Monday, 31 March 2014

FG issues red alert on Ebola outbreak

ON the heels of the outbreak of the Ebola Haemorrhagic fever in Guinea, the Federal Ministry of Health has issued an alert urging persons with high fever, headache, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and bleeding and especially with a history of travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia, to report to the health authorities at once.
Already, an alert has been issued to all 36 State Commissioners of Health to mobilise against the disease, while the Federal Ministry of Health is working closely with the West African Health Organization, WAHO, and the World Health Organization, WHO, to deploy experts to Guinea on request to strengthen its response capacity.
Disclosing this in Abuja in a statement, Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Minister of Health, Mr. Dan Nwome, said theapex Ministry admonished the general public to take measures to avert the outbreak or spread of the disease.
Noting that Nigeria has capacity to diagnose the disease if it appears here, Nwome said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is currently studying the outbreak trends and has mobilised its rapid response teams and developed a detailed response plan that includes a comprehensive health education/health promotion to sensitise Nigerians, enhanced surveillance to detect and treat the disease, while mobilising its treatment/isolation centres. An alert has been issued to all State Commissioners of Health to mobilise against the disease.
The Federal Ministry of Health is working closely with West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and is ready to deploy experts to Guinea on request by the affected country to strengthen its response capacity.
Ebola is a deadly haemorrhagic fever which first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo.
In February 2014 the Republic of Guinea reported an outbreak of Ebola, which had hitherto not occurred in the West African sub-region. Between that period and the 26th of March, 2014 a total of 86 cases were reported out of which 62 deaths occurred with a mortality rate of 72 percent.
The most affected areas in Guinea are the south-eastern forest areas that currently have 7 persons undergoing treatment in isolated centres. The outbreak was confirmed as Ebola by the Institute Pasteur, Lyon, France, Institute Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal and in Hamburg,
Germany. It is now confirmed that the outbreak has further spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone where suspected cases are being investigated.
Causes
Ebola causes Ebola virus disease, EVD, in humans, with a case fatality rate ranging between 60 – 90 percent. The virus is transmitted to humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. Hunting for “bush meat” in forest and pre-forest areas and eating of bats have been associated with this outbreak.
Prevention
However, prevention efforts focus on avoiding contact with the viruses. According to medical experts says avoid traveling to areas of known outbreaks is key.
Wash your hands frequently. As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures for Ebola virus is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water aren’t available.
Avoid bush meat. In developing countries like Nigeria, wild animals, including nonhuman primates, are sold in local markets. Avoid buying or eating any of these animals.
Avoid contact with anyone who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. In particular, caregivers should avoid contact with the person’s body fluids and tissues, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. People with Ebola are most contagious in the later stages of the disease.
Follow infection-control procedures. If you are a health care worker, wear protective clothing — such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields. Keep infected people isolated from others. Carefully disinfect and dispose of needles and other instruments. Injection needles and syringes should not be reused.
Don’t handle remains people that died of the disease. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola disease are still contagious. Specially organised and trained teams should bury the remains, using appropriate safety equipment.
 culled from Vanguard

Friday, 28 March 2014

'Breastmilk Remains the best for babies'

Following the increase in child mortality in the country, health professionals have said that breast milk remains the best way to ensure child’s healthy life and reduce child mortalities.
According to them, exclusive breast milk during the first six months of a child’s life and for as long as possible in combination with nourishing complementary foods. When breast mike is not possible, infant formula is a healthier alternative to choices such as cows’ milk or rice water.
They also said that infantile colic is a self-limited condition that deserves treatment because it could represent an early traumatic insult for the intestine and could be the early expression of atopic disease, gastrointestinal disorder and psychological problems later in child’s life. They informed infantile colic is characterised by inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy infant, accompanied by painful expression, flushing, distended abdomen and flatulence. Colic usually starts in the first few weeks of life and generally affects babies until four months.
They said these during Nestle Nutrition Nigeria Plc Symposium held in Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday.
In her remark, National keynote speaker and Pediatrician from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Adeniyi Oluwafunmilayo said rule out common causes of child’s crying is the first step in treating an infant with persistent crying.
“Behavioral management, supportive counseling and parental reassurance are the mainstays of treatment. Formulate an effective individualised management plan.
Consistent follow up and a sympathetic physician are the cornerstones of management. Resolving family conflicts and improving family functioning may help to relieve the colic in some babies.
Knowledge of the clinical features of colic correlated with the level of education.
Herbal medicines are the most frequently used medicines of seeds, which are used as a local food seasoning amongst the Yoruba tribe. When dissolved in water and taken, it relieves indigestion by causing excessive flatulence. Its use in the treatment of infantile colic was based on the hypothesis that it removes the excess intraluminal gas in the infant by causing flatulence.”
She continued, “with colic, period of crying most commonly happens in the evenings. Colics can begin as early as two weeks of age and it often disappears when the baby is three to four months old, but it can last up to one year, if not properly managed. Less than five percent of infants with excess crying have an underlying organic disease,” she said.

Oluwafunmilayo noted that Nigerian mothers still have some gap in their knowledge of cause infantile colic.
“Self-medication is the most frequently used home-based interventions for infantile colic and was predominated by traditional herbal medicines.
Nigerian mothers would need to be educated about colic through health education, at pediatric and vaccination clinics, public health campaign and interdisciplinary team approach.
Efficacy and toxicity of the traditional herbal medicines need to be established scientifically for their safe use for Children”.
“Government, should strengthen the policy on sales and use of prescribed medicines in children without prescription so as to promote rational use of medicine in infants with colic,” she said.
The Category Business Manager, Nutrition Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Dr. Mazhar Qureshi Said children, who start life with unbalanced diets face an increased risk of chronic diseases and stunted growth and development.
“Our stay healthy stage-based nutrition system begins with clear support for six months exclusive breastfeeding, whenever possible, and then offers solutions designed to foster healthy growth and development along with good eating habits in children aged six months or older.
We support parents in making the right food choices for their children by providing research-based nutrition products, including maternal and infant health supplements, and by offering appropriate, consistent advice to help them understand that even small changes to a child’s diet can have a big impact on its health today and throughout its life,” he said.
He continued, “we are committed to marketing infant food products in the country in accordance with the WHO Code. We have implemented extensive management systems across all our operations to assure compliance with the WHO Code. These systems give detailed operational guidelines to all our employees involved in the sale and marketing of breast-milk substitutes with the objective of ensuring compliance with our policies and local regulations at all levels. To monitor our compliance, we carry out numerous internal audits and three annual external audits,” he said.
culled from The Guardian

Mushroom kills cervical cancer virus, slows tumour growth

EVERYONE knows that mushrooms are a nutritious and low-calorie addition to a meal but now new research suggests they could also combat cancer.
An extract from a Japanese mushroom kills the sexually transmitted virus HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common, and highly contagious, infection that affects skin and the moist membrane linings of the body, for example, in the cervix, mouth and throat.
More than three quarters of all women acquire the virus during their lives and some strains can cause cervical cancer.
But American research found the extract active hexose correlated compound (AHCC)- which is found in shiitake mushrooms- may play a role in preventing HPV-related cancers.
In a study using mice, AHCC led to the eradication of HPV within 90 days. It also decreased the rate of cervical tumour growth.
Associate professor, Dr. Judith Smith, of the University of Texas Health Science Center Medical School, said, “the results of this study were very encouraging. This study, initiated in 2008, shows that by itself AHCC has the potential to treat the HPV infection.”

AHCC works as an immunotherapy, which is a treatment that uses a body’s own immune system to help fight disease.
Human and lab studies have shown that AHCC increases the number and activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells, and cytokines, which enable the body to effectively respond to infections and block the proliferation of tumours.
HPV DNA has been detected in 99.7 per cent of cervical cancer biopsies, yielding the largest causative relationship of any cancer.
Several other types of cancer are also HPV related, including 95 per cent of anal cancers, 60 per cent of throat cancers, 65 per cent of vaginal cancers, 50 per cent of vulvar cancers and 35 per cent of penile cancers.
Smith said, “AHCC is a common, well tolerated nutritional supplement that has been used for decades in Japan. I am very excited to be pursuing a nutritional approach to trying to find a treatment for HPV infections.
“We had previously demonstrated an antiretroviral regimen that successfully eradicated the HPV infection but wanted to develop a more benign protocol, since these medications have a number of side effects.”
The findings were presented at the Society of Gynecological Oncology 45th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Tampa, Florida.
culled from The Guardian

Monday, 24 March 2014

UNICEF Says Ebola Virus is Spreading Fast in Guinea And To Other West African Countries





UNICEF has announced that an Ebola Outbreak has killed at least 59 People in Guinea.
The epidemic has hit the capital city Conakry. “At least 59 out of 80 who contracted Ebola across the West African country have died so far” said UNICEF in a statement to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Ebola is spreading FAST to other West African countries.


There are currently no known treatments or vaccines for Ebola, a viral hemorrhagic fever that kills up to 90 percent of those who become infected.

The virus spread through direct contact with blood, faeces or sweat, sexual contact and unprotected handing of contaminated corpses.
“This outbreak is particularly devastating because medical staff are among the first victims … hindering the response and threatening normal care in a country already lacking in medical personnel,” revealed UNICEF.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe and often deadly illness that can occur in humans and primates (e.g. monkeys, gorillas).
Ebola hemorrhagic fever has made worldwide news because of its destructive potential.


Causes
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola fever) is caused by a virus belonging to the family called Filoviridae. Scientists have identified five types of Ebola virus. Four have been reported to cause disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire virus, Ebola-Sudan virus, Ebola-Ivory Coast virus, and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The human disease has so far been limited to parts of Africa.
The Reston type of Ebola virus has recently been found in the Philippines.
The disease can be passed to humans from infected animals and animal materials. Ebola can also be spread between humans by close contact with infected body fluids or through infected needles in the hospital.


Symptoms
During the incubation period, which can last about 1 week (rarely up to 2 weeks) after infection, symptoms include:
  • Arthritis
  • Backache (low-back pain)
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Malaise
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting

Late symptoms include:
  • Bleeding from eyes, ears, and nose
  • Bleeding from the mouth and rectum (gastrointestinal bleeding)
  • Eye swelling (conjunctivitis)
  • Genital swelling (labia and scrotum)
  • Increased feeling of pain in the skin
  • Rash over the entire body that often contains blood (hemorrhagic)
  • Roof of mouth looks red
  • Treatment
There is no known cure. Existing medicines that fight viruses (antivirals) do not work well against Ebola virus.
The patient is usually hospitalized and will most likely need intensive care. Supportive measures for shock include medications and fluids given through a vein.
Bleeding problems may require transfusions of platelets or fresh blood...NYTIMES