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Archive for month: November, 2016

Dengue Claimed 179 Lives, no Death Due to Chikungunya: Government

Dengue Claimed 179 Lives, no Death Due to Chikungunya: Government

Dengue has claimed 179 lives across the country this year while no death has been reported due to chikungunya, though it affected 21,000 people, the Rajya Sabha was told today.

“During 2016 (till November 13), a total number of 179 deaths due to dengue and no death due to chikungunya has been reported in the country.

“The number of positive cases for dengue and chikungunya in the country during 2016 (till November 13) are 90,277 and 21,094 respectively,” Health Minister J P Nadda said in a written reply.

He said the reason behind the steep increase in the number of cases are– water storage practices, poor solid waste management, construction activities, large migratory population, inadequate vector management and lack of protective immunity in the affected population.

Dengue claimed 33 lives in Uttar Pradesh, 28 in West Bengal and 22 in Maharashtra, he said. Replying to another question on the same issue, Minister State for Health Faggan Singh Kulaste said the government has taken measures for prevention and control of dengue and chikungunya in the country, including in Delhi.

He said technical guidelines for prevention and control, clinical management and vector control have been issued to states and UTs while periodic reviews have taken place.

Since January, 2016, 22 review meetings at the levels of Minister, secretary and others were held.

He said since January 12 advisories have been issued at the levels of Secretary (H&FW) and Additional Secretary while states were requested to declare dengue as notifiable disease.

“States were requested to curtail out of pocket expenditure by fixing the rate for testing at Rs 600,” he said.

He said dengue and chikungunya diagnosis is provided through 542 Sentinel Surveillance Hospitals (SSHs) and 15 Apex Referral laboratories (ARLs) identified across the country.

“First version draft of ‘Strategy and Plan of action for Effective Community Participation for Prevention and Control of Dengue’ has been uploaded. A user-friendly App ‘India Fights Dengue’ has been launched while National Dengue Day has been observed on May 16, 2016 throughout the country,” he said.

Source : Smartcooky

School children work on project to fight dengue

School children work on project to fight dengue

BERHAMPUR: At a time when the state is grappling with dengue, students of MM High School, Girishola here have prepared a project to fight the disease.

The project has suggested plantation of marigold, lemon grass and podina (meant) sapling on open spaces of the villages and houses to drive away the mosquito species like aedes and anopheles responsible for diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya.

The project ‘Killer dengue in Girishola – a case study, remedy and solution’ has been prepared by five students of Class VIII with active guidance of the science teacher Raghunath Ghadei. It has been selected for National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) to be held at Vidya Pratishthan’s Institute of Information Technology (VIIT), Baramati, in Maharashtra from December 27 to 31.

The project also suggested development of culture centres of dragonfly and Gambusia fish to prevent increase of mosquito population. “While we have experimented by planting the marigold herbs on the premises of our school, we came to know from the elder persons about the role of dragonfly to kill the small mosquitoes during the preparation of the project,” said P Veketesh, a student involved in the project.

The fragrance of the herbs of marigold, lemon grass and meant can prevent entry of mosquitoes to a particular area, said the guide of the project. Other students, who participated in the preparation of the project, are Rahul Moharana, Balaram Sahu, Asish Moharana and Shankar Pradhan while science supervisor Gopal Krushna Panda was actively involved in the experiments.

While a single dragonfly can eat over 30 mosquitoes a day, its larva also gulps the larva of mosquito, said Ghadei. Similarly the Gambusia fish also eats the larva of mosquito. The students of the high school mooted the project after 200 people were affected by dengue killing six persons in Girishola in July and August.

The team members toured the village and interacted with several victims to know their garbage disposal method. The village along Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border has no space for garbage disposal as the NH-16 passes in one side while railway track is on the other side. In other two sides, there are state highways. The school students along with villagers took 15 days to clean the garbage.

Times of India

New parasitic plant doesn’t use photosynthesis; its flowers never bloom

New parasitic plant doesn’t use photosynthesis; its flowers never bloom

On the Japanese island of Kuroshima, a scientist has discovered a new species of plant that does not use photosynthesis to derive its nutrition. It steals nutrients from fungi instead.

The plant has another peculiar character: its flowers never bloom.

Researcher Kenji Suetsugu of Kobe University chanced upon some 100 individuals of the new plant in April 2016, during a research trip in the lowland forests in Kuroshima. Detailed examination of the plant revealed that it is a new member of the genus Gastrodia, a rare group of mycoheterotrophic orchids that are distributed in the temperate and tropical forests of Asia, Oceania, Madagascar and Africa. Suetsugu has named the new species Gastrodia kuroshimensis after the island on which it was discovered.

The newly discovered orchid — like most other mycoheterotrophic plants — occurs in the dark understory of forests where little light penetrates, according to the new study published in Phytotaxa. So instead of using sunlight or photosynthesis to generate nutrients, the plant parasitizes fungi in the forest soil for its daily dose of nutrition.
New orchid – Gastrodia kuroshimensis – discovered on Kuroshima island in Japan. Photo by Kenji Suetsugu.New orchid – Gastrodia kuroshimensis – discovered on Kuroshima island in Japan. Photo by Kenji Suetsugu.

Moreover, the plant produces dark greenish-brown flowers that remain closed throughout the entire flowering period between April and May. The plants rely completely on self-pollination within closed buds instead.

Such obligate self-pollination, or “complete cleistogamy”, is extremely rare, Suetsugu writes in the paper, but is relatively common in the genus Gastrodia and has been observed in at least three other species: G. clausa, G. takeshimensis Suetsugu and G. flexistyloides.

This unique reproductive strategy may be a product of the environment the plant inhabits, he adds. Since the low-light environment of Mycoheterotrophic plants is usually unsuitable for common insect pollinators, obligate self-pollination may be an evolutionary response that ensures reproductive success when pollinators are absent or limited, the study posits.

So far, the new plant G. kuroshimensis has been found on three Japanese islands — Kuroshima, Akusekijima and Yakushima.

Mongabay

Cities account for 60% of state’s dengue casualties this year

Cities account for 60% of state’s dengue casualties this year

MUMBAI: Around 60% of dengue deaths in the state this year have been reported from urban areas. An analysis of the confirmed cases by the state’s health department also revealed that nearly two-thirds of the positive cases were from the urban areas.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad have reported nearly 70% of the 5,391 dengue cases this year. The state’s figures also show a 63% jump in dengue cases between January and October this year when compared with the corresponding period last year. Out of the 22 deaths this year, 13 have been reported from the urban areas.

Mumbai alone has reported nearly 1,000 cases and four confirmed cases. However, more than 10,000 people have been hospitalised during monsoon for suspected dengue or similar illnesses. Speaking to TOI, head of the directorate of health services Dr Satish Pawar said, “It is particularly worrying because only 40% of our population resides in the urban areas. But, we have found out that construction activities are not the sole reason for the growing incidence of dengue. In certain cases where dengue had become complicated, doctors have used aggressive treatment where it was not required. Some of these hospitals were in big cities”.

Pawar added that the state has drawn up uniform treatment protocols and even trained doctors but the indiscriminate use of platelets continues to be an issue. The BMC had, in an analysis last year, found out that the use of platelets rose by 14-15% during months when dengue peaked in the city. This year, however, the situation was much better. A civic official said the use of platelets during dengue was closely monitored. “This year, there was no unusual demand for platelets,” the official said.

Times of India

UT researchers discover bacterial genes that could lead to effective malaria treatment.

UT researchers discover bacterial genes that could lead to effective malaria treatment.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have identified a set of bacterial genes that may help them find ways to lessen the severity of the disease malaria.

Their findings could also aid the research of fellow scientists working in malaria-stricken regions around the world.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

Collaborators in this work include Steven Wilhelm, the Kenneth and Blaire Mossman Professor in the UT Department of Microbiology; Shawn Campagna, UT associate professor of chemistry; Gary LeCleir, UT research assistant professor of microbiology; Joshua Stough, UT doctoral student in microbiology; and Nathan Schmidt, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Louisville.

The research team earlier this year released a study that found the severity of malaria depends not only on the parasite or the host but also on the microbes in the infected organism. They examined the gut microbiomes of mice.

This new study is helping researchers better understand how gut bacteria work.

Stough analyzed hundreds of genes and eventually found that 32 bacterial genes and 38 mice genes have the characteristics–or phenotypes–that can affect malaria.

“We’re pretty excited because it means there is a limited number of genes to work with,” Wilhelm said. That discovery will make it easier to find a more effective malaria treatment for people.

Much of the study was carried out in Wilhelm’s UT lab.

When the research team released the first study in February, scientists around the world doing similar microbiome work expressed interest.

“The findings in this second study could allow scientists to look at data they’re collecting and try to draw comparisons to see if what we’re seeing is also happening in their samples from malaria-stricken regions,” Wilhelm said. “We’re collecting data in a way that can be used to answer other questions after the fact.”

Hundreds of children die every year from malaria. “If we can find a way to mitigate this disease, we can positively influence a large number of people,” Wilhelm said.

Source: http://www.news-medical.net/

Dengue cases grew by 63% in Maharashtra this year

Dengue cases grew by 63% in Maharashtra this year

The number of dengue cases in Maharashtra rose 63% between January and October this year compared to the same period last year. The number of deaths have remained the same, with 22 deaths in the comparative periods for 2015 and 2016.

Dengue is transmitted by the aedes aegypti-species of mosquito and has become a major public concern in the past two months, doctors said. A total of 5,653 cases were reported by the state epidemiology department this year as compared to 3,461 cases last year, with cases coming from cities like Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Pune and Nashik, said Dr Kanchan Jagtap , joint director of health services of the state.

“Every year, there is an increase in the number of dengue cases post monsoon. Moreover, the increase in construction sites have created an ideal environment for mosquito breeding,” she said.

Although the number of dengue cases has gone up, not everyone who is infected with the virus develops complications, said doctors. “Say out of 100 people infected with dengue, only 10 show complications such as a drop in blood pressure, severe drop in n platelet counts, ”said Dr Pradeep Shah, physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

“Most of the patients who show complications are people who have had dengue in the past, young children, elderly and pregnant women. These are the vulnerable groups,” he said.

Doctors also said state data could be giving an incomplete picture of the dengue situation, because only those cases where the patient has tested positive for dengue infection using the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) method of testing are counted as confirmed. “We treat so many patients who have all symptoms of dengue infection, but their blood test reports for ELISA test are negative. These numbers are not accounted for in the state’s data,” said Dr Altaf Patel, director of medicine Jaslok Hospital.

October 2016

Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation

Number of cases 63 number of deaths 5

Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation

Number of cases 33 number of deaths 2

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

Number of cases 941 number of deaths 2

Source : Hindustantimes.com

Florida’s Fight Over GM Mosquitoes Going to a Vote

Florida’s Fight Over GM Mosquitoes Going to a Vote

Scientists say there is strong evidence that the Zika virus can be controlled by releasing genetically modified male mosquitoes into the wild so they can mate with the disease-spreading females to produce sterile offspring.

But plans for a trial run in Key Haven, Fla., an unincorporated community just east of Key West, have been so controversial that officials decided to put it to a public vote.

Tuesday’s referendum is non-binding, but will weigh heavily on whether the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District proceeds with the test, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August.

The genetically modified mosquitoes have been tested in Brazil, Panama and the Caymen Islands, where they reduced the wild population of Zika-bearing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by more than 90 percent, according to British biotechnology company Oxitec, which developed the engineered strain of mosquitoes.

“In comparison, current technologies such as insecticides are only 30-to 50 percent effective at best,” Oxitec spokesman Matthew Warren told Seeker.

In addition to the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects and other disorders, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are responsible for the spread of dengue and chikungunya. It’s the female mosquitoes that do the biting, spreading disease in their wake.

Oxitec’s solution is to engineer a gene in the males, which are then released into the wild so they can mate with the females. Any offspring that result from the union will carry an engineered “kill switch” and die before maturing enough to mate or bite, drastically reducing the population.

“We have now released more than 180 million of our male self-limiting mosquitoes worldwide. And there have been no reports of adverse impacts in any of these releases,” Warren said.

The trial in the Florida Keys would be the first in the United States.

“The genetically modified mosquitoes are incredibly promising. They’ve been incredibly successful in many of the cases where they’ve been tested for Zika so far. I think that they have tremendous promise in the United States, but there are obviously a lot of fears,” ecologist Colin Carlson, with the University of California, Berkeley, told Seeker.

Among those opposed to the Florida trial is a group of physicians, led by Dr. John Norris, who have questions about whether Oxitec’s mosquitoes, which are dependent on the antibiotic tetracycline to survive, will end up spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“We do not know what to expect when millions of mosquitoes are released on small neighborhoods possibly covered in resistant germs,” the doctors wrote in a petition to the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board.

If the board decides to proceed with the trial, the doctors want to conduct a study to see if residents have altered bacterial resistance patterns.

Whether the referendum passes or not, one thing is certain: the spread of the Zika virus in South Florida is growing.

“We’re still trying to figure out how severe it’s going to be,” Carlson said. “From a public health perspective, it’s not a great situation.”

Pending approval by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, Oxitec’s test could begin next year.

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