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Archive for month: October, 2016

Dengue threat spirals out of hand as Kolkata’s platelet count drops

Dengue threat spirals out of hand as Kolkata’s platelet count drops

Kolkata: An acute platelet crisis has hit the city in the midst of a fresh dengue spurt, holding up treatment of patients in serious conditions. With blood donation camps dwindling in the festive period, supply of platelets has almost dried up. Consequently, all major blood banks are facing a crisis that isn’t going to ease till December.

Bhoruka Blood Bank, one of the prominent private banks in Kolkata, has been out of stock since Sunday. It isn’t expecting fresh supplies till next Sunday when donation camps are due. Life Care Bank, too, has no platelet but is helping dengue patients in case the latter’s kin donates blood. “We are getting the donated blood processed and giving out the platelet content. But the process is expensive and takes several hours,” said a spokesperson for the bank. While a unit of platelet sells for Rs 500, the processing charge could be as high as Rs 8000-10000.

At Ashok Blood Bank, stocks have been getting exhausted within hours of donation camps. They, too, have the facility to extract platelets from donated blood which takes around five hours. “For several weeks now, we have not been able to hold stocks for more than six hours,” said a representative.

Demand for platelets has gone up almost four times across city hospitals, forcing them to ration use. But planned camps and an organized system could help avert crises, felt Rupali Basu, CEO of Apollo Gleneagles Hospital where 17 have succumbed to dengue since July. “We insist on sticking to an exchange system for patients who need transfusion. Patients’ kin must donate blood. This has ensured that we never run out of stock,” said Basu. She added that blood banks needed to be more pro-active in organizing camps. “They can’t afford to rely on clubs and organizations alone. During festive periods, a crisis is invariably going to strike since camps will be fewer. A system needs to be evolved to tide over shortages like this,” she said.

At least two city hospitals said they were rationing platelet use, even though it may put patients’ lives to risk. Lion’s Blood Bank has been flooded with calls ever since it tied up with a club that will hold a camp on Thursday. “Mid-week supplies have been dwindling sharply, leaving patients’ families helpless. We have been able to organize the camp with a lot of difficulty. But the platelets are going to run out by Friday,” said an official.


Indonesians now have access to world’s first Dengue Vaccine

Indonesians now have access to world’s first Dengue Vaccine

Each year an estimated 390 million dengue infections occur around the world, resulting in around 25,000 deaths annually worldwide. But those number may start to drop soon thanks to a new vaccine that has just been approved by the Indonesian government.

“The first dengue fever vaccine has been given the green light by the Drug and Food Monitoring Agency [BPOM] and is now available,” Cissy B. Kartasasmita, chairwoman of Immunization Task Force, the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), said on Sunday as quoted by Tempo.

The vaccine, called Dengvaxia, has has been in development for 20 years by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur. Since it was launched last year, it has been approved for use in seven countries and Indonesia is the second country in Asia in which the vaccine passed regulatory inspection. It has also been approved for use in Brazil, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Philippines and Paraguay.
According to a press release from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine has been tested through a clinical study program involving 40,000 children, adolescents and adults in 25 studies in 15 countries around the world. Efficacy analysis documented that the vaccine protects against 65.6% of symptomatic dengue disease caused by any of the four serotypes of the dengue virus in the study population from 9 – 16 years olds. In addition, the vaccines protection against severe dengue reached 93.2% and prevention of hospitalizations due to dengue reached 80.8%.

The important takeaway from that is that the vaccine has been proven to be most successful when applied to children 9-16 years old. It should also still be administered to those who have had dengue before, as there are actually four different strains of dengue and the vaccine protects against all of them.
Three doses of the virus need to be given in 6-month intervals and each dose currently costs Rp 900,000. Cissy said that the shots were not currently covered by the national healthcare program but that the plan was for them to eventually be incorporated into the government’s national immunization program.

Source: Coconut Jakarta

How Sri Lanka bit back at mosquitoes and wiped out malaria – podcast

How Sri Lanka bit back at mosquitoes and wiped out malaria – podcast

Sixty years ago, Sri Lanka was one of the countries most affected by malaria; in September 2016, the World Health Organisation declared the country free of the disease. Dinitha Rathnayake charts the journey of a huge victory for public health.

Dinitha Rathnayake, a radio journalist based in Colombo, looks back over Sri Lanka’s long struggle with malaria. She speaks to people who lived through the 1980s health crisis as well as the doctors, health workers and officials who helped to eliminate the disease.

Mahieash Johnney, of Sri Lanka’s Red Cross, looks back to the 1930s, when more than 5m cases of malaria were reported in the country.

Dr HDB Herath, the director of Sri Lanka’s Anti-Malaria Campaign, talks about what was involved in tackling the disease, from the use of insecticides to early detection through mobile health clinics.

The AMC’s SR Jayanetti discusses how the unique conditions of different regions affected malaria transmission – and how understanding this was a big part of the battle in containing it.

Finally, looking ahead to the challenge of maintaining Sri Lanka’s malaria-free status, Dr Anula Wijesundere, who saw the epidemic at first hand as a consultant at Polonnaruwa hospital from 1986 to 1989, talks of the danger of complacency and the vital importance of early diagnosis,

Source: theguardian.com

Here are some important facts about Dengue and Chikungunya

Here are some important facts about Dengue and Chikungunya

In a recent report, the MCD has confirmed as many as 2,711 dengue cases till October 8 as the situation remains critical.

New Delhi: Dengue and chikungunya have struck fear in Delhi so much that the health graph of the city has registered a steep rise in these cases of late.

In a recent report, the MCD has confirmed as many as 2,711 dengue cases till October 8 as the situation remains critical across the country.

With these vector-borne diseases, characterised by high fever and severe pain in the joints, taking their toll on our lives, experts have listed down some of the misconceptions about them that have been setting off false alarm bells around the country and undermining the efforts to curb and control these ailments.

1. Dengue and chikungunya mosquitoes breed in dirty water: This is the most common misconception associated with dengue and chikungunya. It is not just dirty water that mosquitoes can lay eggs in; clean water that has been stagnant for over five days can also often act as the best breeding ground for Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. Discarded tyres and tubes, empty flower pots, water stored in drums and water collected under refrigerators after defrosting can all be potential breeding havens for mosquitoes.

2. Having dengue once means it will not occur again: There are four different types of dengue viruses namely DEN 1, 2, 3 and 4. Being affected by one of the four types offers no protection against other strains, which means much like common flu, dengue can be contracted multiple times by a patient over the course of his/her lifetime.

3. Antibiotics are needed to treat dengue and chikungunya: So far, there is no vaccine that can immunise human beings against these diseases but vaccine for dengue will be coming soon. Nearly 75 percent of dengue cases are curable just by properly dispensing oral fluids and providing proper care and treatment to patients. Only prevention and control of mosquitoes can ensure long-term protection against these diseases.

4. Low platelet count does not always mean dengue: People tend to associate low platelet count with dengue. While it is a good indicator to find out if a patient is suffering from dengue or not, a common cold and viral fever can also bring down your platelet count. There are several other viral infections which can result in a low platelet count; people diagnosed with blood-related diseases, anaemia, severe infections and immunological disorders are bound to have fewer platelets in their blood.

5. Using insecticide sprays is enough to kill mosquitoes: While sprays and fumigation can prove beneficial in curbing the mosquito population to a great extent, using only insecticides cannot ensure 100 percent safety against mosquitoes. The main reason for this is mosquitoes get killed but eggs and larvae don’t get killed. It is equally important to keep your surroundings clean and tidy. Vectors are born in stagnant water accumulated in coolers, air conditioners, pots, ornamental plants, fountains, water tanks, bird feeders, etc. Hence, it is important to maintain hygiene in and around the house, and not allow water to accumulate anywhere.

6. Chikungunya will lead to joint deformity: While symptoms of chikungunya include joint pain and muscle pain, and can closely mimic rheumatoid arthritis or other rheumatologic diseases, the vector-borne disease cannot deform your joints. Most patients recover fully but in some cases, the joint pains may persist for weeks or months.

Given the rapid rise in the number of reported cases of dengue and chikungunya, it is essential for every individual to contribute in the fight against these deadly diseases and to keep India healthy and illness-free. Accurate information, coupled with proper preventative measures, can play a major role in achieving this aim and ensure a tomorrow free from the threat of dengue and chikungunya.

Source: Deccan Chronicle News



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