Video on Zika Virus: Many questions remain unanswered

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Zika virus

– Dr. Munish Kumar Raizada
Watch this latest video on Zika virus.

Last year, it was Ebola virus that causes a global alarm and anxiety. Now it is Zika virus.

The World Health Organization is scrambling to address this virus that’s spreading rapidly through Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus has been linked to birth defects and, in adults, to a type of paralysis. Experts have lots of unanswered questions, as do ordinary citizens who spoke to VOA. More from health reporter Carol Pearson…

Thus, it emerges that this is causing alarm in Latin America. Many cases of newborn babies born with micro-cephaly (with the smaller size of the head) have been attributed to this virus.

But wait a minute!

Scientists say, they are not yet sure whether Zika virus is to be directly blamed for causing micro-cephaly (causal relationship) or is it something else (other factors) that are playing a role.

Zika virus is transmitted through mosquitoes. Thus, avoiding mosquito-bite is the way to prevent it. This virus can also be transmitted through sex.

Here is an update from Center for Disease Control (CDC) on the areas/countries affected by Zika Virus (as of February 2016):

  • Prior to 2015, such virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
  • In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed virus infections in Brazil.
  • Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries.
  • Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time.
  • India has not seen any case of this virus as yet. In the USA, about 52 cases of travel -associated Zika virus have been reported. No locally acquired case has been reported as yet.
  • This video is brought to you by NewsGram in collaboration with Voice of America.
  • The author is a Chicago based board certified Neonatologist and editor-in-chief of NewsGram.

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Try These Refereshing Summer Coolers At Home

You can now enjoy your favorite thirst-quenching summer coolers and beverages without compromising on the taste or on your health

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mango drinks
Try these great tasting and refreshing summer beverages. Pixabay

We are facing one of the hottest summers every recorded in the country. With these kind of temperature, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain health and stay fit. Staying hydrated is the most important factor to deal with the blistering heat. Enjoying your favourite beverages to beat the heat and proper hydration to the body sounds like a great idea. But these beverage delights come loaded with sugar and calories. Sugary beverage intake is significantly associated with a number of health issues.

Even WHO guideline recommend adults and children should reduce their daily intake of free sugar to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5 percent or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

“Believe it or not but you can now enjoy your favourite thirst quenching summer coolers and beverages without compromising on the taste or on your health. It is time to replace sugar with a natural, zero calorie and great tasting sweetener such as Stevia to make your favourite beverages healthy, hydrating and refreshing. It can be part of a healthy lifestyle when it comes to looking for ways to reduce sugar and calories for your family,” says Navneet Singh, VP Asia Pacific and Head of South Asia region at PureCircle.

Try these great tasting and refreshing summer beverages sweetened with Stevia to beat the blistering heat and enjoy summer.

Summer coolers
Make your favourite summer coolers healthy, hydrating and refreshing. Pixabay

 

GINGER MINT LEMONADE

Ingredient (1 Serving)

Water 1cup (2000ml)

Lemon -1 tablespoon

Mint -15-20 leaves

Ginger- 1 teaspoon

Sugar free green 2 e scoops

Recipe

Take a cup of water in a pan and add 1 tsp fresh ginger.

Simmer for 10 minutes at low heat then keep aside and steep for another 30 minutes.

After 30 min strain the ginger extract in a bowl.

Lightly Crush mint leaves in another bowl with help of rolling pin or in pestle mortar.

Add lemon juice, ginger extract, sugar free green & remaining water (cold).

Mix all ingredients, remove mint leaves.

Pour the mixture into glasses and garnish with a slice of lemon.

MANGO LASSI

Ingredient (1 Serving)

Mango pulp/mango slice-1cup (100g)

Curd-1/2 cup (50g)

Water-1cup (100g)

Cardamom powder-1 teaspoon (0.5g)

Sugar free green- 3 scoops

Recipe

Pour mango pulp in a blender and add curd,

cardamom powder, water & sugar free green.

Blend it for 2 min or until it form a smooth blend.

Pour blend in a glass, garnish with few mango cube shape pieces.

MANGO GINGER LEMONADE

Ingredient (1 serving)

Mango puree -1/2 cup(50ml)

Water -2cup (250ml)

Ginger shredded -1 teaspoon

Sugar free green- 3 scoops

Lemon juice -2 Table spoon

Recipe

Take half cup of water in a pan and add 1 tsp fresh ginger.

Simmer for 10 minutes at low heat then keep aside and steep for another 30 minutes.

After 30 min strain the ginger extract in a bowl.

Add lemon juice to it, then add mango puree, 3 scoop sugar free green & remaining water (cold).

Mix all ingredients with hand or blend for 10-20 sec.

Pour the mixture into glasses and garnish with mango slice.

Summer coolers
Staying hydrated is the most important factor to deal with the blistering heat. Pixabay

MANGO SHAKE

Ingredient (1 serving)

Milk 1cup (125ml)

Mango slices 3/4cup (100ml)

Sugar free green 3 scoops

Almond 2 pieces

Raisins 4 pieces

Recipe

Chopped mango slice into small pieces.

Add mango pieces, 3 scoop of sugar free green & milk into the blender.

Blend until everything mix uniformly.

Pour shake into the glass and garnish with chopped almonds and raisins.

Also Read: On World No Tobacco Day, Experts Advice To Use Lockdown To Quit Smoking

NIMBU PANI

Ingredient (1 serving)

Lemon- 1 medium size

Chilled Water- 2 glass (400ml)

Rock salt- as preferred

Mint leaves-8 leaves

Sugar free green – 4 scoop

Cumin powder- optional

Chat masala- optional

Recipe

Take chilled water in a vessel.

Slice lemon & squeeze the juice with squeezer. Discard the seed.

Add black salt, mint leaves & sugar free green.

Mix all ingredients.

Serve chilled (IANS)

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WHO Accuses Tobacco Industry of Luring Children Into Usage of Tobacco By Marketing Practices

WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices

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Children wear strings of cigarette and chewable tobacco and rehearse for a play on World No Tobacco Day in Gauhati, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

The World Health Organization accuses the tobacco industry of devious tactics to get children and young people hooked on their deadly tobacco and nicotine products.  In advance of World No Tobacco Day (May 31), the WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices.

More than 40 million young people aged 13 to 15 smoke and use other tobacco products. The World Health Organization says the tobacco industry tries to get children and young people hooked on tobacco early in life, knowing this will turn them into life-long smokers. Unfortunately, WHO says many smokers do not live very long.  Every year, it notes millions of people have their lives cut short because of cancers, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses.

Coordinator of WHO’s No Tobacco Unit, Vinayak Prasad, says the tobacco industry invests more than $9 billion a year to advertise its products.  He says much of this huge budget targets young people with attractive promotional campaigns. “At the moment, they are spending a million dollars an hour, which is by the time we finish our press conference, that is a million dollars spent,” said Prasad.  “And, why are they doing it?  They are doing it to find replacements users.  Eight million premature deaths every year.  So, they need to find new replacements.”

WHO says the industry sets its sights on the next generation of users by targeting children and young people in markets where tobacco products are not regulated and they can be manipulated easily. WHO is launching a new kit for school students aged 13 to 17 to protect them from the tobacco industry’s exploitative practices.  WHO Director of Health Promotion, Ruediger Krech says the kit alerts young people to the industry’s devious tactics and teaches them to say no.

Smoking Tobacco
WHO tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries. Pixabay

“The tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries, e-cigarette flavors that attract youth in like bubble-gum and candy, e-cigarette representatives presenting in schools, and product placement in popular youth streaming shows,” said Krech.

WHO is calling on all sectors of society to prevent the tobacco industry from preying on youth.  To reach a young audience, the agency is spreading its no tobacco message on  TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media. Health officials urge schools, celebrities and influencers to reject all offers of sponsorship from the industry.  They call on TV and streaming services to stop showing tobacco or e-cigarette use on screen.

Also Read: Read PM Modi’s Letter To Indians amid COVID war

They say governments should ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship and should enact strict tobacco control laws. (VOA)

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The Indian Triple Disaster: Virus, Heat Wave And Locusts

Other than Coronavirus pandemic, India faces 2 more challenges to cope up with

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Locusts
Migrant workers, who left cities and towns where they were abandoned by their employers, rest inside a tent before traveling in special trains arranged to transport them to villages in home states, at a railway station in Gauhati, India, May 28, 2020. VOA
By Associated Press

As if the coronavirus wasn’t enough, India grappled with scorching temperatures and the worst locusts invasion in decades as authorities prepared for the end of a monthslong lockdown despite recording thousands of new infections every day as per the Latest news on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This triple disaster drew biblical comparisons and forced officials to try to balance the competing demands of simultaneous public health crises: protection from eviscerating heat but also social distancing in newly reopened parks and markets.

The heat wave threatens to compound challenges of containing the virus, which has started spreading more quickly and broadly since the government began easing restrictions of one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns earlier this month.

“The world will not get a chance to breathe anymore. The ferocity of crises are increasing, and they’re not going to be spaced out,” said Sunita Narain of New Delhi’s Center for Science and Environment.

When her 6-year-old son woke up with a parched throat and a fever, housekeeper Kalista Ekka wanted to bring him to the hospital. But facing a deluge of COVID-19 patients, the doctor advised Ekka to keep him at home despite boiling temperatures in the family’s two-room apartment in a low-income neighborhood in South Delhi.

“The fan only makes it hotter but we can’t open the window because it has no screen,” and thus no defense against malaria and dengue-carrying mosquitoes, Ekka said.

In a nearby upmarket enclave crowded with walkers and joggers every morning and at dusk — some with face coverings, some without — neighbors debated the merits of masks in an online forum.

In the heat, “it is very dangerous to work out with a mask. So a Catch-22 situation,” said Asmita Singh.

heat locusts
India is facing high tempratures with many people lacking water and air conditioning. Pixabay

Temperatures soared to 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.6 degrees Celsius) in the capital New Delhi this week, marking the warmest May day in 18 years, and 122 F (50 C) in the desert state of Rajasthan, after the world’s hottest April on record.

India suffers from severe water shortages and tens of millions lack running water and air conditioning, leaving many to seek relief under shady trees in public parks and stepwells, the ancient structures used to harvest rainwater.

Though many people continued wearing masks properly, others pushed them onto chins, or had foregone them altogether.

Cyclone Amphan, a massive super storm that crossed the unusually warm Bay of Bengal last week, sucked up huge amounts of moisture, leaving dry, hot winds to form a heat wave over parts of central and northern India.

At the same time, swarms of desert locusts have devastated crops in India’s heartland, threatening an already vulnerable region that is struggling with the economic cost of the lockdown.

Exasperated farmers have been banging plates, whistling or throwing stones to try to drive the locusts away, and sometimes even lighting fires to smoke them out. The swarms appeared poised to head from Rajasthan north to Delhi, but on Wednesday a change in wind direction sent them southward toward the state of Madhya Pradesh instead.

grasshopper-locusts
Swarms of desert locusts have devastated crops in India’s heartland. Pixabay

K.L. Gurjar, a top official of India’s Locust Warning Organization, said his 50-person team was scrambling to stop the swarms before breeding can take place during India’s monsoons, which begin in July. Otherwise, he said, the locusts could destroy India’s summer crops.

Meanwhile, India reported another record single-day jump of more than 6,500 coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing up the total to 158,333 confirmed cases and 4,531 deaths.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is preparing a new set of guidelines to be issued this weekend, possibly extending the lockdown in worst-hit areas while promoting economic activity elsewhere, with unemployment surging to 25%.

The sudden halt to the Indian economy when the lockdown began March 25 has been devastating for daily laborers and migrant workers, who fled cities on foot for their family homes in the countryside.

The government started running special trains for the migrants, but deaths on the rails because of starvation or dehydration have been reported. Others immediately put into quarantine centers upon their arrival in home districts have tested positive for COVID-19, adding to the burden of severely strained rural health systems.

mouth-guard
India reported another record single-day jump of more than 6,500 coronavirus cases. Pixabay

To jump start the economy, Modi’s environment ministry has moved to lower liabilities for industrial polluters and given private players the right to explore for coal and mine it. Cheap oil will fuel recovery efforts worldwide.

Also Read: IIT Mandi Researchers Have Developed Low-Cost Portable Ventilators

Indian environmental journalist Joydeep Gupta said that the perfect storm of pandemic, heat and locusts show India must go green. He said the government should implement policies to safeguard biodiversity and offer incentives for green energy to reduce greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Instead, “the government is promoting the same sectors of the industry that have caused the multiple crises in the first place,” he said.

But Narain said other government initiatives that expand federal agriculture employment, cash transfer and food ration programs help India deal more effectively with its threats.
“It’s building coping abilities of the very poor to be able to deal with stress after stress after stress,” she said. (VOA)