Thursday May 24, 2018

Delhi goat milk sellers cash in over dengue scare

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New Delhi: Can papaya plant leaves and goat milk cure dengue? There is no scientific answer to this, but the sales of both have increased phenomenally in the capital as the mosquito-borne disease saw a growth spurt.

Delhi’s civic bodies have so far confirmed only five dengue deaths in the national capital and the number of cases as 1,872. However, independent inquiries by IANS have confirmed 18 deaths till Thursday evening in the city.

Since there is no specific vaccine or drug to prevent dengue, people are looking for alternative or natural home remedies to control the dangerous disease.

“It is mentioned in our books that goat milk helps in recovering fast from dengue fever as the milk is light and easy to digest,” Ayurveda practitioner Dr Aftab Ahmad told IANS.

“There is no mention that the goat’s milk increases platelet count,” he, however, added.

Following suggestions by traditional healers that goat milk may be beneficial to people infected with dengue, its price in the capital has reportedly soared to Rs 2,000 per litre from Rs 800 a litre a few days back, while a dry, shrivelled blade of papaya leaf is available for Rs 500.

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Goat breeders Jai Kishan and Nadeem Gowhar from south Delhi’s Hauz Rani area said there was a huge demand for goat milk.

“Goat milk is being sold at Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 per litre in Malviya Nagar and adjoining areas,” Kishan said.

“We have over 60 goats, but many of them are in the calving stage. Currently, only 3-4 litres of milk is available with us,” he said. “The demand is so high that people have to wait for days to get a glass of goat milk.”

Kishan said the normal price for goat milk is about Rs 35-40 per litre.

On patients suffering from dengue and asking for goat milk, Gowhar said: “We don’t charge for the milk and don’t provide one person more than 400 ml. People often return with gifts to our home after recovering from dengue.”

However, allopathic doctors are not very impressed with the efficacy of goat milk for treating dengue.

“We don’t recommend it (goat milk) for dengue treatment as no major study has been done on this,” said Dr Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant, internal medicine, Max Hospital.

As far as papaya is concerned, it is believed that the juice of papaya leaves can be an alternative treatment for dengue.

“The juice of crushed papaya leaves can prove to be helpful during treatment for dengue,” Dr Shobha Mathur, a nutritionist based in Gurgaon, told IANS.

“Neem, fresh coriander leaves and tulsi can also be taken in the form of tonic to reduce the dengue fever,” Mathur added.

Mathur advises: Drink as much water as possible to keep the body hydrated and to replace the fluid loss. This will also bring down the body temperature while easing symptom like headaches and muscle cramps.

Meanwhile, yoga guru Baba Ramdev told a press conference on Thursday: “Many people have died in the country because of dengue. Central and the state governments both have failed.”

He stressed that instead of running from pillars to posts for admitting their kin in the hospitals, people should take the help of Ayurveda and herbal medicines like aloe vera, pomegranate and papaya juice.

However, doctors say they do not recommend these methods as there is no scientific evidence or research supporting the argument.

“There is no harm in having goat milk, papaya etc but it should not be considered as a mode of treatment for dengue. There is no study which favours the claims,” said Dr OP Sharma, general practitioner with Akash Hospital.

(by Muhammad Zulqarnain Zulfi, IANS)

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Dengue Vaccine Should Not Be Used Widely: UN Health Agency

UN Health Agency issued an important statement regarding the dengue vaccine

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Dengue vaccine.
A Manila Health officer shows off a pair of vials of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia after being recalled from local government health centers Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in "a much safer way," meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease. VOA

The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in “a much safer way,” meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease.

In November, the vaccine’s manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, said people who had never been sickened by dengue before were at risk of developing a more serious disease after getting the shot.

After a two-day meeting this week, WHO’s independent vaccines group said it now had proof the vaccine should only be used “exclusively or almost exclusively in people who have already been infected with dengue.”

Also Read: Anti-dengue Antibody Drug May Neutralize Zika Virus

The U.N. health agency said a test should be developed so doctors would be able to quickly tell if people had previously been sickened by dengue – but the group acknowledged doing that so isn’t straightforward.

“We see significant obstacles in using the vaccine this way, but we are confident this also spurs the development of a rapid diagnostic test,” said Dr. Joachim Hombach, executive secretary of WHO’s expert group, during a news conference Thursday.

Representational image for dengue vaccination
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

Sanofi said last year that doctors should consider whether people might have been previously infected with dengue before deciding whether they should risk getting immunized. The company said it expected to take a 100 million euro ($118 million) loss based on that news.

People who catch dengue more than once can be at risk of a hemorrhagic version of the disease. The mosquito-spread virus is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates across Latin and South America, Asia, Africa and elsewhere. It causes a flu-like disease that can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. In severe cases, dengue can result in breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure.

About half the world’s population is at risk of dengue; WHO estimates that about 96 million people are sickened by the viral infection every year.

Also Read: Dengue fever may increase risk of stroke: Study

Following Sanofi’s announcement last year, the Philippines halted its dengue immunization program, the world’s first national vaccination program for dengue. The government also demanded a refund of more than 3 billion pesos ($59 million) from Sanofi and is considering further legal action.

In February, the Philippines said the vaccine was potentially linked to the deaths of three people: all of them died of dengue despite having received the vaccine.

The country imposed a symbolic fine of $2,000 on Sanofi and suspended the vaccine’s approval, charging that the drugmaker broke rules on how the shot was registered and marketed.

More than 730,000 children aged 9 and above in the Philippines have received at least one dose of the dengue vaccine, usually delivered in three doses.

There is no specific treatment for dengue and there are no other licensed vaccines on the market.  VOA