Views from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

All posts in Health

How e-cigarettes could ‘health wash’ the tobacco industry

ben-hawkins-2By Benjamin Hawkins, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Ross MacKenzie, Macquarie University. The evidence that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking was described in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recent report as “scant and of low certainty”. Predictably, this triggered the latest round of claims and counterclaims in an ongoing, and often acrimonious, dispute about the potential of e-cigarettes. Read more

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Dengue vaccine no silver bullet but worth a shot for those who need it most

By Stefan Flasche, stefan_flascheDepartment of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 'Dengue fever kills 20 in Burkina Faso’ reports the BBC. ‘Dengue claims 26 lives in Maharashtra’ leads the Times of India. Deaths from dengue are actually rare but these recent headlines are a reminder of the dangers the virus poses and the need for a concerted global effort to tackle it. Read more

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Paul I. Howell, MPH, Malaria Research and Reference Reagent Resource Cntr; Prof. Frank Hadley Collins, Dir., Cntr. for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, Univ. of Notre Dame

This A. aegypti female was from a strain of mosquitos named LVP-IB12, an acronym representing the fact that these mosquitos were derived from the Liverpool strain (LVP), and that they were inbred 12 times (IB12), in order to create a more homogeneous genotype.  Also, of great importance is the additional fact that this specie is being used in the A. aegypti genome sequencing project.  Though the mosquito’s geographical origin is not known, it is believed to be somewhere in Africa.

Dengue (DF) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are primarily diseases of tropical and sub tropical areas, and the four different dengue serotypes are maintained in a cycle that involves humans and the domestic, day-biting mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which prefers to feed on humans, and is the most common Aedes species. Infections produce a spectrum of clinical illness ranging from a nonspecific viral syndrome to severe and fatal hemorrhagic disease. Important risk factors for DHF include the strain of the infecting virus, as well as the age, and especially the prior dengue infection history of the patient.DF and DHF are caused by one of four closely related, but antigenically distinct virus serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4) of the genus Flavivirus. Infection with one of these serotypes provides immunity to only that serotype for life, so persons living in a dengue-endemic area can have more than one dengue infection during their lifetime.

Zika has created a ‘lost generation’ – helping them is not just our duty, but their right

By Hannah Kuper, Co-director of International Centrhannah-k-bloge for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine I recently sat with a mother and her baby in an intensive care unit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The baby was tiny, with lots of dark hair and a beautiful name. He also had microcephaly – and the doctor euphemistically said that his face was disproportionate to his head. Read more

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New estimate suggests a quarter of the world’s population has latent tuberculosis

rein-cropped By Rein Houben, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Pete Dodd, University of Sheffield.   In rich countries, tuberculosis is sometimes thought of as a thing of the past, the disease that claimed Keats, Poe, Chopin. But globally, TB is today the number one infectious killer, causing an estimated 1.8m deaths in 2015. Read more

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Are ‘informal providers’ a short-term fix for India’s primary healthcare system?

tim_meenakshi By Meenakshi Gautham,  Research Fellow - IDEAS Country Coordinator, and Timothy Powell-Jackson,  Associate Professor in Health Economics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. India faces a ticking-time bomb when it comes to public health. In 2015 it reported 27% of all neonatal deaths and 21% of all child deaths in the world, and the country accounted for 20% of the global burden of disease in 2013. More than 70% of ailing persons sought care in the private health sector in 2014 and it is well known that a large proportion of this private sector is informal and unrecognised. Read more

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How did England’s national immunisation programme adapt to large scale NHS reforms?

mounier-jack_sandra01_webBy Sandra Mounier-Jack, Senior Lecturer in Health Policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.  In April 2013, the National Health Service (NHS) in England was subject to the biggest reorganisation since its creation in 1948.  NHS leaders famously described the changes as “so big you could see them from space”. In a very short space of time, new organisations were created, old ones abolished and responsibilities for public health were transferred from the NHS to local authorities. In the midst of these changes, we investigated what happened to the national immunisation programme. Read more

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Evidence gaps in drug resistant infection need plugging to eliminate superbugs

By Clare Chandler, Co-Director of the Antimicrobial Resistance Centre and Susannah Woodd, Research Fellow Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly have signed a declaration that their 193 countries will take steps to rid the world of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It is only the fourth time in the history of the UN that a health topic has been on the General Assembly agenda. Read more

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Got your underwear, bed sheets and vaccination? Why freshers could help eliminate measles

john_edmundsBy John Edmunds, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling and Dean of Faculty of Epidemiology & Population at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. It’s the time of year when hundreds of thousands of teenagers are beginning an exciting new chapter in their lives. Freshers’ week will see friendships fostered for life, but for some unfortunate students it will also mean experiencing something not quite as welcome. Close contact between large groups of young adults is the perfect breeding ground for infectious disease. Perhaps surprisingly, measles is one of them. Read more

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Why can’t we save the world’s babies from sepsis? It’s down to a lack of data

libby_webBy Elizabeth Fitchett, Visiting Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Paediatrics Academic Clinical Fellow, Institute of Child Health, UCL. Fast-acting, potentially fatal, and ruthlessly unpredictable - every health professional fears sepsis in their patients. Today, 13 September, is World Sepsis Day—a wake-up call to governments and society that the number of deaths from sepsis remains unacceptably high, and continues to increase at an alarming rate. Read more

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We must not forget children who survive severe malnutrition

By Natasha Lelijveld, Research Fellow in the Nutrition Group at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) affects more than 19 million children under five each year worldwide and causes over 1 million deaths according to some estimates. The vast majority of these are from low-income countries, common catalysts being poverty, conflict and disease. The current drought in Ethiopia and South Sudan conflict are stark reminders that SAM remains a major global health problem. Read more