Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gnathostoma roundworm found in imported eels to China

Health officials in Shanghai, China, announced Tuesday that they discovered a nematode parasite in batches of imported eels from Indonesia and the Philippines.
The discovery has prompted city officials to urge state-level authorities to place a ban on eels imported from the two Southeast Asia nations.
According to an official with the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, this is the first time the parasitic roundworm, Gnathostoma spinigerum has been seen in China.
Testing of the eels by the Quarantine Bureau demonstrated that in 26 samples of eels imported from Indonesia, the parasite was found in 14 samples. It was also found in nine samples from Philippines.
Bureau officials said there was a large market for eels in China and imported products were popular.
Gnathostoma spinigerum is a nematode parasite considered endemic in Thailand and also found in most Southeast Asian countries. It has also been found in the United States, Japan, Mexico and Australia, though it is rare to find it outside of the Asian continent.

The parasite infects vertebrate mammals like dogs, cats and pigs which are the definitive or final hosts for the parasite. 
People typically become infected by ingesting raw or undercooked fish or poultry.
The symptoms of human gnathostomiasis are related to the migration of the immature larval stage (L3) in the subcutaneous tissue causing painful swellings.
More serious manifestations are typically the result of larval migration to the central nervous system (CNS) causing eosinophilic meningitis.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bangladesh dealing with kala-azar and anthrax outbreaks

Doctors at Debiganj Upazila Health Complex said on Monday that 60 people have tested positive for kala-azar in the Panchagarh district. It is even reported that they ran out of testing kits for the parasitic disease.
Kala-azar is a systemic form of leishmaniasis characterized by a grayish appearance of the body, can result in enlarged spleen and liver, diarrhea, emaciation, weakness and death.
It is caused primarily by the parasite, Leishmania donovani.The vector for this parasite is a phlebotomine sandfly. There are a few different species implicated depending on the part of the world.
In addition to the problem with leishmaniasis, three people have reportedly been infected with anthrax in Sathia upazila of Pabnaaccording to health officials.
The three Chinanari villagers were confirmed with the deadly bacterial infection on Friday. They are currently being treated with antibiotics.
The three contracted the disease while processing infected meat.
Anthrax is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. This spore forming bacteria can survive in the environment for years because of its ability to resist heat, cold, drying, etc. this is usually the infectious stage of anthrax.
There are no reports of person-to-person transmission of anthrax. People get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products, consuming undercooked meat of infected animals and more recently, intentional release of spores.

Saudi health ministry says no visas without up-to-date vaccinations

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has informed their embassy personnel abroad not to issue visas for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from around the world if they don’t comply with vaccination requirements outlined by the ministry.
For example, pilgrims from yellow-fever-designated nations must provide certificates of vaccinations meeting international health requirements against the virus in order to apply for a pilgrim visa. The vaccination must have been administered a minimum of 10 days and a maximum 10 years prior to arrival in the Kingdom. 
According to Ministry spokesperson, Khalid Marghalani, differing modes of transport arriving from those designated countries must also provide a valid certificate certifying that all mosquitoes aboard have been exterminated. 
These countries include: Angola, Benin, Sudan, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Burundi, Chad, Uganda, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Kenya, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ecuador, Guyana, Brazil, Bolivia, Surinam, Peru, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Columbia, Argentina and Paraguay. 
In addition, people must provide proof of vaccination against meningitis administered a minimum of 10 days prior to arrival and a maximum of three years, with authorities in the country of origin also administering adults and children of two years of age and over the ACYW135 vaccination. Pilgrims proceeding from African belt nations, in addition to requiring the ACYW135 vaccination, will be administered upon their arrival by Saudi health authorities a single 500 milligram dose of Ciprofloxacin. 
There are additional requirements for polio (depending on country) and seasonal flu that must be met prior to obtaining a visa.
The Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca which can be performed anytime of the year.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Philippines province seeks WHO assistance to battle schistosomiasis

The problem with the parasitic disease, schistosomiasis, in the resort areas of Bukidnon province in the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines, is so bad that the Bukidnon Provincial Board has passed a resolution requesting the World Health Organization (WHO) to intervene and provide financial assistance.
The resolution passed late last week seeks the assistance of WHO to declare the spring as a pilot area where they can pour scientific, medical, and financial resources to prevent schistosomiasis.
The Matin-ao Spring Resort in Bangcud, Malaybalay City, which is a popular vacation destination for domestic and international travelers, has had serious issues with schistosomiasis for at least the past 10 years.
The provincial government has prohibited bathing in the resort inside its seven-hectare property, but visitors manage to sneak in and bathe in the spring resort’s cool waters.
Attorney Nemesio Beltran Jr. told the newspaper, MindaNews,“The problem is too complicated that we have to ask them to intervene. The provincial government does not have the money and technical expertise to solve the schistosomiasis problem.” 
Schistosomiasis is an acute or chronic disease, produced by parasites called Schistosoma. It is not a single disease, but a disease complex initiated by several different species of schistosomes. It is 2nd only to malaria in terms of socioeconomic & public health importance, with 200 million people infected in approximately 75 countries. It is the most deadly NTD, causing an estimated 280,000 deaths each year, and severely disabling 20 million people. Schistosomiasis is transmitted via contaminated fresh water inhabited by snails carrying the parasite.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Girl’s death in Uganda confirmed to be caused by Ebola

It was reported Friday that testing on samples from a young girl who died while hospitalized in Uganda, confirmed that the causative agent was the deadly Ebola virus.
The girl died in a hospital in the town of Bombo in Central Uganda, less than a half-hour from the country’s capital, Kampala.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever was first recognized in 1976 and was named after a river in the Congo. It received a lot of popular attention thanks to the best-seller, “The Hot Zone”.
Infections with Ebola virus are acute. There is no carrier state. Because the natural reservoir of the virus is unknown, the manner in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak has not been determined.
People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an infected person. Thus, the virus is often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with such secretions when caring for infected persons. People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
The incubation period for Ebola HF ranges from 2 to 21 days. The onset of illness is abrupt and is characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.
The death rate for Ebola HF can be up to 90%. There is no standard treatment for Ebola HF.