Can biometric tracking improve healthcare provision and data quality? Experimental evidence from tuberculosis control in India
Thomas Bossuroy et al.,
This paper examines the benefits of using a biometric monitoring device to improve service delivery and reduce misreporting in tuberculosis control efforts in India. The authors partnered with Operation ASHA, the largest NGO delivering primary care to TB patients in India, to randomise the roll-out of biometric devices across 131 treatment centres, each covering a population of over 20,000 individuals, located in urban slums across four states in Northern India. The technology was designed to perform three main functions: ensuring that patients themselves received their drugs from the health worker; generating alerts when they failed to take their pills, which facilitated rapid follow-up by health workers; and creating a real-time tool for program managers to monitor attendance and performance of health workers. The devices also drastically cut the scope for health workers to alter health records by over-reporting new cases or under-reporting instances of treatment interruption.
A billion more people risk getting Zika, dengue
The analysis tracked the expected movement of two of the most common disease-carrying mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, by looking at predicted future temperatures to gauge risks up to 2050 and to 2080. Those at risk can help lower the threat through measures such as using insect spray, putting screens on windows and removing excess trash and water from around the home... But the more effective way to limit expansion of the diseases is to curb climate change and further develop global programmes aimed at tracking and limiting the spread of mosquitoes.
Complexities in understanding antimicrobial resistance across domesticated animal, human, and environmental systems
David W. Graham et al.,
In this article we review research on the nonfoodborne spread of AMR, with a focus on domesticated animals and the environment and possible exposures to humans. Attention is especially placed on delineating possible sources and causes of AMR bacterial phenotypes, including underpinning the genetics important to human and animal health.
Stanford researchers develop a simple new blood test for tuberculosis
Tuberculosis usually attacks patients’ lungs, so to test for the tuberculosis bacteria doctors need to get patients to cough up fluid – the technical term is sputum – from their lungs. Unfortunately, not everyone can cough up sputum. Kids and people with HIV/AIDS, for example, struggle to do so. One way to get around this problem would be to search blood and urine for tuberculosis bacteria DNA. The problem is that there is usually little DNA amidst a sea of proteins and other molecules.
HIV/tuberculosis co-infection: Tunneling towards better diagnosis
An international team led by researchers at the CNRS and Inserm have revealed that in the presence of tuberculosis, HIV-1 moves from one cell to the next via nanotubes which form between macrophages, drastically increasing the percentage of infected cells. In a case of severe TB, the development of nanotubes between macrophages accelerates, increasing the spread of the AIDS virus and viral production as a result. Because the presence of this specific type of macrophage can be measured, diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from both illnesses could be made easier. This research paves the way to new therapeutic approaches aimed at limiting viral load increases in tuberculosis patients.
Opinion: India aspiring malaria-free status: the long and short of it
Dr Vas Dev
Malaria elimination is a buzz word and, given the present-day intervention tools, it has become reality. The world malarial map is shrinking with many countries having acquired malaria-free status. Among these, in the South-East Asia Region (SEAR) of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Maldives (2015) and Sri Lanka (2016) have been certified to be malaria free and Bhutan is fast approaching towards elimination in the foreseeable future. However, the road ahead to elimination is fraught with many bottlenecks. So much so that WHO has listed India among 11 ‘high burden to high impact’ countries for contributing 4% of the global malaria burden.
Widely used malaria treatment to prevent malaria in pregnant women
A global team of researchers, led by a research team at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), are calling for a review of drug-based strategies used to prevent malaria infections in pregnant women, in areas where there is widespread resistance to existing antimalarial medicines. Professor Feiko ter Kuile, an expert in malaria in pregnancy, recently worked with a multi-disciplinary team including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and Duke University to complete the most comprehensive study to date of the impact of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) drug resistance on the effectiveness of intermittent preventative treatment (IPTp).
Effects of dengue immunity on Zika virus infection
Stephen S. Whitehead et al.,
Zika virus (ZIKV) was discovered in Africa in 1947. Its impact on public health seemed restricted to sporadic local outbreaks associated with an illness characterized by mild fever. But in 2013–14, ZIKV was introduced into the Americas, where it spread quickly. The large number of infections that occurred during the resulting epidemic revealed a previously unappreciated link between ZIKV infection of pregnant women and a devastating congenital neurodevelopmental disease in their babies. The analysis of well-characterized study populations in areas where these diseases are endemic, using innovative serological methods, holds great promise for identifying elements of the immune response and mechanisms of disease that will guide the development of countermeasures.
Four countries report avian flu outbreaks in poultry
In the latest avian flu developments in poultry, China reported a highly pathogenic H7N9 outbreak in zoo birds, Nepal reported three more highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreaks, Iraq reported an event involving highly pathogenic H5N8, and Cambodia reported three outbreaks involving low-pathogenic H7N4.
Building tuberculosis awareness in low-risk countries
On a global scale, the impact of tuberculosis in Australia is small — the country holds just over 1,400 of the 10 million people affected annually. But experts believe that this lack of exposure to TB among Australians — including medical practitioners — is reducing TB awareness among the community. And this is playing an important role in limiting the advocacy to pressure governments into greater action.