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Also In Global Health News: Schistosomiasis Control In Cambodia; Microbicide Gel Trial In Monkeys; Tobacco Use In China

IRIN Examines Schistosomiasis Control Efforts In Cambodia

IRIN reports on how Cambodia’s efforts to control schistosomiasis, “a chronic and debilitating disease commonly known as snail fever,” have led to a drop in cases over the past decade. “Since 2002, the Cambodian government has overseen a vast deworming programme. In 2004, the country was the first to reach the WHO’s goal of covering three-quarters of school-aged children, or three million people. The campaign has led to a drastic fall in cases, said Duong Socheat, head of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control. “‘We’ve seen a very [big] drop [in schistosomiasis] from the last decade,’ Muth Sinuon, a parasitic worms specialist at the government body, said. She places current prevalence rates at less than 5 percent – a steep fall from the mid-1990s,” according to IRIN (1/6).

Experimental Microbicide Gel Protects Female Monkeys From SHIV For Up To 24 Hours, Researchers Report

“An experimental [microbicide] gel protected female monkeys from the [simian version of HIV] in a test designed to mimic human sexual transmission,” researchers reported in the journal PLoS One on Wednesday, Reuters reports (Fox, 1/6). After two weeks of daily application, the researchers found the gel offered “significant protection against SHIV-RT infection for up to 24 hours” (Kenney et al., 1/5). “The study joins a growing body of experiments that are beginning to show progress in” one day preventing HIV/AIDS, Reuters adds (1/6).

Report Documents Tobacco Control Issues In China

“China’s tobacco industry is foiling efforts to control smoking and Chinese leaders must give stronger support to measures to control tobacco use, an international panel of experts said in a report on Thursday,” Reuters reports (Lyn, 1/6). “The health and other costs of smoking already exceed the tobacco industry’s economic contributions by at least $9 billion, said [the] report,” according to the Associated Press. “If trends continue, by 2030 an estimated 3.5 million Chinese will die from smoking each year – three times the current level, it said, citing China’s failure to take basic measures such as passing a national law to ban smoking in indoor public places and raising the price of cigarettes,” the news service writes (1/5). United Press International adds, “The new estimate was sharply higher than the previous estimate of 3 million deaths by 2050, pointing to the spreading smoking epidemic” (1/5).