Glanders on the rise in animals

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Although no human case has been reported in India, it is better to adhere to precautionary measures

New Delhi, 08 January 2018: According to statistics, the incidence of ‘glanders’ is on the rise in animals.  In 2014/15,3 cases were noted in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir; in 2015/16, 5 states (Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat) reported instances; and it has been reported from 9 states in 2016/17.Glanders is a rare disease with asymptomatically infected animals posing a risk to humans as well.

Glanders is a highly infectious and often fatal zoonotic disease primarily affecting horses, donkeys and mules. It is a notifiable disease of equines caused by Gram-negative bacterium, Burkholderia mallei. Humans are accidental hosts and human to human transmission is rare.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Glanders has traditionally been clinically categorized into nasal, pulmonary and cutaneous forms based on the most commonly affected organ systems in equines. B. mallei is transmitted to humans through contact with tissues or body fluids of infected animals. The bacteria enter the body through cuts or abrasions in the skin and through mucosal surfaces such as the conjunctiva and nose. The infection may occur by inhaling infected aerosol dust. Animal-to-human and human-to-human transmission of glanders is rare. Despite many reported cases of the disease in equines, no human case of glanders has been reported in India till date.”

The clinical symptoms of glanders in humans are non- specific therefore accurate diagnosis and treatment is difficult. The symptoms in humans include low- grade fever and chills, malaise, fatigue, myalgias, backache, headache, rigors, chest pain and lymphadenopathy.

Due to its high death rate and the small number of organisms needed to cause infection, B. mallei is considered a potential biological warfare or bioterrorism agent. It can also be transmitted by aerosol and is known to be resistant to multiple antibiotics. “Do not ignore nodules and discharging ulcers in nose, lungs and skin in these animals,” tweeted Dr Aggarwal @drkkaggarwal.

Some tips to prevent infection from B. mallei include the following.

  • Avoid contact with soil and standing water, especially if you have diabetes or open skin lesions.
  • Wear boots while doing any kind of agricultural work.
  • Do not handle sick or dead animal bodies, especially in areas with prevalence of this disease. If you must handle sick or dead animal bodies, use gloves, eye protection, and a mask.
  • It is always a good idea to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Seasonal affective disorder can affect women more

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Light therapy can help, but it is also important to get sufficient sunlight and exercise

New Delhi, 07 January 2018: As per statistics, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) occurs four times more often in women than in men. The age of onset is estimated to be between 18 and 30 years with those living farthest from the equator in northern latitudes being most susceptible. Studies have also indicated that many people with SAD have insufficient levels of Vitamin D. Sunlight plays a critical role in the decreased serotonin activity, increased melatonin production, and disrupted circadian rhythms that are associated with symptoms of SAD.

SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “The human body, its metabolism, and hormones react to changing seasons. This further leads to changes in mood and behaviour. Just as certain people become irritable and aggressive in summer, others feel low and lethargic during the monsoon and winter. Not only do such people feel low, they may also have an increased need for sleep and food (particularly carbohydrates) which can eventually lead to weight gain. This disorder is thought to affect women more than men. SAD can affect anyone irrespective of age. In those already undergoing some form of trauma or genetic depression, this can be a trigger. For working professionals, this can prove to be a deterrent, as it can lead to a cognitive decline with a reduction in mental efficiency.”

Symptoms of SAD include feeling low, a tendency to overeat or not at all, nausea, difficulty waking up in the morning and concentrating tasks, withdrawal from social situations, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, and lack of pleasure in daily activities.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, Vice President CMAAO, said, “The treatment for SAD involves enough light exposure, artificial light exposure, sun therapy and drugs if needed. Artificial light exposure is effective but may take 4 to 6 weeks to see a response, although some patients improve within days. Therapy is continued until sufficient daily natural sunlight exposure is available. Therapeutic light therapy is also one option.”

A few ways in which people can prevent winter depression include:

  • Consume a healthy and balanced diet.

  • Staying well hydrated is key during the winter months since it gives you more energy, mental clarity and an enhanced digestive function.

  • Get enough sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is directly linked to winter depression.

  • Get regular outdoor physical exercise.

  • People have the tendency to isolate themselves from everyone during the winter months. It is extremely important to maintain one’s activity level to avoid depression.

  • Do not indulge in evils such as smoking and drinking as it can only put a person at danger of other diseases.

Now blood donors can avail official leave on the day of donation

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India faces a shortage of 10% relative to its blood requirements

New Delhi, 05 January 2017: The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), which is celebrating 25 years of Perfect Health Mela   this year, lauded the order from DoPT approving 4 days special casual leave each year for blood donation or apheresis donation at any licensed blood bank for all Central Government employees. The aim is towards ushering in 100% voluntary blood donation by 2020.

Every year India requires about 5 crore units of blood, out of which only a meager 2.5 crore units of blood are available. India faces a shortage of 10% relative to its blood requirements. In absolute terms, this means covering a shortfall of over 12 lakh units. Given that the eligible donor population of India is more than 512 million, this deficit is alarming.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “India has huge population of more than 1.3 billion, but is still short of blood. Blood donation is a requirement of the society. All donations should be voluntary. One should donate blood at least once in a year. Donating blood regularly has been shown in many reports to reduce chances of future heart attacks. Blood donation is also one of the best charities that one can do as it can save multiple lives through various components taken out of a single blood transfusion. The move by DoPT is a very positive one and will hopefully encourage more and more people to come forward and donate blood. My humble suggestion is that all private sector establishments should also adopt this rule.All those who are going for elective surgery should donate their blood well in advance and the same should be used at the time of surgery.”

Under the new National Blood Transfusion Council regulations, no blood is to be wasted. The surplus left over plasma is fractionated to manufacture products like albumin and intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG). The blood that is donated in voluntary blood donation should be maximally utilized.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, Vice President CMAAO, said, “Now no camp should be organized for ‘whole blood donation’. Instead components-only blood donation camps should be organized. One unit of blood collected can be used to help 3 to 4 patients, instead it is being wasted as whole blood depriving another patient in need. And, voluntary blood donation camps should be now called ‘blood component donation’ camp and not just blood donation camp. So, if the blood being donated is collected in a single bag, do not give blood. Usually two component bags are used. 100 ml bags should be promoted for pediatric use.”

Some things to consider for donating blood are as follows.

  • Prepare yourself by having enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate blood.
  • Avoid donating blood on an empty stomach. Eat three hours before you donate blood. Avoid fatty foods. Eat food rich in iron such as whole grains, eggs, and beef, and spinach, leafy vegetables, orange and citrus.
  • Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine beverages before donating blood.
  • Avoid donating blood for 6 months if you had any major surgery.

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