Category: Africa healthcare

7 facts about the recently discovered super gonorrhoea

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Antibiotic resistance is not a new phrase but it becomes alarming when all antibiotics become ineffective against a previously treatable STD (sexually transmitted disease).

 WHO estimates that each year, about 78 million people worldwide are infected with gonorrhea with most patients being under the age of 25. There are no published statistics for Kenya, but in 2014 the country was nominated as a regional surveillance hub for drug resistant gonorrhoea.

 

  1. Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is transmitted through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected person and also through sharing of sex toys.

Continue reading “7 facts about the recently discovered super gonorrhoea”

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Could it be the end of malaria?

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According to WHO, a child dies every minute in Africa due to malaria, that is roughly half a million lives. It is clearly a problem that needs addressing.

Malaria is spread by the Anopheles mosquito when it’s infected by the Plasmodium parasite. Research has shown that disruption of some genes would render the female Anopheles sterile or affect its ability to carry the parasite. But Mendelian laws (remember high school biology Mendel?) restrict the ability of this resistance gene to be inherited to only about half of the mosquito offspring. Gene drive circumvents this and ensures that almost all the offspring and future generations inherit a trait.  This is made possible with the discovery of the century, a technique called CRISPR/ Cas9 that I hope to cover here soon. Continue reading “Could it be the end of malaria?”

Grave future of antibiotics

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John had recently been complaining of abdominal pains and upon hospital examination was scheduled for an appendectomy – removal of the appendix. It is ideally a low risk surgery. However, he did not make it out of the hospital due to a post-surgical bacterial infection.

This is a hypothetical scenario but we are most certainly inching closer to it if the current trend of antibiotic abuse continues. First line drugs for diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis are quickly becoming ineffectual. A small graze on your leg might be the reason for an amputation because there will be no drugs to keep infections at bay. We will drop like flies and leave earth in very undignified ways.

Antibiotic resistance comes about when bacteria mutate; rendering the drugs previously used against them either ineffective or less effective. It is currently classified as a serious threat to global public health by the World Health Organization. In retrospect, no antibiotic has been discovered in the past approximately 25 years. Continue reading “Grave future of antibiotics”

Why it may be a risky period to be pregnant in a tropical country

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I have been silently following the progress of Zika virus and given the prevalence of mosquitoes in the country, it was only a matter of time before it became a public health alert. WHO (I know I mention them often) declared it an internationally public health emergency.

Zika virus discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947, only currently erupted in the Western hemisphere. It is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is also responsible for dengue, yellow fever and rift valley fever. It is a slight concern in the country given the cases of dengue fever down in the Coastal region. However researchers at Centre for Virology Research (CVR) – KEMRI are keeping all incidences under watch. Continue reading “Why it may be a risky period to be pregnant in a tropical country”

HIV today

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It was World AIDS Day about a week ago and roughly three decades since the rotavirus was discovered. The clamour against HIV stigma has relatively died out compared to the 90’s era when Asunta publicly revealed her HIV positive status. As much as the number of new infections is on the decline, the statistics are still staggering. With the 4th largest epidemic in the world, Kenya, as at 2013, had about 1.6M people living with the virus based on a UNAIDS report.

We are all aware that HIV patients can and do lead fulfilling lives, if treatment is adhered to and a conscious lifestyle adopted. I trust you enough to check off the ignorance card.

So how close are we to a possible cure? Continue reading “HIV today”