Dutch bank to stop financing tobacco industry, France to make vaccination mandatory from 2018, and more.

The World Health Minute Indias superbug problem link found between household products and antibiotic resistance
news Public Health Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 12:19

The World Health Minute (WHM) provides quick access to global public health news. It’s "news you can use” to inform investment, advocacy, development and implementation decisions.

Preparedness, surveillance and response

  • Scientists link household products and antibiotic resistance

Researchers have discovered a connection between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance and the disinfectant triclosan, which is often found in domestic products such as toothpaste and make-up. The study, which was carried out at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with The Quadram Institute and John Innes Centre based at Norwich Research Park, was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ft.com: 03/07/17)

  • WHO warns of imminent spread of untreatable superbug gonorrhoea

At least three people worldwide are infected with totally untreatable "superbug" strains of gonorrhoea which they are likely to be spreading to others through sex, the World Health Organization said. Giving details of studies showing a "very serious situation" with regard to highly drug-resistant forms of the disease, WHO experts said it was "only a matter of time" before last-resort gonorrhoea antibiotics would be of no use. "Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug," said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the WHO. "Every time you introduce a new type of antibiotic to treat it, this bug develops resistance to it" (reuters.com: 07/07/17) (cnn.com: 08/07/17) (un.org: 07/07/17) (usatoday.com: 07/07/17)

  • Here’s What’s Causing India’s ‘Superbug’ Problem

A 2016 study examined the evolution of resistant microbes in India and found that the over-prescribing and unregulated use of antibiotics, antibiotic use in agriculture and for livestock, and a lack of regulation of the discharge of antimicrobial waste into the environment all contribute to the superbug problem. In 2010 India consumed more antibiotics for human health per person than any other country. What’s more, the nation’s intake spiked by 62 percent from 2001 to 2010. There’s also conflict of interest: one study found doctors are compensated by pharmaceutical companies and pharmacists for prescribing antibiotics (huffingtonpost.com: 06/07/17)

  • Ebola outbreak in DRC is over, WHO says

The World Health Organization declared an end to the most recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, marking the latest key milestone in the fight against the deadly disease. The announcement comes 42 days, or the equivalent of two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus, after the last confirmed patient in the affected Bas-Uele province tested negative for Ebola (cnn.com: 02/07/17) (contagionlive.com: 07/07/17)

  • Cholera cases up 10,000 as tons of medical supplies arrive

Since the beginning of the second wave of the cholera outbreak in Yemen (from 27 April to 2 July 2017), 262,650 suspected cholera cases, and 1,587 deaths have been reported in 21 of the country’s 23 governorates, and in 86% of the districts. The World Health Organization reported on a 403-ton shipment of medical supplies that arrived in Hodeida, Yemen recently (outbreaknewstoday.com: 03/07/17) (healio.com: 05/07/17)

Health systems

  • 'Stem-cell tourism' needs tighter controls, say medical experts

Stem-cell tourism involving patients who travel to developing countries for treatment with unproven and potentially risky therapies should be more tightly regulated, international health experts said. With hundreds of medical centers around the world claiming to be able to repair damaged tissue in conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, tackling unscrupulous advertising of such procedures is crucial (reuters.com: 05/07/17)

  • Proper tools may help prevent medicine errors at home

Providing parents with picture-based instructions - and with dosing tools that closely match the amount of medication needed - may help reduce cases of medication overdoses in children, researchers say. Poorly designed medication labels and dosing tools lead to dosing errors, especially when parents are given large cups for small doses, the study team writes (reuters.com: 04/07/17)

  • The poison in your cabinet: Kenya’s fake drugs scourge

Criminals are smuggling all manner of medicine, most of it fake, into Kenya, putting millions of people at a huge risk of poisoning.  The global health entity estimates that about 100,000 deaths a year in Africa are linked to the counterfeit drug trade. The International Policy Network estimates that, globally, 700,000 deaths a year are caused by fake malaria and tuberculosis drugs (nation.co.ke: 04/07/17)

  • Floodwater recedes, diseases spread

With floodwater receding in Sylhet and Moulvibazar, Bangladesh, waterborne diseases are spreading in the flood-hit areas as there is hardly any medical care for a large number of affected people. People there are suffering from waterborne diseases like typhoid fever, dysentery, diarrhoea and skin infections. Many complained about not receiving any medical attention and relief aid (thedailystart.net; 08/07/17)

  • Nigeria accounts for 2nd highest HIV/AIDS burden worldwide – NEPWAN

The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria says Nigeria accounts for second highest HIV/AIDS burden worldwide after South Africa. Nigerians that died due to the disease would not have died if the government had taken up ownership of the fight by ensuring availability and access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and support programme. The country’s HIV response was largely donor driven with about 93 per cent of HIV funding sourced from external sources, however, Nigeria only contributed seven per cent of the funding (nigerianobservernews.com: 03/07/17)

Communicable diseases

  • Undersea life holds promise for killing tuberculosis

The UCF team screened 4,400 chemical extracts derived from extracts of sponges and other marine organisms to see if they could kill the dormant tuberculosis bacteria. "To our knowledge this is the largest marine natural product screening on TB and the only one that focused on dormant bacteria," the team said. The team identified 26 compounds that were active against replicating tuberculosis bacteria, 19 killed dormant bacteria including seven that were active against both(sciencedaily.com: 06/07/17) (infectioncontroltoday.com: 06/07/17)

  • WHO proposes to change the composition of influenza vaccines

Existing vaccines are not the same antigenic properties of influenza viruses type A and B. The WHO recommends to completely change the composition of influenza vaccines for the Northern hemisphere. This decision is due to antigenic mismatch of vaccines and the viruses that cause epidemic (micetimes.asia: 05/07/17)

  • New DNA vaccine shown to induce immune response against one of four Dengue virus serotypes

A new DNA vaccine candidate was shown to induce persistent humoral and cellular immune responses and provided protection from the DV1 dengue virus serotype among inoculated mice, according to a recent study conducted by Capital Medical University in Beijing and the Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders (homelandprepnews.com: 06/07/17) (sciencedaily.com: 29/06/17)

  • Central labs moot ‘human first’ approach to test malaria vaccine

What if a potential vaccine for malaria was to be first tested in humans before mice and animals? This November, experts at the Indian Council of Medical Research and labs affiliated to the Department of Biotechnology will have a first-of-its kind “ethics meeting” to discuss the feasibility of conducting these so-called ‘human challenge’ trials in India. The meeting will also discuss testing two vaccine-candidates — one that causes falciparum malaria and the milder-but-more-prevalent vivax — developed at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (thehindu.com: 08/07/17)

  • Map drawn to predict next virus jump from mammals

A study has suggested that scientists could predict where on the planet the next virus could jump from animals to humans, thus providing data that will help in early warning systems and disease surveillance efforts. The study helps build a roadmap of where to prioritise disease surveillance efforts around the world to better stop viruses from having a large impact. In the study, the scientists have mapped out the ‘missing zoonoses’ giving geographic hotspots as eastern, central and southern Africa, South and Central America as well as parts of Asia (scidev.net: 07/07/17)

Non communicable diseases

  • SGLT2 inhibitors help reduce high blood pressure, study reports

A group of oral medications given to people with type 2 diabetes have been found to help reduce high blood pressure. A research team from China, South Africa and Iran looked at 43 random trials which had involved 22,428 people. As well as high blood pressure, they examined how SGLT2 inhibitors affected health markers including cholesterol and triglycerides. SGLT2 inhibitor therapy was shown to significantly reduce blood pressure throughout the studies (diabetes.co.uk: 07/07/17)

  • Personalized vaccines hold cancer at bay in two early trials

A novel class of personalized cancer vaccines, tailored to the tumours of individual patients, kept disease in check in two early-stage clinical trials, pointing to a new way to help the immune system fight back. Although so-called immunotherapy drugs from the likes of Merck and Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche are starting to revolutionize cancer care, they still only work for a limited number of patients. By adding a personalized cancer vaccine, scientists believe it should be possible to improve substantially the effectiveness of such immune-boosting medicines (reuters.com: 05/07/17)

  • Researchers discover atomic structure of suspect Alzheimer proteins

Scientists have for the first time revealed the atomic structure of the tau protein filaments that tangle in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and say it should point the way towards developing new treatments for the disease. Using a technique known as cryo-electron microscopy, a team from Britain's Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology mapped in fine detail the tau filaments extracted from the brain of a patient who had died with Alzheimer's(reuters.com: 05/07/17)

  • Dutch bank bans loans to tobacco industry on health grounds

This decision by ABN Amro, which has six millions customers worldwide, is the first by a major bank in The Netherlands. The bank’s decision came as it announced a new partnership with the National Heart Foundation in the fight against smoking, which kills some 20,000 people every year in the country of 17 million. The move also stops any new investment in the tobacco industry (theguardian.com: 06/07/17)

  • Robot wars: knee surgery marks new battleground for companies

The world's top medical technology companies are turning to robots to help with complex knee surgery, promising quicker procedures and better results in operations that often leave patients dissatisfied. Demand for artificial replacement joints is growing fast, as baby boomers' knees and hips wear out, but for the past 15 years rival firms have failed to deliver a technological advance to gain them significant market share. Now Stryker and Smith & Nephew believe that is about to change, as robots give them an edge, with less trauma to patients and faster recovery, although they still need to prove themselves in definitive clinical studies (reuters.com: 06/07/17)

Promoting health through the life course

  • France to make vaccination mandatory from 2018 as it is 'unacceptable children are still dying of measles'

Parents in France will be legally obliged to vaccinate their children from 2018, the government has announced. French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said it was “unacceptable” that children are "still dying of measles” in the country where some of the earliest vaccines were pioneered. Three childhood vaccines, for diphtheria, tetanus and polio, are currently mandatory in France. Others, including those against hepatitis and whooping cough, are simply recommended(independent.co.uk: 05/07/17) (shape.com: 07/07/17) (newsweek.com: 05/07/17)

  • Drinking during pregnancy may affect several generations, UC Riverside study finds

New research from UC Riverside has found that drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause brain changes in offspring that may be passed all the way down to great-grandchildren. Neuroscientist and psychology professor Kelly Huffman’s most recent work built on her 2013 study in mice that showed exposing a foetus to alcohol changes the brain’s wiring. It further bolsters the conclusion that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, Huffman said (pe.com: 07/07/17)

  • Property rights campaign for women takes aim at patriarchy in South Asia

Across India, only 13 percent of farmland is owned by women. Activists have launched a campaign in South Asia to appeal to men to stand up for the property rights of their daughters, wives and sisters and ask women to demand their share as a way to curb violence against women in the region. Property for Her was launched on social media this week, with messages on Twitter and Facebook, as well as a petition on change.org. The petition asks parents to promise to leave their daughter an equal share of property, and brothers to stand with their sisters in ensuring her rights (trust.org: 06/07/17)

  • With colour-coded warnings, Indian city gets serious about dirty air

Ahmedabad, in the western state of Gujarat, has among the worst air pollution in India. But it is the first to install an air monitoring and warning system. The Air Information and Response (AIR) plan, launched in May, involves the creation of an air quality index that measures daily pollution levels in eight locations. Giant LED screens display five colour-coded alerts of the levels, and their related effects. An early warning system also alerts people to days when pollution is likely to reach the "very poor" or "severe" level (trust.org: 05/07/17)

  • Hunger rife among Rohingya children after Myanmar crackdown -WFP

More than 80,000 young children may need treatment for malnutrition in part of western Myanmar where the army cracked down on stateless Rohingya Muslims last year, the World Food Programme said. In the first detailed on-the-ground assessment of the community affected by the violence since October, the WFP interviewed 450 families in 45 villages in Maungdaw district in March and April. "The survey confirmed a worsening of the food security situation in already highly vulnerable areas (since October)," the agency said. About a third of those surveyed reported "extreme ...food insecurity" such as going a day and night without eating (trust.org: 05/07/17)

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