Taking back control of opioid prescription drugs

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Addiction is, by its very nature, about loss of control. The more I’ve been in this job and the longer I’ve lived, the more substances seem to be added to the addictive list. 

In the past few weeks, my early morning news on the radio has featured addiction to alcohol, to food, to gambling, to smart phones, to illegal psychoactive substances, and, the inspiration for this blog, to opioid prescription painkillers. Sadly yet more deaths and lives destroyed. 

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Excessive use of antimicrobials in intensive livestock farming as One Health issue

One of a series of blogs written by CABI editors for One Health Day November 3rd 2016

Most antibiotics in livestock farming are used in aquaculture, but significant amounts are also used in terrestrial livestock species, particularly in poultry and pigs.

Livestock

Most antibiotics in intensive livestock farming are used for non-therapeutic purposes

Approximately 70% of antibiotics are used for non- therapeutic purposes, i.e. many antibiotics are used in sub- therapeutic doses and over prolonged periods, which leads to the development of genes that confer antimicrobial resistance to animal pathogens. These genes can subsequently be transferred to human pathogens and it is estimated that 75% of recently emerging diseases in humans are of animal origin.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problems are further exacerbated by the fact that antibiotic resistance genes were found in bacteria long before antibiotics were ever used on super-pathogens in farm animals.

AMR is a worldwide problem, which clearly affects both animal and human health, and hence it is truly One Health issue.

 

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Different explanations of mental illness in Jamaica: can we combine the traditional and biomedical to heal body and spirit?

  Gordon Town Health Centre
Gordon Town Health Centre, Kingston, Jamaica. Image: H. Schwartz

Today is World Mental Health Day [October 10th 2016], whose theme is "psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress". An apt moment to publish the insights into Jamaican community mental health of our summer intern, Harpur Schwartz. In her opinion piece below, Harpur addresses the role of traditional health beliefs in expressing mental distress, and identifies a role for traditional medicine in supporting recovery.

Have you been hearing any voices by Harpur Schwartz, edited by Wendie Norris

I could barely make out his answer to the question, “Have you been hearing any voices”, as he was speaking an English based creole language commonly known as Patwa. From what I could understand, spirits come to him during the night and tell him the ‘truth’ of the world around him. He said that his madness was caused by a spirit or Obeah. It was clear that this man had a mental illness that he strongly believed was caused by supernatural factors. The psychiatrist in the room asked patient number 23, “But you understand these voices are not real, right?” His response was “Yes”. Satisfied with his answer, the psychiatrist administered his medicine and handed him his appointment card without a second thought.

While working with the mental health services unit at the Gordon Town Health Centre in Kingston, I noticed a pattern to each patient’s appointment: the patient would be called in by number, he or she would be asked a series of questions about mood and symptoms, an injection of medicine was always administered, and the patient would leave with an appointment card stating the date for when he or she should return the following month. There was a rhythm to this process, one with emphasis placed on drug administration.

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Workshop on “Food Security: Infectious Diseases in Farm Animals”- Invited Lectures, Day 2

St. Catherine’s College, Manor Road, Oxford,  UK,  4-7th April 2016 

Attended by M Djuric, CAB International, Wallingford, UK, on 5th April 2016 (Day 2)

This workshop meeting was jointly organised by the Pirbright Institute, Woking, UK and Cairo University, Egypt and was sponsored by the British Council Research Links Programme.

The aims of the workshop were to build long-term and sustainable links between scientists in the UK and Egypt working in the field of infectious diseases of poultry and livestock.

The second day of the workshop  consisted of two sessions and included  four invited expert and engaging presentations by Professor Mohamed Shakal, Professor Fiona Tomly,  Professor Javier Guitian and Dr Roberto La Regione.

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Venue: St. Catherine's College, Manor Road, Oxford

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Veterinary visits to become mandatory in European farming

By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, CAB International, Wallingford, UK

The European Agriculture Council has formally approved a draft law on animal diseases that are transmissible among animals and potentially to humans (zoonoses).

Blog-farm visits1

The provisions in the law on farm animal health visits stipulate that professional animal owners are to receive regular animal health visits from a veterinarian for disease prevention, detection and biosecurity. This new piece of legislation aims to merge and update existing scattered directives and regulations into a single and coherent law.

It is announced as an important step forward, since visits by vets are the cornerstone of the ‘prevention is better than cure’ strategy and indispensable for the prevention and early detection of known and emerging transmissible diseases. The role of the veterinarian in achieving this is defined and highlighted. The veterinary profession also has an active part to play in raising awareness of animal health and of One Health, or the interaction between animal health, animal welfare and public health.

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April 25th World Malaria Day: affordable medicines & artemisinin-based control


World-Malaria-Day

April 25th is World Malaria
Day and we’ve had some mixed news this month concerning the GlaxoSmithKline
RTS,S vaccine, reported in New England Journal
of Medicine
. 65% of children were protected in the 1st year,
but protection then declined to zero over the next 3 years: which means booster
shots will be essential.  Vaccine efficacy also declined faster in children who were more exposed
to malaria than in those who had below-average exposure. Not the grail we hope
for, but we inch our way there.

Effectiveness is at the heart of the problem of malaria
control. Last year Oxfam’s report “Salt,
Sugar And Malaria Pills
  highlighted their concerns on the effectiveness of the “Affordable
medicines facility for malaria” (AFMm)
hosted and managed by the Global Fund, with financial support from UNITAID, the
UK Department for International Development (DFID), and others.

A fuller discussion of these issues can be found in the April issue of Global Health Knowledge Basealong with the latest research on drug-related aspects of malaria control

Related articles

Wellcome Image of the Month: Malaria
News in Brief: Malaria drug made by baker's yeast
Amyris (AMRS) Scientists to Publish Data on Breakthrough in Key Malaria Vaccine Ingredient
Prevalence rate of malaria declining in Ghana
Malaria: the Institute of Tropical Medicine focuses on elimination using knowledge

European Antibiotic Awareness Day Highlights Threat of Antibiotic Resistance

By Miroslav Djuric

European Antibiotic Awareness Day is an annual initiative that aims to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance to public health and animal health as well as the importance of prudent use of antibiotics.

On the occasion of the 5th European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which was marked on 18 November 2012, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released new data demonstrating that antibiotic resistance remains a major European and global public health problem. Imprudent use of antibiotics is one of the main factors responsible for the development and increase in antibiotic resistance.

DrugssThe ECDC data show that during the last decade, there has been an increase in antibiotic consumption in the EU. Antibiotic consumption in hospitals is considered as the main source that leads to the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, although the vast majority of antibiotic consumption occurs in the community, i.e outside hospitals. National antibiotic consumption data are publicly available from ESAC-Net providing a basis for monitoring progress towards a more prudent use of antibiotics.

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