Monday February 17, 2020
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The World is Three Countries Away From Being Polio-Free: WHO

The wild polio virus is present in parts of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, which are under the control of Boko Haram militants.

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Polio, afghanistan
A boy receives polio vaccination drops during an anti-polio campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

As another World Polio Day comes around, the World Health Organization reports three polio endemic countries— Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria — hold the key to the global eradication of this crippling disease.

About one-half million children were becoming paralyzed by polio every year when the World Health Organization began its global polio eradication campaign three decades ago. Today, that number has been reduced by more than 99 percent.

WHO reports fewer than 30 cases of the disease this year, many of them in countries that had been considered polio-free. Spokesman for the Polio Eradication Initiative Oliver Rosenbauer tells VOA outbreaks have occurred in Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Kenya and Papua New Guinea.

Polio
There’s an exciting new breakthrough in treating some types of deadly brain tumors, that uses, of all things, a polio virus. Doctors at Duke Health in North Carolina genetically altered the virus because it produces such a strong immune response in our bodies. Flickr

“This really, really underscores the risk that we have this disease — that it will continue to reappear, reemerge in areas that have already eradicated this disease. We see this time and again,” said Rosenbauer. “It is not the first time that we are facing new outbreaks again and we are confident, we know what it takes to stop these outbreaks again.”

Rosenbauer says these countries are implementing emergency measures to stop the outbreak. But, he warns the risk of the wild polio virus spreading across borders will continue until the disease is eradicated in the three endemic states of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

“These three countries hold the key to a polio-free world,” said Rosenbauer. “They have been battling this disease so very long, but they are making actually tremendous progress this year. Never before have we seen the disease in these countries at such low levels as we are today, this year.”

Polio
Widespread unrest in Afghanistan has kept thousands of children from receiving polio vaccines this year. Conflict in northern Nigeria does the same. VOA

Rosenbauer says Afghanistan and Pakistan have each reported six cases of this disease.

He says no cases of the paralytic disease have been detected in Nigeria. But that, he says, does not mean there are no new cases of the disease there.

Also Read: Ebola Not A Global Health Emergency: WHO

He notes the wild virus is present in parts of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, which are under the control of Boko Haram militants. This, he says makes it too dangerous for health workers to conduct disease surveillance to see whether the virus is circulating. (VOA)

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Shortness Of Breath, Cough Are Common Symptoms of Lung Cancer: Study

Most people with these symptoms will not have lung cancer, but it's well worth letting your GP decide if you need tests

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Lungs
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the UK and has a poor five year survival rate of around 13 per cent. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that there are two symptoms which could act as potential predictors of the lung cancer.

The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, found that shortness of breath and a cough were becoming more common as the first symptoms in diagnosis.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the UK and has a poor five year survival rate of around 13 per cent.

Research led by the University of Exeter, aimed to improve potentially life-saving early diagnosis through analysing which symptoms patients present first to their doctor.

“Our paper shows a rapid change in the first symptom doctors are seeing. That’s probably not caused by any change in basic biology, it’s more likely to be down to earlier detection,” said study researcher Willie Hamilton, a Professor at the University of Exeter.

For the findings, the research team examined 27,795 records of adults who were diagnosed with lung cancer between 2000 and 2017, at more than 600 UK GP (general practitioner) practices. Over the 17 year period, the team found an increase in both cough and shortness of breath as the first symptom patients reported when they went on to be diagnosed with lung cancer.

The study, funded by Cancer Research UK and supported by NIHR, found a decrease in patients who reported the first symptom to be coughing up blood, or loss of appetite, generally regarded as the headline symptom of lung cancer.

Cancer
Researchers have revealed that there are two symptoms which could act as potential predictors of the lung cancer. Pixabay

“It means teaching must change — clinicians must be alert to the risks of cough and shortness of breath,” Hamilton said.

According to the researchers, this important study indicates that people are now going to the doctor about different symptoms of lung cancer, such as cough and shortness of breath, possibly because of awareness campaigns in the past.

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“Most people with these symptoms will not have lung cancer, but it’s well worth letting your GP decide if you need tests – because if it is cancer, a prompt diagnosis and speedy treatment make all the difference,” said study researcher Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK. (IANS)