Saturday February 16, 2019

After 20 Deaths Due To Cholera in Zimbabwe, Emergency Declared

Tents have been erected at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital to cater for the growing number of patients.

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Cholera, Zimbabwe
Cholera patients lie in beds in Budiriro clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe. VOA

A cholera emergency has been declared in Zimbabwe’s capital after 20 people have died, the health minister said Tuesday.

The deaths in Harare have many fearing a repeat of the outbreak that killed thousands at the height of the southern African country’s economic problems in 2008. Water and sanitation infrastructure is collapsing.

While touring a hospital, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo told reporters this outbreak is spreading to other parts of the country.

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s Health Minister David Parirenyatwa warns people to wash their hands and drink only clean water.. VOA

“The numbers are growing by the day and to date there are about over 2,000 cases, that’s quite a big number,” the minister said, attributing the outbreak to shortages of safe drinking water and poor sanitation. “This whole problem has arisen as a result of blocked sewers. The other problem is that garbage hasn’t been collected on a regular basis. There is water problems, no water availability.”

Residents in some Harare suburbs have gone for months without tap water, forcing them to dig shallow wells and boreholes that have been contaminated by raw sewage flowing from burst pipes.

Cholera is caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water and can kill within hours if untreated.

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Some Harare citizens walk by a heap of waste which has not been collected for days. Experts say that is a breeding zone for cholera. VOA

The U.N. children’s agency said it is assisting Zimbabwe’s government with hygiene and water provisions.

Also Read: India, Zimbabwe, Bolivia Join Together Against Climate Change

Tents have been erected at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital to cater for the growing number of patients.

In 2008, over 4,000 people died from cholera, according to government figures.

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Know How Higher Intake of Sodium Can Treat Lightheadedness

Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

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sodium
"Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms," Juraschek said. Pixabay

Higher sodium intake should not be used as a treatment for lightheadedness, say researchers challenging current guidelines for sodium consumption.

Lightheadedness while standing, known as postural lightheadedness, results from gravitational drop in blood pressure and is common among adults.

Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

However, contrary to this recommendation, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) found that higher sodium intake, actually increases dizziness.

“Our study has clinical and research implications,” said Stephen Juraschek, researcher from BIDMC in Boston.

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Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions. Pixabay

“Our results serve to caution health practitioners against recommending increased sodium intake as a universal treatment for lightheadedness. Additionally, our results demonstrate the need for additional research to understand the role of sodium, and more broadly of diet, on lightheadedness,” Juraschek said.

For the study, reported in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, the team used data from the completed DASH-Sodium trial, a randomised crossover study that looked at the effects of three different sodium levels (1500, 2300, and 3300 mg/d) on participants’ blood pressure for four weeks.

While the trial showed that lower sodium led to decrease in blood pressure, it also suggested that concerns about lower level of sodium causing dizziness may not be scientifically correct.

Also Read: ‘It Has Been A Very Long Process, But Ultimately A Very Successful Process’: South Korea Agrees to Pay More for U.S. Troops

The study also questioned recommendations to use sodium to treat lightheadedness, an intervention that could have negative effects on cardiovascular health.

“Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms,” Juraschek said.

“Clinicians should check on symptoms after initiation and even question the utility of this approach. More importantly, research is needed to understand the effects of sodium on physical function, particularly in older adults.” (IANS)