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Guinea Worm Diseases Moves Towards Total Eradication

While Guinea worm disease may be on the brink of eradication in people, the Carter Center said there were still thousands of cases in animals in several African nations.

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Guinea Worm Disease
A child watches while a nurse with the Carter Center bandages blisters on her leg from where a Guinea worm is emerging, in Abuyong, Sudan, Nov. 4, 2010. VOA

There were just 28 reported human cases of Guinea worm disease (GWD) last year, the U.S.-based Carter Center said Thursday.

The nongovernmental organization founded by former President Jimmy Carter said the disease is gradually moving toward eradication.

The Carter Center says there were about 3.5 million human cases of GWD in Africa and Asia every year before it took the lead of the Guinea Worm Eradication Program in 1986.

“These aren’t just numbers, these are people,” program director Adam Weiss said. “This is why tens of thousands of volunteers, technical advisers, and staff are working in thousands of villages to find and contain the last cases of this miserable disease and show people how to wipe it out once and for all.”

Guinea Worm Disease
A woman points to her toe from where, she said, three worms emerged in 2009 when she was infected with Guinea worm in her town of Terekeka, South Sudan, Oct. 4, 2017. VOA

People and animals get Guinea worm disease from drinking water contaminated with tiny crustaceans that carry the worm larvae. The larvae mate inside the victim and after the male dies, the female emerges from a blister on the skin and can only be gradually pulled out.

Guinea worm disease is rarely fatal. But the Carter Center said it can incapacitate victims for months — something that villagers who work, farm or go to school cannot afford.

Also Read: Pakistan Starts A Nationwide Polio Eradication Drive

There is no vaccine against GWD and no medicine to treat it.

But the disease can be easily prevented by teaching communities how to filter drinking water and keeping Guinea worm patients and animals away from water sources.

While Guinea worm disease may be on the brink of eradication in people, the Carter Center said there were still thousands of cases in animals in several African nations, where violence and insecurity are making effective prevention difficult. (VOA)

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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.

salt
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.

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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)