers is planning to have a prototype in hospitals by October 2013, after receiving a $950,000 grant on Monday from Grand Challenges Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the Guardian (Tran, 11/7).
In this post on the PLoS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, Grania Brigden, the tuberculosis (TB) adviser to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, writes that while “[t]his year’s Global Tuberculosis Control report shows the beginning of a decline in the global tuberculosis epidemic, … there is…
The Guardian profiles Brian Brink, chief medical officer at Anglo American, South Africa’s largest private-sector employer, and the company’s efforts to treat and prevent HIV among its employees. According to the newspaper, “HIV affects 12,000 of its employees, or 16 percent of its 70,000-strong permanent staff.” The Guardian continues, “For Anglo, a healthy workforce is a more loyal and productive one,” which is why it offers HIV testing and treatment free-of-charge to employees, runs HIV prevention programs, and promotes gender equality. “Not only is it a moral imperative to get on top of the AIDS problem, it’s also good for business, and the wider South African economy. The prevalence of AIDS and HIV [the virus that leads to AIDS] probably lops one percent off the country’s GDP,” Brink said (11/3).
Health officials in the northern Angolan province of Uige are on high alert “after a 14-month-old boy tested positive for polio, which has made a resurgence in the country, UNICEF said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports (11/3). “After eliminating new polio cases for three years in succession following its 27-year civil war, Angola saw a strain of the crippling virus reappear in 2005,” the news service adds.