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Bird flu kills a Vietnamese, emergency plan at work

Emergencies / First AidSep 02 05

The deadly bird flu virus, now feared heading for Europe, has killed a Vietnamese, taking the number of deaths in Asia from the disease to 63, a senior official said on Thursday.

The victim, whose gender was not disclosed, died from acute Pneumonia on Sunday and tests showed the H5 component of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in the body, the Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Deputy Health Minister Trinh Quan Huan as saying.

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Manila starts polio fight after Indonesia outbreak

Public HealthSep 02 05

The Philippines has started a polio vaccination drive in the south of the country, fearing a possible spread of the virus from Indonesia. Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a statement the campaign was targeting about 605,000 children in five provinces of the country’s autonomous Muslim region and Zamboanga City, both in southern Mindanao Island.

Polio attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in hours. Children are most at risk.

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UN official says Katrina among worst natural disasters

Public HealthSep 02 05

Hurricane Katrina could easily dwarf the devastation of other recent natural disasters in terms of pure economic costs, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator who oversaw the Asian tsunami relief effort said on Wednesday.

United Nations Undersecretary-General Jan Egeland, who oversaw relief efforts after the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, offered Washington U.N. assistance in a formal letter to new U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.

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Low levels of blood protein tied to muscle decline

HeartSep 02 05

Older adults with relatively low levels of a particular blood protein may have a significant decline in muscle strength over time, a new study suggests.

The protein, called albumin, is known to fall to abnormal levels in certain diseases, including kidney and liver disease. In addition, high levels of other, inflammatory proteins in the blood can lower a person’s albumin levels; chronic inflammation in the body is believed to contribute to a number of medical conditions, such as Heart Disease.

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South Africa anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks

Sexual HealthSep 01 05

A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker’s penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

“Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time,” Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the “rapex”, a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.

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Robot dog—man’s best friend or exercise nag?

Public HealthSep 01 05

It could be a dream or a nightmare—scientists have created a robotic dog that tells you when it’s time for your daily walk.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States plan to recruit Sony’s “canine entertainment robot” Aibo into the obesity police.

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UN rekindles bird flu migration fears in Europe

FluSep 01 05

Migrating birds pose a serious risk of spreading avian flu around the world, including into western Europe, the United Nations food agency said on Wednesday, rekindling fears that European experts moved to quash last week.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) told a news conference that parts of eastern Europe, Africa and south Asia were at risk of being infected by the virus in the near term. Western Europe could face such a risk next year, it said.

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Amnioinfusion doesn’t prevent meconium aspiration

PregnancySep 01 05

Infusion of fluid into the amniotic cavity (amnioinfusion) during labor in women with thick meconium staining of the amniotic fluid does not reduce the risk of meconium aspiration syndrome or death of the fetus or infant, new research shows. This finding held true whether or not slowing of the fetal heart rate was detected.

Meconium aspiration syndrome occurs in when the meconium, the first feces of the newborn, is inhaled either in the uterus or just after delivery. The possibility of inhaling meconium occurs in about 5 to10 percent of births. It typically occurs when the fetus is stressed during labor and is a leading cause of serious illness or death in the newborn.

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U.S. clears new flu vaccine, progress made on another

Drug NewsSep 01 05

U.S. health officials approved a new flu vaccine on Wednesday in hopes of bolstering supplies after last season’s shortage, but said more work is needed before another supplier may be able to resume sales.

The new vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline Plc, aims to fill the void left after rival Chiron Corp. lost its license and could not deliver half the anticipated U.S. supply during the 2004-2005 flu season.

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Toronto reports first two West Nile deaths of 2005

InfectionsSep 01 05

Toronto on Tuesday reported two deaths related to the West Nile Virus, the first for three years in Canada’s largest city.

The city said a 63-year-old man and a 90-year-old man died over the weekend from West Nile, which is carried by birds and transmitted to humans by mosquito bites.

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Eritea wants US help despite asking USAID to go

Public HealthSep 01 05

Eritrea voiced hope on Wednesday that its request for the US government’s overseas development agency to leave the poor Red Sea state would not bring the end of aid from its biggest food donor.

In July, Eritrea asked the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to stop working in the drought-stricken country, one of the most food aid dependent nations in the world, saying it was uncomfortable with the agency’s activities.

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Cholera kills 33 in remote northwest Nigeria

InfectionsSep 01 05

At least 33 people have died and hundreds have been hospitalized following an outbreak of Cholera in the remote northwestern Nigerian state of Sokoto, officials said on Wednesday.

The victims, including women and children, died over the past three days in three villages in the Sabon Birni district, officials said.

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British doctors’ performances beat expectations

Public HealthSep 01 05

Britain’s family doctors are delivering a high quality service that beats expectations, health experts said after the launch on Wednesday of a new database providing details of how GP surgeries are performing.

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) measures general practitioners (GPs) performances on a range of issues such as appointment times and tackling common chronic diseases like Diabetes Mellitus or coronary Heart Disease.

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S. Korea says it found carcinogens in Chinese fish

Food & NutritionSep 01 05

South Korea officials said on Wednesday they were stepping up inspections of imported Chinese freshwater fish after finding cancer-causing chemicals in some fish sent from the country.

The Korea Food & Drug Administration (KFDA) said in a statement released on Tuesday it had found the carcinogens malachite green and leucomalachite in some imported Chinese carp available at a local wholesale market.

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Chiron says British flu vaccine plant passes test

Drug NewsSep 01 05

Chiron Corp., which last year suspended U.S. sales of its flu vaccine because of contamination problems at its plant in England, on Wednesday said it hopes to supply the vaccine in the 2005-2006 flu season following a favorable inspection of the plant by U.S. regulators.

The U.S.-based company’s manufacturing license for its Fluvirin vaccine was withdrawn last October because of contamination problems at the factory in Liverpool, depriving the United States of almost half the nation’s anticipated flu vaccine supply.

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