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Researchers have developed and tested a relatively simple strategy for reducing the chance of parents exposing their babies in the NICU to one of the most commonly diagnosed and potentially deadly microbial scourges in a hospital: Staphylococcus aureus.
“Traditional procedures for preventing hospital-acquired Staph infections in the NICU have primarily focused on keeping staff and facilities as sterile as possible,” said study researcher Aaron Milstone from Johns Hopkins University in the US.
“Our study is among the first to focus on parents as a source of the bacteria and then test the effectiveness of an intervention to combat the problem,” Milstone added.
According to the researchers, Staphylococcus aureus infections in the NICU not only threaten a sick or premature infant’s survival but their neurological development as well.
In a 2015 study, Milstone and others estimated that there are more than 5,000 cases of invasive such infections each year in NICUs across the US and that 10 per cent of the children will likely die before hospital discharge.
To reduce the spread of Staphylococcus aureus, the researchers turned to a simple regimen for mothers and fathers to follow while their child is in intensive care.
The preventive measure includes the application of an antibiotic (mupirocin) ointment into the nose and skin cleansing with a wipe containing two per cent chlorhexidine gluconate, an antiseptic widely used on patients to remove surface bacteria around a surgical site before an operation.
The Treating Parents to Reduce NICU Transmission of Staphylococcus (TREAT Parents) clinical trial was conducted to test the proposed strategy’s effectiveness.
The researchers selected for study 190 newborn babies admitted to two NICUs at Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospitals in Baltimore, Maryland, between November 2014 and December 2018.
Each of the infants had at least one parent who tested positive for the bacteria when screened at the time of their child’s entry into the NICU.
Baseline S. aureus counts were done for the infants at the same time.
The parents of 89 babies self-administered the antibiotic nasal ointment twice a day for five days and cleaned designated skin areas with antiseptic wipes for the same time period.
The control group, consisting of the remaining 101 parental couples, used identically packaged placebo treatments of petroleum jelly and non-antiseptic wipes.
Both sets of babies were monitored for Staphylococcus colonization until discharge from the NICU. Bacteria recovered from the infants were analyzed to determine if they were the same strain as seen in at least one parent.
Among the 190 infants studied overall, 42, or about 22 per cent, acquired S. aureus that matched bacteria recovered from either their mother or father, or from both parents. In this group, four babies had MRSA strains acquired from a parent.
Of the 101 babies with parents in the control group, 29 per cent had parentally acquired bacteria compared with only 13 of the 89 babies whose parents were given actual antibiotic ointment and antiseptic wipes to use.
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“These results from our preliminary trial indicate that treatment with intranasal mupirocin and chlorhexidine wipes may significantly reduce the number of infants in the NICU who will get S. aureus from contact with a parent,” Milstone said. (IANS)
Micro-blogging site Twitter has announced that its audio chatroom Spaces is now open to anyone who wants to host. The Spaces team in a tweet said that the users on both Android and iOS will now be able to host Spaces. "The time has arrived -- we're now rolling out the ability for everyone on iOS and Android to host a Space," the firm said in a tweet.
Earlier this year, the company had limited access to hosting Spaces to accounts with at least 600 followers, saying that it found these accounts would be more likely to have a good experience due to the existing audience. Twitter recently announced a new accelerator programme for creators on its audio conversation platform Spaces, to "discover and reward" around 150 creators with technical, financial and marketing support.
The 'Twitter Spaces Spark' programme is a three-month accelerator initiative. Those selected will get a stipend of $2,500 per month, $500 in monthly ad credits to spend promoting their Spaces on Twitter and early access to new Twitter features. They will also get support from Twitter's official social media handles, and "opportunities for prioritised in-app discoverability for well-performing Spaces".
Twitter has also announced plans to roll out paid Ticketed Spaces for iOS users where some hosts on its live audio feature can now sell access to Ticketed Spaces. Twitter had previously said that it will take a 3 per cent cut of creators' earnings from Ticketed Spaces. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: android, creators, ticketed, access, twitter, spaces
At least 10 regional powers have joined the new Taliban rulers in Afghanistan in their call to the United Nations to help the country bail itself from the feared economic collapse and a humanitarian catastrophe.
At a regional-level meeting in Moscow, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan sided with the Taliban delegation and called on the UN to convene a United Nations donor conference at the earliest to help rebuild the ear-torn Afghanistan.
"It should take place with the understanding that the main burden should be borne by the forces whose military contingents have been present in Afghanistan over the past 20 years," said a joint statement of the Moscow conference.
Voices of concern and criticism were also raised against the United States, which opted not to attend the talks citing 'technical reasons'. The US was criticised for invading Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 and after 20 years, opted to an chaotic withdrawal, which created easy inroads for the Taliban to take control of the country.
It was also highlighted that international aid is the need of the hour for Afghanistan as any instability in the country would have a spillover effect on the regional countries and could threaten regional stability.
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has brought with it looming fears and memories of the '90s, when practices like public stoning, hardline setup and marginalisation of women were normal.
However, the Taliban, under the new government setup, have assured that rights of women will be guaranteed.
"Afghanistan will never allow its soil to be used as a base for anyone to threaten the security of another country," said Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
"Isolating Afghanistan is in no one's interest. The meeting is very important for the stability of the entire region," said Deputy Prime Minister in the Taliban setup, Abdul Salam Hanafi.
The regional powers, including Russia, have maintained that the Taliban are a new reality, calling on them to work towards the formation of an inclusive government with representation from all ethnic groups and political figures.
While the regional powers recognised the need for immediate aid and help for Afghanistan, they have declined to give official recognition to the Taliban government.
"Kremlin recognises Taliban's efforts to try and stabilise the situation in Afghanistan. A new administration is in power now. We note their efforts to stabilise the military and political situation and set up work of the state apparatus," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The Moscow conference holds great importance, as it is the most significant international meeting since the Taliban takeover.
However, the Taliban have been given a clear direction to first meet and fulfil the promises they made when they assumed power, which includes rights to women and an ethnically inclusive government. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Afghanistan, Support, Taliban Government, United Nation
Karwa Chauth is a Hindu festival that is primarily celebrated by married Hindu women. On this day, married Hindu women keep Nirjala fast, which means fasting even without consumption of water, from sunrise to sunset. The reason behind this fast is to pray for their husband's life, health, and safety.
According to the Hindu calendar, Karwa Chauth is celebrated on the fourth day after Purnima in the month of Kartik.
On this day, married Hindu women dress in new clothes (preferably red because signifies a happy married life) and apply henna to their hands. At the same time, women observing this fast get together to celebrate it by narrating the Karwa Chauth Vrat Katha and singing folk songs, which make this a lot more lively. Some women also worship Goddess Parvati in the Karwa Chauth puja followed by Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, and Lord Kartikeya. And, the fast is later broken after having a glimpse of the moon.
Married Hindu women have gathered to perform the Karwa Chauth puja.Photo by Wikimedia Commons.
Interestingly, there are many stories related to Karwa Chauth. Some of them are:
Story of Queen Veervati
This is the most interesting story. There was a queen named Veervati, who was the only sister amongst seven brothers. She spent her first Karva Chauth as a married woman at her parents' house. She began to fast after sunrise but by evening, she was desperately waiting for the moon to rise because she couldn't control her thirst and hunger any longer. Seeing this, her brothers became worried because their beloved sister was suffering from thirst and hunger. So, they begged her to break the fast but she refused. Seeing her in distress, the brothers tricked her by placing a round mirror in a Pipal tree, which made it look like the moon had risen. So, Veervati fell for her brothers' tricks and broke her fast, and the moment she sat down to eat, news came that her husband is dead. This is the reason why married Hindu women observe such a tough fast for their husband's life.
Story of Karwa Chauth in Mahabharata
Interestingly, it is believed that Draupadi also observed the fast of Karwa Chauth for the safety and long life of her five husbands. Once, when Arjun had gone for penance in the Nilgris, the rest of the Pandavas faced many issues in his absence. That was when Draupadi remembered Lord Krishna for his help, and he reminded her that in a similar situation, Goddess Parvati had kept the fast for Lord Shiva. Inspired by this, Draupadi too kept the fast of Karva Chauth for her five husbands. Since then it was believed that the Pandavas were able to face every problem.
Therefore, Karwa Chauth is celebrated by married Hindu women all across the world with full enthusiasm. Though, there is a sect now that has started calling this age-old ritual “patriarchal".
Keywords: Hinduism, Women, Karwa Chauth, Festivals, Patriarchy.