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News Article | March 28, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, March 6, 2016. REUTERS/Alvin Baez More CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have identified a genetically modified strain of mice that develop Zika, an important tool needed for testing vaccines and medicines to treat the virus that is rapidly spreading across the Americas and the Caribbean. Early tests on the mice show the virus growing in the testes, offering clues about how a virus typically spread by mosquito bites can be transmitted sexually. "We are going to do experiments to see if we can produce sexual transmission" in these mice, said Scott Weaver, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston who worked on the study published on Monday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Weaver said the Zika mouse model will provide a critical tool to allow companies and scientists to test vaccines and antiviral drugs against Zika, which has been linked with thousands of cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect marked by unusually small head size and possible developmental problems. Zika has not been proven to cause microcephaly, but strong evidence connecting Zika infections with microcephaly cases in Brazil prompted the World Health Organization to declare Zika a global health emergency on Feb. 1. Normally, creating this kind of mouse model would take several months. But the urgency of the Zika outbreak called for rapid response, and the team put together the results in just three weeks, said Shannan Rossi, a UTMB virologist who led the study. Normally, mice do not become sick from a Zika infection. The team tested the virus on several genetically altered mice that had weakened immune systems. The young mice quickly succumbed to the virus, becoming lethargic, losing weight and typically dying six days later. Testing on the mice showed virus particles in many major organs, including high concentrations in the spleen, brain and testes. While Weaver says there are limits to what mouse models can tell about human infections, they may at least provide some early clues that could be followed up in non-human primates, a more costly animal model that is a better predictor of human disease. "The mouse will mainly be used to do the very earliest testing of vaccines or drugs where the mechanism of disease doesn't have to be a perfect model to what happens in humans," Weaver said. Brazil has confirmed more than 900 microcephaly cases and considers most related to Zika infections in the mothers. It is investigating nearly 4,300 additional suspected cases of microcephaly.


News Article | December 6, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Results from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM)-led Cooking and Pneumonia Study (CAPS) in Malawi indicate that cooking with cleaner burning biomass-fueled stoves in place of traditional open fires has no effect of the incidence of pneumonia in children under the age of five. The two year study was the largest of its kind anywhere in the world, with over 10,000 children enrolled across randomised villages in rural Chikhwawa and Chilumba in Malawi. The results, published in the journal, The Lancet today, show that the risk of pneumonia was the same in the under-fives whose families were assigned the cleaner burning biomass-fueled cookstoves as in those whose families continued to cook over traditional open fires. In a secondary safety analysis a marked 42% reduction in the risk of non-serious burns was seen in children in the cookstove group compared to the open fire group. Dr Kevin Mortimer, Reader at LSTM and Respiratory Consultant at Aintree University Hospital was lead Investigator on CAPS. He said: "Our study was the first trial to be published looking at the effects of cleaner burning biomass-fuelled cookstove on health outcomes. We asked a very specific question and applied rigorous scientific standards to our search for an answer. There has been an assumption that the use of cleaner cookstoves will bring about health benefits and save lives. Our results are part of a growing body of evidence that suggests that cleaner cookstoves on their own are not as effective on this front as had been hoped." According to the WHO, household air pollution results in over four million deaths annually, and with almost three billion people globally still cooking their food on an open fire it is clearly a problem that requires the identification of timely and effective interventions. In Malawi the leading cause of death in the under-fives is pneumonia and the impact on people in poorest communities is the greatest. "While the reductions in burn related injuries is encouraging from a safety perspective," continued Dr Mortimer, "there remains a substantial burden of disease that needs to be addressed. Our response to that burden needs to be based on robust scientific evidence feeding into evidence-based policy and decision making. I think the findings of CAPS calls for the global health community to rally together to find and implement evidence-based solutions to air pollution - household, outdoor and tobacco-related - so that people everywhere have healthy clean air to breathe." Partial results were presented by Dr Mortimer at the 47th World Conference on Lung Health which took place in Liverpool in October. Delegates had the opportunity to witness a demonstration of a recently developed cleaner burning biomass-fueled cookstove. Dr Mortimer worked with local school pupils to design and build replica Malawian housing in which ACE-1 cookstoves and open fires were lit to illustrate the difference in smokiness between the two cooking methods. In partnership with the local fire and rescue services and the charity Operation Florian, the dangers of open fires within the home were highlighted. The study was part of the LSTM hosted CAHRD collaboration and was funded by a the Joint Global Health Trials Scheme, a partnership of the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust. It was implemented in Malawi through collaborative partnerships between the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, The Malawi College of Medicine and the Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Modern houses -- with metal roofs and finished walls--are associated with a more than 9 percent reduction in the odds of malaria in children in sub-Saharan Africa when compared to more traditional thatched houses, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine by Lucy Tusting of the University of Oxford, UK, and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, Durham University, UK, and the University of Southampton, UK. Insecticide-treated bednets and house spraying have been effective in reducing the prevalence of malaria since the turn of the 21st century, but other approaches are needed for sustainable elimination of the mosquito-transmitted, parasitic disease. Some evidence has suggested that modern houses may protect against the parasite but few studies have rigorously evaluated the association between improved housing and malaria risk. In the new work, researchers analyzed data on malaria prevalence and housing using data collected in 29 surveys carried out in 21 African countries between 2008 and 2015. Information on malaria status -- as tested using a blood smear or rapid test -- was available for 139,318 children under age 5 living in 84,153 households. The proportion of children with malaria detectable in their blood varied by survey, ranging from 0.4% to 45.5% among children living in modern houses and from 0.4% to 70.6% among children living in traditional homes. Across all surveys, modern housing was associated with a 9% to 14% reduction in the odds of malaria infection, after controlling for household wealth and use of insecticides. By comparison, children sleeping under insecticide-treated bednets had a 15% to 16% reduction in odds of testing positive for the disease. Lead author Lucy Tusting from the University of Oxford, said: "Good housing is a core pillar of public health, but is not used widely for malaria control. Well-built housing can block mosquitoes from entering homes and prevent them from transmitting malaria to the people who live there. "This is the first study to compare housing and insecticide-treated nets for malaria control across a range of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Our study suggests good housing could be an important tool in tackling malaria. This is a welcome finding at a time when we are facing increasing resistance to our most effective insecticides and drugs. We now need to assess the impact of housing improvements on malaria in field trials and to work with architects and urban planners to incorporate protective designs into housing in regions at risk of malaria." The authors note that the effectiveness of improving housing will vary depending on the location. While many mosquitoes enter homes to bite humans at night, outdoor malaria transmission is more common in some places, meaning interventions centered on the home will have less impact. LST is a Skills Development Fellow (#N011570) jointly funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the UK Department for International Development under the MRC/DFID Concordat agreement. PWG is a Career Development Fellow (#K00669X) jointly funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under the MRC/DFID Concordat agreement, also part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union, and receives support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (#OPP1068048, #OPP1106023, #OPP1132415). AJT is supported by funding from NIH/NIAID (U19AI089674) , the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1106427, 1032350, OPP1134076, OPP1094793) , the Wellcome Trust (106866/Z/15/Z) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative . SWL is supported by the Global Health Trials funded by the MRC-DfID-Wellcome Trust, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1053338). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Tusting LS, Bottomley C, Gibson H, Kleinschmidt I, Tatem AJ, Lindsay SW, et al. (2017) Housing Improvements and Malaria Risk in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Multi-Country Analysis of Survey Data. PLoS Med 14(2): e1002234. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002234 Oxford Big Data Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom MRC Tropical Epidemiology Group, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom School of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa WorldPop, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom Flowminder Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden, 7 Department of Biosciences, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://journals.


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Though an estimated two billion people drink unsafe water around the globe, there are currently no methods to precisely measure how many people are affected by not having enough water for all aspects of their daily lives. This lack of measurement makes it difficult to pinpoint effective interventions to improve water insecurity and water-related illnesses. To better measure water insecurity, researchers need to assess whether people have reliable access to water in sufficient quality and quantity for all activities. Under a new £250,000 (approximately $310,000) grant from the U.K.-funded Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) research initiative, Northwestern University anthropologist Sera Young, a fellow in the University's Institute for Policy Research, and an international team of researchers seek to develop a cross-cultural scale of perceived household water insecurity. IMMANA is supported by UK Aid from the British government's Department for International Development. "We are so excited to be working towards the creation of a scale that can finally measure how water insecurity affects people at the household level -- that is, the food people grow, their economic well-being, and, of course, their health," Young said. Additional investigators include Wendy Jepson, a human geographer at Texas A&M University; Amber Wutich, an anthropologist at Arizona State University's (ASU) School of Human Evolution and Social Change; Phelgona Otieno, a pediatrician at Kenya Medical Research Institute; Sheri Weiser and Craig Cohen, physician researchers at the University of California San Francisco; and Lisa Butler, an epidemiologist at the University of Connecticut. The grant is administered by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Young and her co-investigators posit household water insecurity leads to poorer mental and physical health and lower economic productivity, but in ways distinct from food insecurity -- including increased anxiety, stress, and time/energy expenditure, as well as decreased agricultural production. Though water insecurity likely contributes to adverse consequences for all household members, it often disproportionately affects women, as they bear the burden of water collection and water -- intensive chores in developing countries. For instance, because women in water-insecure communities often need to walk long distances to collect water, they might not have time to care for their children. Preliminary data have shown that many women worry about their physical safety while fetching water, and that anxiety about how they will obtain all the water needed for their daily activities is common. Infectious diseases are another possible effect of water insecurity. In Young's work in Kenya, about 31 percent of women reported being unable to wash their hands after contact with feces, and one-third said they drank unsafe water "sometimes" or "often." The researchers will refine the household water-insecurity scale, using cross-cultural research conducted in at least six countries. ASU faculty and students will lead projects in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Nepal, and Tajikistan, and Texas A&M University faculty and students will do the same in Brazil and Costa Rica. After completing the first round of data collection research, the experts will meet in August at Northwestern University to work on refining an open-access manual that will describe the scale and methods. "This scale will be an important first step in pinpointing how water insecurity impacts some of the most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, mothers with young children and HIV-infected adults," Young said. The research team hopes this will result in a better understanding of household water insecurity and point to new strategies for intervention. They also aim to help direct limited resources to targeting the causes of water insecurity and the people at greatest risk of adverse effects --especially women and their young children.


Dans une étude menée au Zimbabwe, la thérapie du Banc de l'amitié a réduit la prévalence de la dépression à moins de 14 %, comparativement à 50 % dans le groupe témoin; Le premier modèle de soins de santé mentale communautaires déployé à l'échelle en Afrique a permis de diagnostiquer et de traiter plus de 27 500 personnes pour des troubles de santé mentale communs. TORONTO, ON et HARARE, ZIMBABWE--(Marketwired - 27 décembre 2016) - Leurs bureaux sont de simples sièges en bois, appelés Bancs de l'amitié, installés sur le site des cliniques de santé autour de Harare et d'autres grandes villes du Zimbabwe. Les praticiens sont des travailleurs de la santé de première ligne dans la collectivité, connus sous le nom de " grands-mères ", qui sont formés pour écouter et soutenir les patients vivant avec l'anxiété, la dépression et d'autres troubles mentaux courants. Mais l'impact, mesuré dans une étude inédite, montre que cette approche innovante pourrait améliorer sensiblement la vie de millions de personnes ayant des problèmes de santé mentale de modérés à sévères dans les pays où l'accès au traitement est limité ou inexistant. Financé par le gouvernement du Canada par l'entremise de Grands Défis Canada, l'essai contrôlé randomisé a été mené par l'Université du Zimbabwe, la London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine et le King's College de Londres. L'étude est publiée aujourd'hui dans JAMA, la revue médicale la plus largement diffusée dans le monde. Six mois après avoir participé à six séances hebdomadaires de " thérapie de résolution de problèmes " sur le Banc de l'amitié, les participants montraient des différences significatives dans la gravité de la dépression, de l'anxiété et des pensées suicidaires, selon des questionnaires sur la dépression et l'anxiété validés localement, soit le Questionnaire Shona sur les symptômes (SSQ), le Questionnaire sur la santé du patient (PHQ) et l'échelle des troubles d'anxiété généralisés (GAD). Les résultats sont frappants. Les patients souffrant de dépression ou d'anxiété qui ont reçu la thérapie de résolution de problèmes par le biais du Banc de l'amitié avaient une probabilité plus de trois fois moins élevée de montrer des symptômes de dépression après six mois, comparativement aux patients qui avaient reçu des soins standard. Ils étaient aussi quatre fois moins susceptibles de montrer des symptômes d'anxiété et cinq fois moins susceptibles d'avoir des pensées suicidaires que le groupe témoin après le suivi. La moitié des patients ayant reçu des soins standard montraient encore des symptômes de dépression comparativement à 14 % de ceux qui avaient été traités sur le Banc de l'amitié (selon le PHQ). En outre, 51 % des patients ayant reçu des soins standard montraient encore des symptômes d'anxiété par rapport à 12 % des patients traités sur le Banc de l'amitié (selon le GAD); enfin, 12 % des patients ayant reçu des soins standard avaient encore des pensées suicidaires par rapport à 2 % de ceux traités sur le Banc de l'amitié (selon le SSQ). L'intervention du Banc de l'amitié s'est aussi révélée utile pour améliorer l'état de santé de personnes parmi les plus vulnérables. Ainsi, 86 % des participants à l'étude étaient des femmes, plus de 40 % étaient des personnes séropositives et 70 % avaient été victimes de violence domestique ou atteintes d'une maladie chronique. L'auteur principal de l'étude, le Dr Dixon Chibanda, psychiatre conseil à Harare, est le cofondateur du réseau du Banc de l'amitié, qui vise à répondre à la grave pénurie de traitements fondés sur des données probantes pour les personnes souffrant de troubles mentaux au Zimbabwe, un problème répandu dans toute l'Afrique. Alors qu'environ 25 % des patients recevant des soins primaires au Zimbabwe souffrent de dépression, d'anxiété et d'autres troubles mentaux courants, ce pays (population de 15 millions d'habitants) ne dispose que de 10 psychiatres et de 15 psychologues cliniciens. " Les troubles mentaux courants imposent un énorme fardeau à tous les pays d'Afrique sub-saharienne, " a expliqué le Dr Chibanda. " Développé au fil de 20 années de recherche au niveau communautaire, le Banc de l'amitié permet aux gens d'éprouver un plus grand sentiment d'adaptation et de contrôle sur leur vie en leur enseignant une manière structurée d'identifier les problèmes et de trouver des solutions pratiques. " Ayant reçu 1 M $CAN en financement de Grands Défis Canada plus tôt cette année, le Banc de l'amitié a, depuis, été étendu à 72 cliniques dans les villes de Harare, Gweru et Chitungwiza (population totale de 1,8 million d'habitants). Dans le cadre d'une collaboration avec un programme psychiatrique de Médecins Sans Frontières au Zimbabwe, le Banc de l'amitié travaille à créer le plus vaste programme de santé mentale en Afrique sub-saharienne. À ce jour, plus de 27 500 personnes ont eu accès à un traitement. " Dans les pays en développement, près de 90 % des gens souffrant de troubles mentaux ne peuvent avoir accès à un traitement ", explique le Dr Peter A. Singer, chef de la direction de Grands Défis Canada. " Nous avons besoin d'innovations comme le Banc de l'amitié afin de renverser les proportions, c'est-à-dire pour passer de 10 % des gens recevant un traitement, à 90 % de gens qui reçoivent un traitement. " " Dans de nombreuses régions d'Afrique, si vous êtes pauvre et atteint d'une maladie mentale, vos chances d'obtenir un traitement adéquat sont presque nulles ", explique la Dre Karlee Silver, vice-présidente aux Programmes de Grands Défis Canada. " Au Zimbabwe, les choses sont en train de changer grâce au Banc de l'amitié, le premier projet ayant le potentiel de rendre les soins de santé mentale accessibles à toute une nation africaine. " En 2017, l'équipe se concentrera sur l'expansion du modèle pour rejoindre d'autres populations vulnérables, notamment les jeunes et les réfugiés. En partenariat avec l'ONG suédoise SolidarMed, l'équipe a l'intention d'étendre l'application de ce modèle dans la province de Masvingo, puis dans les centres de réfugiés des hautes terres de l'est, à la frontière avec le Mozambique. " En collaboration avec le ministère de la Santé du Zimbabwe, l'équipe du Banc de l'amitié a pu développer substantiellement les services offerts à certaines des personnes les plus démunies de la collectivité ", explique le Dr Shekhar Saxena, directeur, Département de la santé mentale et de l'abus de substances, à l'Organisation mondiale de la Santé. " En soutenant l'adoption d'innovations en santé mentale comme le Banc de l'amitié, le Canada contribue à inverser la tendance dans la problématique de la santé mentale dans le monde. " Publiée aujourd'hui dans JAMA et appuyée par Grands Défis Canada, l'étude a été réalisée entre septembre 2014 et juin 2015. En voici les éléments saillants : Au sujet de Grands Défis Canada Grands Défis Canada est voué à appuyer des idées audacieuses ayant un grand impactMC en santé mondiale. Nous sommes financés par le gouvernement du Canada et nous offrons du soutien à des innovateurs de pays à revenu faible ou intermédiaire et du Canada. Les idées audacieuses que nous appuyons intègrent des innovations scientifiques/technologiques, sociales et commerciales (ce que nous appelons l'Innovation intégrée). Grands Défis Canada met l'accent sur des défis définis par des innovateurs dans le cadre de son programme Les Étoiles en santé mondiale, et sur des défis ciblés dans le cadre des programmes Sauver des vies à la naissance, Sauver des cerveaux et La Santé mentale dans le monde. Grands Défis Canada travaille en étroite collaboration avec le Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI), les Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (IRSC) et Affaires mondiales Canada pour catalyser le déploiement à l'échelle, la durabilité et l'impact. Nous sommes centrés sur les résultats et sur les moyens de sauver et d'améliorer des vies. www.grandsdefis.ca


MANILA, Philippines, Feb. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past year, many countries in Asia have witnessed an alarming rise in the number of dengue cases that account for more than 70% of the global dengue cases[1].  This translates to an overwhelming 273 million dengue infections per year out of the projected 390 million[2] cases both reported and unreported worldwide. In light of the rapidly increasing burden, leading infectious disease experts from around the world together with government officials, policymakers and public health authorities will convene at the Asia Dengue Summit to identify strategies that can effectively support Asian countries in their fight against dengue. The two-day Summit, which will start in Manila on March 1, is organized by the Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA), a scientific working group, in partnership with the South East Asian Ministers of Education Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network (SEAMEO TROPMED). Experts at the summit will discuss the concrete steps needed to address the worrying rise in dengue cases as well as new developments in the area of prevention and control. The outcome at the Summit will help in formulating a roadmap for countries in Asia to implement collaborative and cost-effective strategies for dengue prevention and vector control measures. Speaking at the sidelines of the Summit, Prof Usa Thisyakorn, Professor of Pediatrics at Chulalongkorn University and Chairman of ADVA, said, "The success of the inaugural Asia Dengue Summit (ADS) last year shows that countries acknowledge the need to join forces to tackle the situation in Asia. A collaborative approach which encourages the sharing of research findings, epidemiological trends, disease surveillance methods and vaccine implementation strategies will allow countries to harmonise their existing dengue prevention and control efforts. In the war against dengue countries should fight together, not alone." "At the Summit this year, we aim to build on the on-going efforts of countries, strengthen the implementation of vector control, as well as prevention measures such as the use of the dengue vaccine that can ultimately benefit the local population," Prof Thisyakorn further added. ONE OF THE MOST PRESSING HEALTHCARE ISSUES OF OUR TIMES Dengue continues to be one of the most devastating and prevalent mosquito-borne viral diseases on the planet. In the last 50 years, this deadly disease has spread from a handful of countries to over 128 countries and the incidence has increased 30-fold in this time. The severe burden comes at a great cost -- financially and in the number of lives lost. Worldwide, dengue is estimated to cost about $9 billion annually, and in Southeast Asia, the economic toll for dengue was estimated at almost $1 billion on average per year from 2001 to 2010[3]. External factors such as unprecedented urbanization and globalisation have resulted in large mosquito populations living in association with crowded human populations, leading in increased transmission and geographic spread of the viruses, making it difficult to combat dengue outbreaks. In addition, environmental factors including inadequate housing, water, sewage and waste management systems have contributed to an increase in the Aedes Aegypti mosquito populations. This calls for urgent intervention and collaboration between countries towards detection, management and control to stem the spread of dengue across the region. Prof Duane Gubler, Emeritus Professor, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, and Chair of Global Dengue and Aedes-Transmitted Diseases Consortium, said, "The Summit represents a major turning point in Asia's fight against dengue as more countries unite to strengthen and sustain cross-border efforts. Dengue is a disease that must be controlled at the regional level.  Countries should continue this momentum at the grassroots via public education and at the national level through vector control and vaccination." "The recently released WHO position paper on dengue vaccine supports the use of vaccination to help prevent dengue as part of a comprehensive dengue control strategy in each endemic country, especially in areas where there is a high burden of disease," Prof Gubler further said. The dengue vaccine could serve as a new line of defense to complement vector control and other prevention efforts by governments, families and individuals, having a greater impact on the disease burden, keeping dengue under control. WHO has laid out the goal of the global strategy to reduce the dengue mortality by 50% and morbidity by 25% by 2020 in endemic countries[4]. Philippines was the first country in Asia to approve the use of the dengue vaccine in December 2015. Since then four other Asian countries, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia, have approved the vaccine for use for the age group of 9-45 year olds broadly. Advocating an information-sharing approach to effectively control the disease from reaching epidemic proportions, Prof Lulu Bravo, Professor of Pediatric Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of the Philippines Manila, said, "Philippines has been a front-runner in dengue prevention and became the first country in the world to launch a public immunisation programme. At the Summit, we will share our first-hand experience over the last one year, which shows that vaccine introduction should be part of a comprehensive dengue control strategy, including well-executed and sustained vector control, evidence-based best practices for clinical care and strong dengue surveillance." The Summit will serve as a platform for the sharing of best practices and knowledge exchange among countries. New models for ongoing dengue efforts such as the recent Wolbachia study conducted in Singapore, which showed that male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes could help in suppressing the population of urban Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and other initiatives including community engagement and outreach programmes. The Asian Dengue Vaccine Advocacy (ADVA) Group is a scientific working group dedicated to dengue vaccine advocacy in Asia, with the aim of disseminating information and making recommendations on dengue vaccine introduction strategies in Asia. ADVA was set up in 2011 to identify opportunities and make practical recommendations for improving surveillance and laboratory capacity for dengue disease confirmation. For more information, you may visit ADVA's website here.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

University of British Columbia microbiologists have found a yeast in the gut of new babies in Ecuador that appears to be a strong predictor that they will develop asthma in childhood. The new research furthers our understanding of the role microscopic organisms play in our overall health. "Children with this type of yeast called Pichia were much more at risk of asthma," said Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at UBC. "This is the first time anyone has shown any kind of association between yeast and asthma." In previous research, Finlay and his colleagues identified four gut bacteria in Canadian children that, if present in the first 100 days of life, seem to prevent asthma. In a followup to this study, Finlay and his colleagues repeated the experiment using fecal samples and health information from 100 children in a rural village in Ecuador. Canada and Ecuador both have high rates of asthma with about 10 per cent of the population suffering from the disease. They found that while gut bacteria play a role in preventing asthma in Ecuador, it was the presence of a microscopic fungus or yeast known as Pichia that was more strongly linked to asthma. Instead of helping to prevent asthma, however, the presence of Pichia in those early days puts children at risk. Finlay also suggests there could be a link between the risk of asthma and the cleanliness of the environment for Ecuadorian children. As part of the study, the researchers noted whether children had access to clean water. "Those that had access to good, clean water had much higher asthma rates and we think it is because they were deprived of the beneficial microbes," said Finlay. "That was a surprise because we tend to think that clean is good but we realize that we actually need some dirt in the world to help protect you." Now Finlay's colleagues will re-examine the Canadian samples and look for the presence of yeast in the gut of infants. This technology was not available to the researchers when they conducted their initial study. This research was a collaboration with Marie-Claire Arrieta, a former UBC postdoctoral fellow and now an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, and Philip Cooper, a professor at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. This research was presented today at the 2017 annual meeting for Association for the Advancement of Science: https:/ . Finlay is in Boston for the conference and is also available by phone.


News Article | January 8, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Anemia is generally perceived as a negative condition. New research, however, suggests that the same health condition, which could be accountable for severe long-term consequences, actually protects children against malaria. The research also points out that addressing the iron deficiency with supplements could also diminish or even completely neutralize its effects against the deadly virus. Iron deficiency is the most common condition caused by nutritional problems worldwide, and about 9.6 percent of the American population suffers from it. However, according to a new research, published in the journal EBioMedicine, the condition has proven to be beneficial against Malaria. The observational study indicates that iron supplementation increases the risk of malaria, although the underlying mechanism of this process is still unknown. "We investigated how anemia inhibits blood stage malaria infection and how iron supplementation abrogates this protection.[...] Iron supplementation completely reversed the observed protection and hence should be accompanied by malaria prophylaxis. Lower hemoglobin levels typically seen in populations of African descent may reflect past genetic selection by malaria," noted the study. The researchers from University of North Carolina, in collaboration with the Medical Research Council Unit in The Gambia and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, have investigated the red blood cells of 135 subjects between the ages of 6 months and 24 months in an area where the virus is highly active. The subjects were administered with micronutrient powder to combat the iron deficiency for 84 days, at the end of which they discovered that anemia reduced the blood-stage of malaria by 16 percent. This discovery implies that anemia represents a very powerful natural protector against malaria. Additionally, one of the hypotheses of the research is that the high prevalence of anemia within people from the African desert area is of genetic nature, while also being a signature of malaria. When anemic children were administered iron supplements for seven weeks, the progress of malaria retook its course, and its invasion at the blood level was reversed. Before conducting this research, the same team found that the reason why children seem to be so affected by the virus lies in their young red blood cells, which represent a perfect host for malaria. "This study is elegant in its simplicity, yet remains one of the most substantial and systematic attempts to unveil the cellular-level relationship between anemia, iron supplementation and malaria risk," noted Carla Cerami, M.D. Ph.D., lead scientist on the project at the MRC Unit in The Gambia. According to a WHO report released in 2016, there were 212 million reported cases of malaria in 2015 across the world, and the global incidence between 2010 and 2015 dropped by 21 percent. Additionally, due to the organized efforts to diminish the number of cases, the mortality among patients infected with the disease decreased by 29 percent within the same period. "Nevertheless, significant gaps in program coverage remain. Access to vector control has been greatly extended through mass-distribution campaigns; however, increasing the coverage of chemoprevention, diagnostic testing and treatment requires these interventions to be delivered through health systems that are frequently under-resourced and poorly accessible to those most at risk of malaria. Moreover, the potential for strengthening health systems in malaria endemic countries is often constrained by low national incomes and per capita domestic spending on health and malaria control," noted the report. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers exploring why there has been a substantial increase in mortality in England and Wales in 2015 conclude that failures in the health and social care system linked to disinvestment are likely to be the main cause. There were 30,000 excess deaths in 2015, representing the largest increase in deaths in the post-war period. The excess deaths, which included a large spike in January that year, were largely in the older population who are most dependent on health and social care. Reporting their analysis in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, tested four possible explanations for the January 2015 spike in mortality. After ruling out data errors, cold weather and flu as main causes for the spike, the researchers found that NHS performance data revealed clear evidence of health system failures. Almost all targets were missed including ambulance call-out times and A&E waiting times, despite unexceptional A&E attendances compared to the same month in previous years. Staff absence rates rose and more posts remained empty as staff had not been appointed. Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "The impact of cuts resulting from the imposition of austerity on the NHS has been profound. Expenditure has failed to keep pace with demand and the situation has been exacerbated by dramatic reductions in the welfare budget of £16.7 billion and in social care spending." He added: "With an aging population, the NHS is ever more dependent on a well-functioning social care system. Yet social care has also faced severe cuts, with a 17% decrease in spending for older people since 2009, while the number of people aged 85 years and over has increased by 9%." "To maintain current levels of social care would require an extra £1.1 billion, which the government has refused." Professor McKee continued: "The possibility that the cuts to health and social care are implicated in almost 30,000 excess deaths is one that needs further exploration. Given the relentless nature of the cuts, and potential link to rising mortality, we ask why is the search for a cause not being pursued with more urgency?" "Simply reorganising and consolidating existing urgent care systems or raising the 'agility' of the current A&E workforce capacity is unlikely to be sufficient to meet the challenges that high levels of admissions of frail elderly people and others who are vulnerable are likely to present this winter and in future winters." The researchers say that there are already worrying signs of an increase in mortality in 2016. Without urgent intervention, they say, there must be concern that this trend will continue. Commenting on the analysis, Professor Danny Dorling, University of Oxford, added: "It may sound obvious that more elderly people will have died earlier as a result of government cut backs, but to date the number of deaths has not been estimated and the government have not admitted responsibility." Why has mortality in England and Wales been increasing? An iterative demographic analysis (DOI: 10.1177/0141076817693599) and What caused the spike in mortality in England and Wales in January 2015? (DOI: 10.1177/0141076817693600) by Lucinda Hiam, Danny Dorling, Dominic Harrison and Martin McKee, will be published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine at 00:05 hrs (UK time) on Friday 17 February 2017. The JRSM is the flagship journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and is published by SAGE. It has full editorial independence from the RSM. It has been published continuously since 1809. Its Editor is Dr Kamran Abbasi. Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE is a leading international provider of innovative, high-quality content publishing more than 1,000 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. A growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company's continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Melbourne. http://www.


Also publishes five additional immunology, virology and microbiology books CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwired - February 27, 2017) - Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the publication of an updated edition of its valuable reference, Genetics and Evolution of Infectious Diseases, edited by Michel Tibayrenc. This book is aimed at controlling and preventing neglected and emerging worldwide diseases that are a major cause of global morbidity, disability and mortality. Using an integrated approach, the book discusses the constantly evolving field of infectious diseases and their continued impact on the health of populations, especially in resource-limited areas of the world. At the same time, Elsevier announced five additional immunology, virology and microbiology books. Genetics and Evolution of Infectious Diseases, Second Edition looks at the worldwide human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic, increasing antimicrobial resistance, and the emergence of many new bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral pathogens. With contributions from leading authorities, the book includes developments in the field of infectious disease since it was last published in 2010. It demonstrates how the economic, social and political burden of infectious diseases is most evident in developing countries which must confront the dual burden of death and disability due to infectious and chronic illnesses. Learn more about infectious disease genomics in this sample chapter. Michel Tibayrenc, M.D., Ph.D., has worked on the evolution of infectious diseases for more than 35 years. He is a director of research emeritus at the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) Montpellier, France, and the founder and principal organizer of the international congresses MEEGID (molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics of infectious diseases). The author of more than 200 international papers, Dr, Tibayrenc has been the head of the unit of research "genetics and evolution of infectious diseases" at the IRD research center for 20 years. With his collaborator, Jenny Telleria, he is the founder and scientific adviser of the Bolivian Society of Human Genetics. Dr. Tibayrenc has won the prize of the Belgian Society of Tropical Medicine (1985), and the medal of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro (2000), for his work on Chagas disease. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Elsevier journal, "Infection, Genetics and Evolution." The six new immunology, virology and microbiology titles are: In order to meet content needs in immunology, virology and microbiology, Elsevier uses proprietary tools to identify the gaps in coverage of the topics. Editorial teams strategically fill those gaps with content written by key influencers in the field, giving students, faculty and researchers the content they need to answer challenging questions and improve outcomes. These new books, which will educate the next generation of immunologists and virologists, and provide critical foundational content for information professionals, are key examples of how Elsevier is enabling science to drive innovation. Note for Editors E-book review copies of the new books are available to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Jelena Baras at sciencereviewcopies@elsevier.com. About Elsevier Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions - among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey - and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 35,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

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