Returning travelers cause sizable malaria burden in US

first_imgOver a recent 15-year period, close to 1,500 US travelers a year were hospitalized for treatment of malaria acquired overseas, far more than were treated for other travel-related diseases, according to a study published yesterday on the eve of World Malaria Day.In related news, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday that a pilot program for administering the world’s first malaria vaccine to young children will be conducted in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi starting next year.Imported cases cost $555 millionMalaria transmission in the United States was stopped in the 1950s, but a steady stream of travelers are bringing the disease home with them, suggesting that many travelers are not taking adequate precautions, according to the study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH).Researchers looked for malaria cases in hospitalization discharge records in the 2000 to 2014 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, according to the report. They estimated there were 22,029 malaria-related hospitalizations over the 15 years, or 4.88 per million population, with 4,823 severe cases and 182 in-hospital deaths.”It appears more and more Americans are traveling to areas where malaria is common and many of them are not taking preventive measures, such as using anti-malarial preventive medications and mosquito repellents, even though they are very effective at preventing infections,” Diana Khuu, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study, said in an AJTMH news release. She is a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.The findings showed that malaria-linked hospitalizations, averaging 1,489 per year, were far more common than hospitalizations for most other travel-related diseases, according to the release. For example, dengue fever, which is common in Latin America, accounted for 259 hospitalizations per year over the same period.The malaria patients were hospitalized for an average of 4.36 days, at an average cost of $25,789, the report said. The total cost of the cases over the 15 years came to about $555 million.The burden fell disproportionately on patients who were male, black, or 25 to 44 years old, the study found. Plasmodium falciparum malaria—the most deadly type—accounted for most of the hospitalizations, and August was the month with the most cases.Since about 69% of all malaria patients need hospital treatment, the scientists estimated that about 2,100 people in the United States have malaria each year, according to the release.Khuu commented that mosquitoes capable of carrying malaria are common in parts of the United States, and that increases in the number of travelers coming home with the disease increase the risk of re-establishing the disease in the country. But the study found no significant change in the rate of malaria hospitalizations over the study period.Malaria vaccinations planned in AfricaMeanwhile, plans to give the new malaria vaccine, called RTS,S, to children in parts of Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi were announced yesterday by the WHO’s Regional Office for Africa. The vaccine was developed to protect young children from P falciparum malaria.The pilot program will assess whether the vaccine’s protective effect in children 5 to 17 months old, shown in phase 3 testing, can be replicated in real life, the WHO said. Specifically, the program will test the feasibility of delivering the required four doses of RTS,S, the vaccine’s potential role in reducing childhood deaths, and its safety in routine use.WHO officials describe the vaccine as a complementary tool that could be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for preventing malaria, including insecticide-treated bed nets, spraying indoor walls with insecticides, and preventive medicines for pregnant women and young children.Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi were chosen for the program because they have high coverage with treated bed nets, good malaria and immunization programs, high malaria burdens, and participation in the RTS,S phase 3 trials, the WHO said.RTS,S was developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and is the first malaria vaccine to succeed in a phase 3 trial, the WHO noted. In 2015, two WHO advisory groups recommended pilot vaccination programs in three to five settings in sub-Saharan Africa.Several non-governmental global health agencies are partnering to provide $49.2 million for the first phase of the pilot program (2017 to 2020), which will be complemented by in-kind contributions from the WHO and GSK, the WHO said.WHO cites progress, challengesIn other malaria news, the WHO yesterday reported progress and big remaining challenges in the battle against the disease. The agency said the rate of new malaria cases fell by 21% globally from 2010 to 2015, and death rates fell by 29% in the same 5-year period. In sub-Saharan Africa, which bears 90% of the malaria burden, cases and death rates fell by 21% and 31%, respectively.Still, in 2015 the global malaria toll was 429,000 deaths and 212 million new cases, with one child dying from malaria every 2 minutes, the WHO said.The agency’s long-term malaria strategy calls for reducing cases and deaths by 90% and eliminating the disease in at least 35 countries by 2030. Interim 2020 targets call for 40% reductions in cases and death rates and for eliminating malaria in at least 10 countries.Funds for malaria prevention, researchOther malaria news related to World Malaria Day included announcements about grants for malaria prevention and research:The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria said today it would provide more than $242 million over 3 years to continue the battle against malaria in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. The grant will be the group’s largest regional allocation and the first with the specific goal of eliminating the disease in a specific region. The step continues the fund’s Regional Artemisinin-resistance Initiative, launched in 2013.The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced late last week it would provide about $9 million in first-year funding for seven malaria research centers around the world. The awards will go to three new and four existing centers that work in 14 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The 7-year awards continue NIAID’s 2010 program that created the International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMRs) in regions where malaria is endemic.See also:Arp 24 AJTMH abstractApr 24 AJTMH press releaseApr 24 WHO-Africa press release on vaccination programApr 24, 2015, CIDRAP News story “First malaria vaccine shows promise despite efficacy drop-off”Oct 23, 2015, CIDRAP News story “WHO experts urge gradual rollout of malaria vaccine”Apr 24 WHO press release on malaria progress and challengeslast_img read more

Stephen Vernon in €900m tie up with US private equity group

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Doctor Doctor Mister MD

first_imgI’m not big on going to the doctor. The way I figure it, doctors don’t make any money on healthy people. Put another way, there must be a little something wrong with everyone. My working philosophy is: If it don’t hurt, don’t worry about it.Most everyone I know who has died was seeing a doctor at the time. At these prices, I say just go straight from good health to death and cut out the middlemen.I watch “Jeopardy” every night on TV. There must be a lot of senior citizens who watch, because every commercial is pushing some kind of drug. Oftentimes, the potential side effects of the drug are much worse than whatever it is the pill is supposed to help.We all know the usual warnings. It used to be, “Do not operate heavy equipment.” I get that.“Mom, I’m going to take Judy out in the crane tonight.”“Not if you take that Viagra, mister!”Consider this minor little side effect: “rare cases of severe hepatic reactions, including jaundice and fatal hepatitis, liver necrosis and hepatic failure, some of them with fatal outcomes have been reported.”This is for Torodal, an anti-inflammatory pill that people with ulcers take. So, let’s break it down. One minute you have a stomach ache because you ate some pepperoni. Next minute? You’re dead. . . and yellow.Have a headache? Ibuprofen works, right? You can buy it anywhere, even 7-Eleven. But “if your tongue swells up and you have difficulty breathing, consult a physician.”Imagine THAT phone call:Me: Hawoo Derkter Tong Thwell (choking) . . .Doctor: “Do you have health insurance? We’ll need you to read the information on the back of your card to us.”Ambien poses an interesting risk: Some people who have taken it have performed certain activities while they were not fully awake. These have included sleep driving, making and eating food, and having sex.Who knew?We’ve all seen this one: “If you experience a prolonged, painful erection, stop using this medicine and seek immediate medical attention or permanent problems could occur.”So, you go to the doctor and he says, “I don’t see any evidence of this occurring.” Now, that hurts.It’s not just medicines that have bizarre warnings. For example, “Warning: has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice” is written on a box of rat poison, I kid you not. Hey, we’re not animals — we don’t want to give them tumors; we just want to kill them.“Warning: do not use if you have urination problems” — this is a tough one, because I personally urinate each and every day. Is this a problem?It’s written on a box of Midol PMS relief pills. (Alert readers will note women suffer from PMS 23 days each month, have their periods for six days and are completely normal for two days — except in September, April, June, and November. It should be noted women should be avoided at all costs on Feb. 29 unless you are carrying a crucifix.)Not to belittle doctors, but all parents know that when our little ones were growing up, we took them to the doctor way too often, some of us every time they had a sniffle or a sneeze. This is the meat-and-potatoes of the industry — every time we walked into the office, the cash register sounded, and since our health care provider got the bills, we never knew how costly each little check-up could be. Then, after a battery of tests, which 99 percent of the time were unnecessary, we’d get prescriptions to fill, not realizing the pills were probably worse for your kid than whatever ailed him or her.I don’t take pills. I never did. Even when I was a kid and the doctor gave me something and the directions said, “take three a day with meals” I would carefully throw one out with breakfast, one right before lunch, and one after dinner. Guess what? I didn’t die.I told my mom I intended to live my life like a Native American warrior. She’d counter with the fact that the average life expectancy of a Native American Indian Brave was 31. Maybe so, but the cool ones like Crazy Horse rode around with loincloths on and nothing else. Except maybe a peace pipe. Sharelast_img read more

Vattenfall Seeking Supervisor for Sandbank Substation Work

first_imgVattenfall is inviting tenders for work on the Sandbank offshore wind farm substation construction.The contractor will be in charge of supervising the steelwork fabrication and corrosion protection of an offshore wind farm substation.The 288MW project is located in the German Bight area, around 90 kilometers west of the Island of Sylt.The wind farm, owned by Vattenfall 51% and Stadtwerke München 49%, is comprised of 72 Siemens 4 MW wind turbines.According to the developer, the construction of Sandbank is expected to commence next year. Offshore WIND staff, July 30, 2014; Image: sandbank24last_img read more

ROLAND Spedition moves railtrack machinery

first_imgOverall ROLAND Spedition handled the movement of 12 machines with an approximate total weight of 500 tonnes, transferring the machines directly from the rail line in the port of Drammen, Norway to a geared heavy lift vessel. On arrival in Bremen, the machines were again transferred directly onto the rail line. ROLAND Spedition staff were on hand in both countries during the most challenging parts of the operation to provide close supervision.last_img

GPA hits the high notes

first_imgContainer tonnage was the primary driver of the cargo growth, which expanded by 14.4 percent year-on-year to more than 2.5 million tons (2.27 million tonnes), said GPA executive director Griff Lynch.Lynch said Savannah’s Ocean Terminal also achieved significant growth in February 2017, with a 9.2 percent increase in breakbulk cargo for the month led by linerboard, automotives, iron and steel.”A 38 percent increase in iron and steel is a good leading indicator of future growth in construction, as well as automobile and other manufacturing,” he said.Lynch also stated that GPA will commission a new neo-Panamax ship-to-shore crane at its Garden City Terminal in Savannah this week, in order to serve to the larger vessels calling at the terminal; three more will be brought online in mid-April. A separate, USD45.3 million order will bring four more cranes to the terminal in 2018, bringing the number of cranes available to 30.  GPA executive director, Griff Lynchwww.gaports.comlast_img read more

Connect2Law chief vows to create ‘leading’ UK brand

first_imgLegal referral and support network Connect2Law has announced the heavyweight appointment of David Jabbari to the new role of chief executive. Jabbari (pictured) will join the executive board and become a partner at Pannone, which established Connect2Law in 2001. Jabbari was until recently chief operating officer at Clyde & Co, after brokering the merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, of which he was chief executive. He was previously global head of knowledge management at magic circle firm Allen & Overy. Connect2Law has 2,600 UK member firms with combined turnover of £1bn. The network is co-ordinated by 20 leading regional ‘hub’ firms which have Connect2Law business development managers. The entity also has 17 dedicated staff split between London and Manchester. Jabbari wants to establish the network as ‘the UK’s leading legal brand, across every postcode’ and ‘defend the value of independent high street firms’ in the competitive market ushered in by the 2007 Legal Services Act. Connect2Law, which is free to join, offers member firms a range of support services, including information services, on-demand training, professional indemnity insurance and cost control. Jabbari plans to strengthen this offering to provide members with a full practice management suite to improve back-office processes. He also intends to turn Connect2Law into a consumer-facing brand which brings new work to members. At present, Connect2Law offsets costs through the ‘pooled buying’ services it provides to members. Options on financing its development will be presented to members as it expands. Connect2Law would consider becoming an alternative business structure only ‘if member firms saw benefit in that’, Jabbari said. ‘While we will consider whether external funding is the best route to advance member firms’ interests, we will not pursue a course that commits us to short-term and cosmetic returns to private equity,’ he added. ‘Connect2Law’s member firms have an excellent reputation in their local areas. They are committed and expert professionals who know the law inside out. ‘This is why I believe Connect2Law has the potential to become the UK’s leading legal brand. ‘As part of Connect2Law, firms will gain both a supportive brand identity and greater efficiency in their internal processes,’ he said. Jabbari declined to identify the main potential rivals in his sights, and whether Connect2Law will be going head to head with the likes of Co-operative Legal Services or QualitySolicitors. He added: ‘We do not see anyone in the market at the moment as an obvious competitor to Connect2Law given the geographical reach and quality of the firms who are Connect2Law members. We exist to promote the value of an independent solicitors’ profession covering every postcode in the UK.’last_img read more

Courts: the US should be a warning

first_img John Lockett, Burnley Unfortunately, I did not read John Hyde’s web article ‘What’s so bad about privatising our courts?’ until the comments had closed. However, as a former law student and now a researcher in criminology, I have the following thoughts to offer. Given the general, headlong rush to privatisation and the treatment of big business – especially banks – by government, the accountability spoken of is likely to be conspicuously lacking. The Whitehall culture of rewarding (or covering up) failure is likely to continue. Criminal and civil justice is, and should remain, the sole responsibility of the state and not the vested interests we would likely see with privatisation. The American system has demonstrated this many times. The US criminal justice system is inherently racist and amounts to little more than human trafficking, with prisons being built simply in anticipation of the effect of proposed legislation and the needs of the businesses run by prisons/corporations. Prisoners are frequently transferred to prisons hundreds of miles from their home states, where they receive minimal or ineffective medical care, and are often subject to a brutality worthy of a banana republic. Continuing on this course in the UK could result in criminal defendants being serviced by a court system owned and maintained by the same company that both transports the defendants to prison and governs whether they receive parole or an effective probation oversight – even the same company that writes any pre-sentencing report. The potential for injustice and corruption is obvious, when one considers the recent jailing of two US judges for taking bribes from a corrections company to jail juveniles. What incentive would such a company have to grant parole or recommend probation, when it would earn more from continuing to detain a prisoner? What incentive would such a company have to write a pre-sentencing report which recommends a non-custodial sentence when it would earn more from continuing to detain a prisoner? In respect of civil litigants – if anyone can afford to be one – we could see cases where a litigant is taking action against the very company, or an associate of the company, running the courts.last_img read more

£40,000 damages in Twitter libel case

first_imgJulian Santos, instructed by Pennningtons Manches appeared for the claimant, David Hirst, instructed by Humphreys & Co, for the defendant. A former chairman of a UK Independence Party branch has been ordered to pay £40,000 in damages to a man defamed on Twitter even though he did not write the offending tweet.Ruling in Zahir Monir v Steve Wood, the Honourable Mr Justice Nicklin accepted that Steve Wood had not written or approved the tweet, made from the UKIP branch account and picturing a Labour election candidate alongside two men described as ‘child grooming taxi drivers’. However he held that the tweet’s author, John Langley, was ‘quite clearly acting as the agent of Mr Wood’.The judgment affirms that a web post seen by relatively few people can meet the ‘serious harm’ test established by the 2013 Defamation Act even though at least some viewers  know immediately that it is untrue. Zahir Monir, a Rotherham businessman and Labour activist, took action after his attention was drawn to the tweet, which the judge described as ‘a very serious defamatory allegation’. It was published in the runup to the 2015 general election to @BristolUKIP’s 547 followers, retweeted at least 17 times and ‘liked’ at least eight times. The court heard that Monir had identified Wood as the branch chairman and telephoned to complain, and later contacted the police.However the judge ruled that Wood had not taken Monir’s complaints seriously, quoting Wood as saying that, as a bailiff, challenges to his authority were as ‘water off a duck’s back’. According to the judgment, Wood’s conviction that he had done nothing wrong ‘together with his stubbornness and self confidence, has led him to have adopted an uncompromising approach to Mr Munir’s claim.’ In particular Wood argued that Langley, originally named on the claim form, should be held responsible. The proceedings were served on Wood after it became apparent that there was no prospect of recovering damages from Langley, a self-styled ‘maverick’ who had a sideline as a pornographic video maker and actor under the name ‘Johnny Rockard’. In his witness statement, Wood had initially maintained ‘I do not use Twitter’, saying he would need to be taught or have it demonstrated. However the judge found that, ‘the evidence satisfies me that Mr Wood was familiar with Twitter and, contrary to the impression given in his witness statement, he was perfectly capable of using (and did use) Twitter.’On the serious harm test, the judge said that even though witnesses who had recognised Monir from the tweet knew that the allegation was false ‘an unquantifiable number of further publishees’ who saw it reproduced on WhatsApp groups might have been able to identify him. On damages, the judge said that the gravity of the allegation ‘puts it to the top end of seriousness’, compounded by Wood’s ‘intransigence and his refusal publicly to apologise’. Had the libel been published in a national newspaper, £250,000 or more could have been justified, he said. The figure of £40,000 was proportionate to the limited scale of publication and the ‘difficulties of causation’.  Monir’s solicitor, Jeremy Clarke-Williams of commercial and private client firm Penningtons Manches, said the judgment provides Monir with ‘the complete vindication he deserves’. He said that the judgment will have implications for every organisation delegating responsibility for social media accounts. ‘If you are responsible for letting a maverick genie out of the bottle then you are likely to face the legal consequences – and in the era of fake news that presents a real risk.’last_img read more

Beckham proceeding with plans to have MLS team in Miami

first_imgBeckham proceeding with plans to have MLS team in MiamiNews circulating last weekend that British soccer star, David Beckham plan to drop plans to bring a Major League Soccer team and build a stadium in South Florida was a rumor. The rumor also stated Beckham would take  the MLS franchise to Las Vegas being frustrated at attempts to secure a suitable stadium site in South Florida.However, Beckham’s South Florida investment group,  Miami Beckham United, told local media the British soccer icon is still making efforts to have the stadium located on a site in Overtown, Miami, while seeking additional investors for the project.The group, in a statement, said the investors are “100 percent committed to Miami,” and are making progress in their plans to have the stadium built in Overtown.According to reports, there is pressure on Beckham and his investment group to finalize their arrangements to launch the new MLS franchise in South Florida. The reports stated MLS Commissioner Don Garber has given a deadline to finalize the stadium deal in Miami, if not Beckham’s Miami franchise, which would be the 24th team in the MLS nationally, is in danger going to another team.Beckham has experienced several frustrating setbacks in securing a site for the soccer stadium in Miami since securing the MLS franchise in February, 2014. The group originally tried securing a site close to the Port of Miami, but met strong opposition from political and business leaders. Another attempt failed to locate the stadium  located adjacent to the Miami Marlins Park in Miami. Several months ago, the group settled on six acres of land it purchased in Overtown. The group has been in negotiations with Miami-Dade County to purchase an adjacent 3-acres to finalize the stadium site. With the estimated cost of the stadium being $150 million, the group has also been actively seeking new investors.West Kendall soccer coach Richard Donaldson, who with other local coaches are anxious for Beckham’s MLS team to commence playing in South Florida, expressed “sickening frustration at the ups and downs” in getting the stadium finalized. “Soccer is a promising, motivating sport for South Florida’s youth, male and female. The presence of a MLS team locally would be a great source of inspiration to the youth, helping them to improve their soccer skills. We really want this frustrating delay to end,” Donaldson said.last_img read more