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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wars (USA) sustain skid rows, spread (preventable) death

At risk:
the young
in their most
productive years

Failure to prevent and cure curable disease domestically and globally
Re-reporting, editing, comment by Carolyn Bennett

Curable, preventable

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. This disease that took my grandfather’s life is today curable and preventable.

Tuberculosis is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.

t highest risk are young adults in their most productive years but all age groups are at risk.  People who are dually infected with HIV and TB are 21 to 34 times more likely to become sick with TB. Risk of active TB is also greater in persons suffering from other conditions that impair the immune system.

An estimated half a million children (0-14 years) in 2011 fell ill with TB and 64 000 children died from the disease.

Over 95 percent of TB cases and deaths are in developing countries.

Tobacco use greatly increases the risk of TB disease and death. More than 20 percent of TB cases worldwide are attributable to smoking.

Tuberculosis-LA (2013) largest outbreak in decade

More than 4,000 people are at risk of being infected with a tuberculosis strain, the largest outbreak in Los Angeles in a decade (source: L.A. County Department of Public Health director Jonathan Fielding). Three hundred (300) high-risk individuals being targeted “may have had prolonged exposure to the strain during their stay at a local homeless shelter.”   
Preventable sickness

Los Angeles is known for “movie stars, mild climate and poor air quality,” Katharina Schwan writes in a news report this week, “Yet media headlines tend to skip over Los Angeles’ other claim to fame: home to the largest stable population of homeless people in the United States.”

Downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row, she writes, is “identifiable by its tent-lined streets and abundance of social service facilities.

Up to 5,000 (est.) of Skid Row residents live on the streets

Entirely dependent on homeless shelters and local NGOs for everything from housing and food to medical care

When the temperature drops … Skid Row’s most impoverished residents seek an available bed in one of the permanently overcrowded shelters.

Tuberculosis worldwide

"War on Terror"
Criminal Neglect of
preventable, curable
“The global burden of tuberculosis (TB) remains enormous,” says the World Health Organization in its 2012 report. “In 2011,” the report says, “there were an estimated

8.7 million New cases of TB (13 percent co-infected with HIV) and

1.4 million People died from TB including almost one million deaths among HIV-negative individuals and 430 000 among people who were HIV-positive.

TB is one of the top killers of women, with 300 000 deaths among HIV-negative women and 200 000 deaths among HIV-positive women in 2011.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Tuberculosis Report 2012 provides the latest information and analysis about the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic and progress in TB care and control at global, regional and country levels. It is based primarily on data reported by WHO’s Member States in annual rounds of global TB data collection.

Homeless, sheltered
In 2012, 182 Member States and a total of 204 countries and territories that collectively have more than 99 percent of the world’s TB cases reported data.

here U.S./NATO wages war ─ “Geographically, the burden of TB is highest in Asia and Africa,” the WHO report says.

India and China together account for almost 40 percent of the world’s TB cases.

Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions, about 60 percent of the cases
African Region has 24 percent of the world’s cases and the highest rates of cases and deaths per capita.

Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB)

Worldwide, 3.7 percent of new cases and 20 percent of previously treated cases were estimated to have MDR-TB.

India, China, the Russian Federation and South Africa have almost 60 percent of the world’s cases of MDR-TB.

Eastern Europe and central Asia have the highest proportions of TB patients with MDR-TB

U.S. war by
Almost 80 percent of TB cases among people living with HIV reside in Africa.

An estimated 0.5 million children (aged less than 15) are suffering tuberculosis (This category of data, WHO says, is difficult to determine and appears for the first time in its report).

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011 report listed among its case counts: 10,528 TB cases from the 50 U.S states and the District of Columbia (DC) for 2011; eighteen states reported increased case counts from 2010.

California, Texas, New York, and Florida accounted for 50 percent of the national case total.

South Central Asia
Afghanistan's children
World Health Organization “Key Facts”

uberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent.

In 2011, 8.7 million people fell ill with TB and 1.4 million died from TB.
Over 95 percent of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and it is among the top three causes of death for women aged 15 to 44.

 In 2010, there were about 10 million orphan children as a result of TB deaths among parents.
 TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV causing one quarter of all deaths.

 Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is present in virtually all countries surveyed.

 The estimated number of people falling ill with tuberculosis each year is declining but very slowly.

Drug-Resistant TB current news reports

“A growing number of people with Drug Resistant TB (DR-TB) are people “who have never had TB treatment before” ─ a situation once the preserve of people who had received incomplete or incorrect TB treatment ─ thus showing “that DR-TB is becoming an epidemic in its own right,” According to a Guardian (UK) professional report.

Children have been omitted from developments in diagnostics and treatment,” the report says. “Current diagnostic tests are unsuitable for children” as they involving “invasive procedures to obtain respiratory samples and miss more than half of the cases.

There are no appropriate child-friendly preparations of DR-TB treatments; this means that dosages are often approximated, which leads to over- or under-dosing.

The potential of the new drugs will bypass children if there are no trials looking at pediatric formulations and no plans for new DR-TB regimens for children.

The World Health Organization figure of more than 300,000 new cases every year among notified TB cases “Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) considers conservative based on the growing number of DR-TB patients in [their] projects.”

Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis is today described by health organizations as “a public health crisis, spiraling out of control.”

War on Iraq
far from over
his is the legacy of wealthy, well-armed, nuclear-powered nations engaging in endless war, chaos and destabilization, abusing power within and beyond the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and various unilateral and bilateral arrangements. They effectively sustain sickness and cause (by neglect or design) the deaths of millions of people in their own countries and across the world.  This is in my view both criminal and immoral. 

Sources and notes

“L.A.’s Skid Row Battles Tuberculosis Outbreak”
March 5, 2013, by Katharina Schwan (The Disease Daily), http://www.healthmap.org/news/la percentE2 percent80 percent99s-skid-row-battles-tuberculosis-outbreak-3513

“First Cases of Vaccine-Resistant Whooping Cough Found in United States” by Lauren Edmundson (The Disease Daily), February 8, 2013, http://www.healthmap.org/news/first-cases-vaccine-resistant-whooping-cough-found-united-states-2813

“Global Tuberculosis Report 2012” World Health Organization http://www.who.int/tb/publications/global_report/gtbr12_executivesummary.pdf

“Reported Tuberculosis in the United States, 2011, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Highlights of 2011 Report: “Since 1953, in cooperation with state and local health departments, the United States national tuberculosis program has collected information on each newly reported case of tuberculosis (TB) disease in the United States.  Currently, each individual TB case report (Report of Verified Case of Tuberculosis or RVCT) is submitted electronically” Executive Commentary, (PDF  – 222k), http://www.cdc.gov/tb/statistics/reports/2011/executivecommentary.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/

WHO Tuberculosis Fact sheet N°104 Reviewed February 2013, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs104/en/

“Drug-resistant tuberculosis: we can stop this epidemic in its tracks ─ For the first time in half a century drugs that could cure DR-TB are being tested, but the global health community needs to act fast” (Grania Brigden, Guardian Professional), March 1, 2013 06.02 EST, http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development-professionals-network/2013/mar/01/drug-resitant-tb-tuberculosis-drugs

“Hopes for new TB vaccine dashed following unsuccessful trials ─ Immune system response provoked in adults not reproduced when MVA85A booster shot administered to babies” (Sarah Boseley, health editor, guardian.co.uk) February 4, 2013 07.00 EST,

Hopes that a much needed new tuberculosis vaccine was on the way, the first for 90 years, have been dashed by trial results showing it did not protect babies against the disease.

Optimism surrounded the vaccine candidate known as MVA85A because trials in adults had gone well. The vaccine, developed by Professor Helen McShane, a Wellcome Trust senior clinical research fellow at Oxford University, stimulated an immune system response when given to adults. But the study, published by the Lancet medical journal, shows the vaccine did not have a comparable effect when given to babies in South Africa.

[McShane said] ‘The vaccine induced modest immune responses against TB in the infants, but these were much lower than those previously seen in adults, and were insufficient to protect against the disease’

“WHO-CIDA Initiative: Intensifying TB case detection ─ The World Health Organization, through a 3 year grant from the Canadian International Development Agency, is assisting five selected high TB incidence countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Philippines, Swaziland and Vietnam) in implementing specific approaches that contribute to not only increasing TB case detection in settings where they are applied, but also across the entire country” http://www.who.int/tb/whocidainitiative/en/index.html

Also in current news reports
Whooping Cough first U.S. drug-resistant

Lauren Edmundson reported in early February, “In a letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors have identified twelve cases of pertussis [whooping cough] that do not respond to the pertussis vaccine.

“The samples were collected from children hospitalized in Philadelphia in 2011 and 2012. These are the first Britannica note: Whooping cough (pertussis) is an acute, highly communicable respiratory disease characterized in its typical form by paroxysms of coughing followed by a long-drawn inspiration, or ‘whoop.’ The coughing ends with the expulsion of clear, sticky mucus and often with vomiting. Whooping cough is caused by the bacterium Bordatella pertussis.

“A huge spike in pertussis cases occurred in the United States this year with twice as many cases reported in 2012 compared with 2011. Twenty-one states experienced outbreaks above the national incidence levels, and an epidemic was declared in Washington in April, bringing the nationwide 2012 total to over 40,000… Transmission often occurs from older family members to infants or children.”

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