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Meningitis, Cholera Kill 88, Experts Call For Action

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A total of 922 cholera cases have so far been recorded in Nigeria and 32 of them succumbed to the disease in 2023.

This is according to the latest situation report obtained from the World Health Organisation.

The Case Fatality Rate is at 3.5 per cent as of March 5, 2023.

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The WHO noted that the data include the suspected positive rapid diagnostic tests and laboratory-confirmed cholera cases.

It said the case and death numbers presented are unreliable due to differences in reporting systems and underreporting.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholerae bacteria. People can get sick when they swallow food or water contaminated with cholera bacteria. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.

READ ALSO: Africa Records 26,000 Cholera Cases, 660 Deaths In January – WHO

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As of March 20, 2023, at least 24 countries continue to report cholera cases. With reference to historical transmission patterns and seasonality, large parts of the world are currently in low or interepidemic transmission periods, therefore this number could increase in the months to come.

The mortality associated with the outbreaks is of particular concern as many countries reported higher case-fatality ratios than in previous years.

Also, the situation report obtained from the website of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention showed that there were 157 confirmed cases of meningitis in the country from October 2022 till March 5, 2023.

A total of 628 suspected cases of meningitis, including 52 deaths, have been reported from 21 states and 66 Local Government Areas in the country.

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Meanwhile, the CFR stands at 8.3 per cent.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, a thin layer of the connective tissue that covers the brain and the spinal cord. The common signs and symptoms are fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, neck stiffness, and altered consciousness level.

READ ALSO: Cholera Outbreak: 19 Dead, 286 Others Hospitalized In C’River

The report read in part, “Age group 5 -14 years was the most affected age group. Males were 62 per cent, females were 38 per cent.

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“Ninety-One per cent of all cumulative cases were from four states – Jigawa (509 cases), Bauchi (23 cases), Zamfara (22 cases), and Oyo (14 cases).

“Ten LGAs across five states, Jigawa (7), Bauchi (1), Oyo (1), Plateau (1) and Zamfara (1), reported more than five cases each this CSM seasons 2022/2023.”

A medical laboratory scientist at the Department of Microbiology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Obinna Chukwudi expressed worry over the country’s poor preparedness in tackling disease outbreaks.

“The Cholera and Meningitis outbreaks in recent times give a clear picture of the degree of our preparedness and containment strategies for more dangerous emergency disease outbreaks in the future.

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“The government on the other hand is not left behind because judging from the aetiology of these diseases, you will notice that it is more of the socio-economic levels of the people which put them at a higher risk of getting infected. I advise that the government with advice from experts in the health system should intensify its approaches to implementing more policies that would better the health and well-being of the people.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s TB Case Finding Rises By 50%, Says WHO

“A multifaceted approach including public policy, surveillance, water purification and hygiene, community sensitisation, and the use of vaccines is vital to prevent, control, and reduce cholera and meningitis menace in the affected states,” he said.

Also, the Ondo State Epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi said there is a need for joint efforts between the government and the people to fight diseases.

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The government and the people need to work together. There is a need for increased awareness and people need to report to the hospitals once they notice the symptoms.”
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Health

AUTISM: What You Need To Know

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By Silver Yeibake 

Autism, commonly known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. Autism is referred to as a spectrum condition since it can manifest in a variety of symptoms and abilities. While the actual cause of autism is unknown, evidence suggests that genetic and environmental factors interact to influence its development.

The risk factors include a sibling with autism, advanced age of parents, exposure to certain air pollutants and pesticides before birth, extreme prematurity, mothers with diabetes, immune system disorders or obesity, any difficulty with delivery leading to deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain, fever during pregnancy, lack of certain vitamins minerals during pregnancy, and certain genetic conditions, such as Down, fragile X, and Rett syndromes.

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“Risk factors can not on their own cause a disease. However, they can increase the likelihood of that disease in a person.”

It is important to know that contrary to trending claims online, there is no scientific or medical evidence that vaccines or consumption of sugar are risk factors for autism.

READ ALSO: Kidney Stones: What You Need To Know

Autism is defined by difficulties in social interaction and communication. Individuals with autism may struggle to grasp social cues, maintain eye contact, and engage in typical back-and-forth conversations. Some people may also engage in meaningless, repetitive actions, such as hand-flapping or rocking, and have strong interests in specific areas.

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It is essential to remember that autism is a lifelong diagnosis, but with early intervention and adequate care, people with autism can live fulfilling lives.
Autism treatment frequently includes behavioral therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social skills training. Each individual with autism is unique, thus interventions should be tailored to meet their personal needs and strengths.

In spite of the difficulties that autism can cause, many people with autism possess unique talents and abilities. Some people may succeed in fields such as music, art, mathematics, or programming, thus it is important for society to acknowledge and honor the qualities and achievements of people with autism.

In summary, autism is a complicated and diverse disorder that affects individuals in various ways. By raising autism knowledge, understanding, and acceptance, we can build a more inclusive society in which people with autism can thrive and attain their full potential.

Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver.
Senior Registrar,
Faculty Of Pediatrics,
WACP

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Don Confirms ‘Zobo’ As Antihypertensive Therapy

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The Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, UNEC, Prof. Daniel Nwachukwu, after research findings and clinical trials in both animals and human, has confirmed that Hibiscus Sabdariffa, popularly called ‘zobo’ drinks, has all the curative potentials as an antihypertensive therapy.

Nwachukwu, who is a Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the university, stated that the antihypertensive effectiveness of the Hibiscus Sabdariffa (zobo) was comparable to those of known antihypertensive drugs that are popular in the retail pharmacies, adding that zobo’s availability, cheapness and absence of side effects make it attractive as an alternative therapeutic agent in mind to moderate hypertensive subjects.

He however cautioned that care should be applied to avoid abuse in the consumption of Hibiscus Sabdariffa (zobo), adding that the therapy could interfere with some anti-malaria drugs while its high dose was also reported to have toxic effects on the liver and kidney.

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READ ALSO: How Airline Pilots Fell Asleep Mid-flight – Safety Agency Reveals

Nwachukwu’s discoveries were contained his 201st Inaugural Lecture of the University of Nigeria with the topic “The Marriage Between the Cardiovascular System and Hibiscus Sabariffa: Let no One Put Asunder,” delivered at the moot court hall, Law faculty of the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus.

The DVC warned that Hibiscus Sabariffa consumption is not recommended for persons with low blood pressure because of its well established hypotensive action, advising that during combined therapy with antihypertensive drugs, the blood pressure, BP, must be carefully monitored.

He recommended that industrialists and investors should support large scale production of Hibiscus Sabariffa beverage and its distribution to rural communities in Nigeria, particularly since the raw materials (Hibiscus Sabariffa calyx and water) are cheap and readily available.

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READ ALSO: Man Stabs Two Women To Death At A Mexico Varsity

According to Nwachukwu, “This lecture is intended to draw the public attention to our research efforts and unveiling the antihypertensive ability of Hibiscus Sabariffa which is called zobo in our common parlance. What we used for our studies was the same concentration as the locally produced zobo, and we found out that it exerted significant antihypertensive ability, in some cases even higher than the antihypertensive drugs and also did combination therapy with other antihypertensive drugs.

“What is significant is that this zobo is within us, it’s very cheap and it does not have any side effects compared to other antihypertensive agents. The raw material is just to buy zobo, prepare it under hygienic conditions, boil water and put it, sieve it and drink. It may have a sour taste but we do not encourage people to add things like pineapple or sugar in order to make it sweet, because once you do that, you are diluting or reducing its antihypertensive effectiveness.

“We have demonstrated it, both in animal studies and in humans. We are the first to do clinical trials, using mild to moderate antihypertensive Nigerians and we found it very useful. Some of the results show that one can actually use it and we equally saw that you can use it to prevent even diabetes from occurring because it reduces the rise in glucose level.”

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READ ALSO: Adolescent Girls Face Risks Of Sexual Violence – UNICEF

Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Charles Igwe while summarizing the lecture said that the lecture was in three dimensions; one on health grounds, another in academics and the third an economic value.

“Its economic in the sense that we can also begin to use what God has given us to make money. Maybe because God gave us everything in abundance in this country, we don’t recognize the simplest things God gave us in our environment. Therefore, what we are saying is that we should begin to, at all these pure water productions and incorporate zobo production so as to make money out of it.

“The university has made its contribution through our laboratories and it’s now left for the business community and the industries to come and buy into it and start widening it and make it very economic,” Igwe suggested.
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Glaucoma: What You Need To Know

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By Silver Yeibake 

Hi, did you know that Tuesday 12th March, 2024 is world Glaucoma day?Kindly avail yourself of this opportunity to learn about this important health issue as presented below:

Glaucoma is a dangerous eye disorder that damages the optic nerve, causing visual impairment or permanent blindness if not treated.
The optic nerve transmits visual information from the eye to the brain. Damage to this nerve might cause gradual visual loss that is not immediately obvious.

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Worldwide, this disease affects 67 million people and contributes 6.7 million of blindness in this population. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world.
The total number of cases is expected to increase to 111 million by 2040. Males are slightly more affected than females.

One of the basic causes of glaucoma is an increase in intraocular pressure (pressure within the eyeball), which can eventually damage the optic nerve (the nerve that makes seeing possible). This increase in pressure could be caused by an accumulation of aqueous humor, the fluid that nourishes the eye.

FROM THE AUTHOR: Food Poisoning: What You Need To Know

There are several forms of glaucoma, including open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, normal-tension glaucoma, and secondary glaucoma, each with unique characteristics and treatment choices.

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Some of the risk factors for glaucoma include sustained elevation of intraocular pressure, family history of glaucoma, race (African, Asian), short-sightedness, long-sightedness, age over 50, previous eye injury or surgery, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, migraines, and prolonged steroid therapy.

Glaucoma symptoms may not appear until the problem has advanced sufficiently, therefore regular eye checks are essential for early detection. Blurred vision, eye pain, nausea, and light halos are some of the most frequent glaucoma symptoms. However, these symptoms might be mild or readily misinterpreted as other eye problems, emphasizing the significance of regular eye examinations.

Glaucoma treatment tries to reduce intraocular pressure and protect the optic nerve from further damage. This can be accomplished using a variety of approaches, including prescription eye drops, oral medicines, laser therapy, and surgical procedures. Treatment options are determined on the kind and severity of glaucoma, as well as personal characteristics such as overall health and medical history.

To summarize, glaucoma is a serious eye disorder that requires timely diagnosis and treatment to prevent irreversible vision loss. Regular eye examinations, early detection, and commitment to treatment plans are critical for protecting vision and eye health in glaucoma patients.
Thank you.

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Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver, a
Senior Registrar, Faculty Of Pediatrics, West Africa College of Physician (WACP), writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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