Friday December 15, 2017

Swine flu: Is Modi-led government doing too little too late?

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By Harshmeet Singh

Even as the health departments reiterate their stand repeatedly by claiming that ‘everything is under control’, the H1N1 swine flu virus continues to spread rapidly across the country. As we write this, more than 22,000 people from different parts of the country have been tested positive with this virus, with over 400 of them losing their lives.

The situation on the ground

Rajasthan, Gujarat and Delhi are the worst hit states, with Gujarat imposing section 144 in Ahmedabad to stop mass gathering in order to check swine flu. While a number of people have been proactive in buying masks and wearing them at public places, the fact remains that most of these masks aren’t equipped to prevent the virus from entering your respiratory system. The pore size of many such  masks is bigger than the virus itself, making them ineffective. While the clinically certified masks are also available in the market, they cost 20 times more than the normal masks. Also, unless these masks are disposed carefully after use, the threat of the virus doesn’t fade away.

swine flu1

Patients from a number of cities have also reported trouble in getting tamiflu medicine, the only proven cure of swine flu. According to the hospitals, many people are buying tamiflu without getting themselves tested, which is resulting into a shortage of drug. Since its symptoms are similar to normal seasonal flu, people have started taking the medicine as a ‘precautionary measure’ without consulting a doctor.

One of the other reasons leading to shortage of tamiflu is that it is a Schedule X drug, which is sold by  a very few drug stores. A Schedule X drug can only be sold if the buyer presents a prescription from a qualified doctor. Additionally, the retailer is required to keep a copy of the prescription for the next couple of years after sale of the drug.

Experts say that a rise in temperature would bring down the number of cases since the virus thrives in cold climate.

What is the Government up to?

The Government, on its part, has begun procurement of 60,000 units of tamiflu medicine along with 10,000 N-95 masks (clinically certified for protection from swine flu virus). About 10,000 diagnostic kits are also in the process of being procured by the Government to ensure that there is no shortage of logistics.

In Delhi, the Government has fixed the fees of diagnostic tests at Rs 4,500. The labs flouting these norms are being given show cause notice by the Government. Although Delhi has seen the largest number of confirmed swine flu cases this year, the death rate in the city is much lower comparatively, owing to much better medical facilities as compared to other parts of the country.

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Some Diagnostic centres for H1N1 swine flu virus in Delhi & Mumbai

 

Metro Heart InstituteFaridabad
M I Heart & Women’s Health Care Clinic & Diagnostic CenterSarita Vihar, Delhi
Asha USA Mini Medicine CityGurgaon
Rohini Family ClinicRohini sector 7, Delhi
SRL Ranbaxy ClinicNew Friends Colony, Delhi
Max Multi Speciality HospitalGreater Noida
Dr. Lal path labsPitampura, Patel Nagar, Hari Nagar and other locations in Delhi
RX Diagnostic CentreDwarka, Delhi
Micron LaboratoryGreen Park, Delhi

 

Star Diagnostic & Healthcare centreAndheri West, Mumbai
Way2Health DiagnosticVashi, Kharghar and Ghansoli, Mumbai
Bhide LaboratoryByculla, Mahalaxmi, Grant Road West, Girgaon, Chembur, Lower Parel and Santacruz West, Mumbai
Atharva DiagnosticThane East, Mumbai
Chikitsa PathologyKoperkhairane, Mumbai
Darshan Clinic LaboratoryKandivali East, Borivali West, Mumbai
Rudra DiagnosticGoregaon East, Mumbai
Anu Diagnostic & Scan CentreMulund West, Mumbai

 

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You May Soon Be Able to Prevent Chikungunya With Vaccines! IIT-Roorkee Researchers Discover Drug to Fight the Disease

At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease

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cases of dengue
Dengue and Chikungunya are viral diseases transmitted to humans via infected mosquitoes. Pixabay

Roorkee, October 9, 2017 : Dengue and Chikungunya are known to strike fear in the country every year, so much so that the health graph of the city registers a steep rise in these cases. Both of the water-borne diseases, characterized by high fever and pain in the joints, take a toll on our lives. So far, there is no vaccine to immunize people against the spread of the Dengue and Chikungunya virus. However, researchers at IIT-Roorkee have now discovered that a commonly-utilized de-worming drug can be efficiently used for treatments against Chikungunya.

According to a report by PTI, Shailly Tomar, lead researcher and a professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in Uttarakhand was quoted as saying, “Our research has shown that piperazine, a drug existing in the market, is successful in curbing the spread and replication of the Chikungunya virus in a lab setting.”

The drug, Piperazine, is usually used in de-worming treatments against round-words and pinworms. Using their expertise in virology and structure biology, experts have now discovered the anti-viral capabilities of the drug that can potentially prompt new therapies against the fatal, mosquito borne disease.

The researchers are currently testing the molecule on animals, and will consequently take it to clinical trials.

ALSO READ What preventive steps have the city Government taken to control Dengue and Chikungunya, asks the Delhi High Court

The molecular details uncovered in the study, which has been published in the journal Antiviral Research, will be additionally used to plan piperazine-derivative medications that are more compelling to fight against the Chikungunya virus.

Using X-ray crystallographic technique, in combination with computational science and fluorescence strategies, the researchers discovered that piperazine binds itself with the hydrophobic (water-hating) pocket of capsid protein present in the Chikungunya virus, which can reduce the spread of the virus.

“This pocket is key to the replication of the virus and its spread inside a host. Inhibiting the pocket prevents budding and spread of the virus and can help in treating the virus effectively using existing drugs,” Tomar said.

Chikungunya has become a major public health concern, with an increasing number of people being plagued by the disease every year.

 At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease. 

Developing a new anti-viral drug molecule can take up to 10 years. To tend to the disease on an immediate basis, Professor Tomar added, “We are looking at repositioning existing, approved drugs and testing these to see if they might inhibit or kill pathogenic viruses.”

 

 

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Swine Flu Guide: All You Need to Know about the Global Pandemic Disease!

Around 8,648 Swine Flu cases were reported and 345 deaths were caused by Swine Flu till May 7, 2017

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Symptoms of Swine Flu
Symptoms of Swine Flu. Wikimedia
  • Swine flu is a disease that attacks the respiratory tract of pigs, is caused by influenza viruses
  • The first time when Swine Flu was identified in humans was in the year 2009 in Mexico
  • Consult your doctor if you think you are at a higher risk of acquiring this infection

New Delhi (India), Aug 22, 2017: Swine Flu can get transferred from one person to another. Thus, it creates a panic situation whenever a single person is infected with this disease. To avoid catching this disease we can take some precautions.

As per the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare India- there has been 8,648 Swine Flu cases and 345 deaths caused by this disease till May 7, 2017. There were 1,786 Swine Flu cases and 265 deaths caused by it in 2016. Till May 7, Tamil Nadu alone has had 2,798 cases of it, 181 and 130 people suffered at the hands of this disease in Maharashtra and Gujarat respectively.  The worst years for Swine Flu outbreak in India were 2009-10 when it affected almost 50,000 people and took more than 2,700 lives across the country.

According to ANI report, some important guidelines on diagnosis of  Swine Flu are given below. We have also mentioned the steps one should take if they catch Swine Flu and other crucial pointers which you don’t want to miss.

What is Swine Flu?

Swine flu is a disease that attacks the respiratory tract of pigs, is caused by influenza viruses. The symptoms shown by an infected animal are barking cough, decreased appetite, listless behavior and nasal secretions. The virus can mutate and get easily transmissible in humans.

Also Read: 40 swine flu cases in Delhi already in 2016

Where did it originate from?

The first time when Swine Flu was identified in humans was in the year 2009 in Mexico. After a few months, the very first of the swine flu cases were reported; slowly the rate, at which H1N1-related illness started spreading, was increasing around the globe. As a result, in August 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the infection ‘a global pandemic’ (a disease prevalent all over the world).

Even now, H1N1 has not stopped spreading is still getting circulated in humans, as a ‘seasonal flu virus’ and protection against this strain was thus included in seasonal flu vaccines. More recently, another strain, H3N2 infected humans in 2011.

What is the time period till this disease lasts?

Generally, the incubation period of a swine flu virus is between 3 to 7 days but if one catches a serious infection it can last about 9 or even 10 days.

What are the symptoms?

H1N1 flu symptoms take some time to develop, it takes around 1 to 3 days in humans. This is after they are exposed to the virus.

Some Common symptoms are:

  • Body Ache
  • In some cases Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Watery or red eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • vomiting

Also Read: Are you safe? Swine Flu virus mutates in India, becomes more lethal, says MIT study

Is Vaccination possible and available?

If you want to reduce the risk of contracting the influenza virus, it can be done through vaccinations. Consult your doctor if you think you are at a higher risk of acquiring this infection. The need to get vaccinated increases if one is traveling to a place where many cases have been recently reported.

The High-risk groups are:

  • Children: who are younger than 5 yrs of age, especially those who are younger than 2 yrs
  • Senior citizens: Those 65 years and older
  • Pregnant women: who are within 2 weeks of delivery, including those women who have had a miscarriage
  • Chronic Medical Conditions: People suffering from it. Chronic Medical Conditions like heart disease, diabetes asthma, kidney, liver or blood disease, emphysema and neuromuscular disease
  • Those who are immunosuppressed (reduction of the activation or efficacy of the immune system) due to some particular medications or because of HIV

How to get it Diagnosed?

If you want to get it diagnosed, it can be done by taking a nose or throat swab. This should be done within the first 5 days of the illness, this being the most infectious period of the disease. Only a few labs are authorized to conduct Swine Flu tests. The Swab results take 8 to 24 hours, after seeing the results and consulting the doctor, the patient will know if he/she has this disease. Some labs are well equipped with a skilled technician if you prefer a home collection of the sample. “The expert team of pathologists is also able to guide clinicians and patients for report analysis and queries surrounding swine flu diagnosis,” mentions ANI report.

Apart from taking vaccines and getting tested for Swine Flu. One of the easiest ways to prevent catching swine flu is by maintaining a basic hygiene routine which includes washing your hands on a regular basis.

 

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Significant rise in number of Women dying from Drug overdoses Globally: Report

The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board finds governments do not pay enough attention to the huge and growing problem of drug abuse among women

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FILE - In this May 22, 2008 file photo, used syringes and needles are piled on the ground under an underpass on the west side of San Antonio where drug addicts shoot up. VOA

A new report finds a significant rise in the number of women dying from drug overdoses globally, while fewer women than men receive treatment for their addiction and are more severely punished for drug-taking.

The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board finds governments do not pay enough attention to the huge and growing problem of drug abuse among women. The International Narcotics Control Board, which monitors implementation of U.N. international drug control treaties, says women get short shrift when it comes to the enactment of gender-sensitive policies.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Gender-biased

INCB President Werner Sipp tells VOA one-third of global drug users are women, but only one-fifth receive treatment. He says there tends to be a gender bias against women, as they often are punished more harshly for drug-related offenses than men.

“We know that women are significantly more likely than men to be prescribed narcotics and anti-anxiety medications or we see that women are increasingly being arrested for drug-related crimes in some regions much more than men. They have even a disproportionate increase in drug overdoses,” he said.

The report notes HIV infections and mental health disorders are more prevalent among women who abuse drugs. It warns locking women up for drug crimes has a serious and detrimental impact on them and on their children and families.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

Not just in rich countries

Sipp says drug abuse is a problem in both rich and poor countries, though data in African and Asian countries is scant. He adds women drug abusers are likely to have greater difficulty receiving the treatment they need in developing countries.

“I think in Africa, the stigma of women, the stigma, which women have to face is probably greater than for instance in Europe or in the U.S,” he said. “A woman who is addicted does not dare to confess, to show that she is addicted because this might lead to very bad consequences in her community or in the society in general.”

The report calls for alternative measures to punishment and conviction for minor drug crimes among women. It recommends more investment in treatment and rehabilitation programs, education, and social integration. (VOA)