HEALTH

PATH, WaterAid America report that diarrheal disease is overlooked

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON PATH and WaterAid America released two reports Tuesday finding that the international aid community and developing-country governments are not targeting diarrheal disease, a leading killer of children under age 5 worldwide that is responsible for the deaths of nearly 1.6 million children annually.

“The global health community knows what is necessary to save the lives of children suffering from diarrheal disease,” stated John Wecker, director of the Immunization Solutions and Rotavirus Vaccine Program at PATH. “And now is the time to educate policymakers, donors and international and national leaders about the need to implement the solutions to prevent and treat the most severe causes.”

According to the reporters, there are more lifesaving prevention and treatment solutions for diarrheal disease than any other major childhood killer, including safe water; improved sanitation and hygiene; breastfeeding and optimal complementary feeding; rotavirus vaccines; zinc treatment; and oral rehydration therapy/oral rehydration solution.

The reports coincide with a World Health Organization review of data from studies of vaccines to prevent rotavirus — a common and lethal diarrheal disease — from clinical trials in Africa and Asia. The WHO will consider a global recommendation that every country introduce rotavirus vaccines into its routine immunization schedule based on this data.

“While diarrheal disease is a global killer, today the burden is greatest in developing nations in Africa and Asia where access to clean water, sanitation, and urgent medical care may be limited,” stated Nancy Bwalya-Mukumbuta, program manager at WaterAid in Zambia. “The international aid system and developing-country governments need to come together with a strong voice and respond to diarrheal disease, one of the leading causes of child mortality, in a targeted manner.”

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Mosquito gut bacteria may inhibit malaria parasite, researchers say

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE, Md. Bacteria in the gut of a mosquito may inhibit infection of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Scientists with the Bloomberg School’s Malaria Research Institute found that removing these bacteria, or microbial flora, with antibiotics made the mosquitoes more susceptible to Plasmodium infection because of a lack of immune stimulation. Their study is published in the May 8, edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens.

“Our study suggests that the microbial flora of mosquitoes is stimulating immune activity that protects the mosquito from Plasmodium infection,” stated George Dimopoulos, senior author of the study and associate professor with Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. “The same immune factors that are needed to control the mosquito’s infection from the microbes are also defending against the malaria parasite Plasmodium. … The interplay between bacteria and the mosquito’s immune system may have significant implications for the transmission of malaria in the field where mosquitoes may be exposed to different types of bacteria in different regions. Theoretically, these bacteria could be introduced to the mosquitoes to boost their immunity to the malaria parasite and make them resistant and incapable of spreading the disease. Our current research aims at identifying those bacteria that trigger the strongest mosquito immune defense against the malaria parasite.”

Malaria kills more than one million people worldwide each year; the majority of deaths are among children living in Africa.

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Herb works as anti-ulcer therapy, study shows

BY Michael Johnsen

BEIJING A research team led by Syed Rafatullah from Saudi Arabia validated the gastric anti-ulcer properties of the herb Rocket “Eruca sativa L.” (EER) on experimentally-induced gastric secretion and ulceration in albino rats. The study was published April 28 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

In recent years, Rocket “Eruca sativa L.” (EER), a member of the Brassicacae family, has gained greater importance as a salad vegetable and spice, especially among Middle Eastern populations and Europeans. It is believed that plants belonging to the Brassicacae family possess diversified medicinal and therapeutic properties including inhibition of tumorigenesis, anti-ulcer and hepatoprotective activities.

Although the introduction of proton-pump inhibitors to the classic anti-ulcer therapy has revolutionized treatment of peptic ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, there is still no complete cure for this disease, researchers noted. It has been shown that long term use of these drugs leads to various adverse and side effects. Relapses of the malady, ineffectiveness of different drug regimens and even resistance to drugs are emerging. Thus, there is an urgent requirement to identify more effective and safe anti-ulcer agents.

Researchers found that the ethanolic extract of EER significantly and dose-dependently reduced basal gastric acid secretion, titratable acidity and ruminal ulceration in lab rats. The authors concluded that EER extract possesses anti-ulcer activities against experimentally-induced gastric lesions.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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