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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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Physicians Happy While Traders in Shock on Ban on E-Cigarettes in India

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger

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e-cigarettes, health, union, ban, india
A man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette, Aug. 28, 2019. VOA

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country with complete suspension of their manufacturing, import, export, distribution and storage, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger over the decision.

“Although, e-cigarettes are little less lethal then the conventional cigarettes, we cannot shun away the fact that it contains harmful ingredients. These chemicals can potentially affect the lungs and overall health of the individual in the long run,” Rajesh Chawla, Senior Pulmonologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, told IANS.

Industry body TRENDS which represents importers, distributors and marketers of ENDS, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems in India, termed the decision to ban e-cigarettes “ironic and erratic”.

“This ban on e-cigarettes on the basis of ‘selective sourcing of scientific and medical opinion’ and without holding a single stakeholder meeting is nothing short of a complete murder of democratic norms,” said Praveen Rikhy, Convenor, TRENDS (Trade Representatives of ENDS).

“All our representations sharing best practices from other countries – 70 developed countries have allowed regulated sale of e-cigarettes, have been completely ignored. We will now initiate a formal campaign to help MPs understand the issue, clarify misapprehensions and misinformation spread by lobby groups and support the farmer groups who see the growth of the e-cigarette sector as a global market opportunity for nicotine,” Rikhy said.

e-cigarettes, health, union, ban, india
The Donald Trump administration on September 12 said that it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes in the US following six deaths. Pixabay

While e-cigarettes have been marketed as a way for adults to quit conventional smoking, a recent outbreak of lung illness associated with use of vaping products in the US has raised concerns about the safety of these products.

The Donald Trump administration on September 12 said that it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes in the US following six deaths linked to vaping.

Health authorities have documented a total of 450 cases involving e-cigarettes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued a health warning against vaping.

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“I entirely support the idea of a ban on e-cigarettes; it is a step in the right direction,” Manoj Luthra, CEO, Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

“E-cigarettes have been projected as a means to help people to quit smoking tobacco and also being non-polluting. However, these have their own health hazards and are addictive as well. These contain nicotine and other chemical vapours which will certainly have ill effects on the heart and lung and other organs as well,” he said. (IANS)