Views from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

All posts in Health

Children being screened for vaccinations at Nyamaganga hospital, Tanzania.

Meningitis: Africa needs to join forces (again) to secure a lower cost vaccine

Erondu_Ngozi08-orig profileBy Ngozi Erondu, Assistant Professor in Health Information at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Meningitis is an infectious and life-threatening bacterial disease that infects and inflames the brain and spinal cord. It’s a disease that the world has been able to prevent through vaccines for more than a decade – yet thousands of people are still dying from it in Africa. The Conversation Read more

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Visualising the slow march to a chronic disease apocalypse

By Edmond Ng, SenioEd_Sarah_blogr Statistical Analyst, and Sarah Curran, Programme Manager, Global Burden of Disease Independent Advisory Committee, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine People living in 35 industrialised countries can look forward to longer lives, a recent Lancet study suggests. The research showed that women in South Korea are expected to have a better than 50/50 chance of breaking the 90-year barrier by year 2030 - a remarkable feat that was not considered possible by many at the turn of the 21st century. Read more

3D_computer-generated_image_of_a_cluster_of_rod-shaped_drug-resistant_Mycobacterium_tuberculosis_bacteria_credit_CDC_James_Archer

TB superbugs need special attention – why do we continue to turn a blind eye?

David_MooreBy David Moore, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine “It is quite possible that we will see a drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemic of unprecedented global scale.” The view of Dr David W Dowdy from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a Lancet Respiratory Medicine comment piece this week. Alarming words, and we need to listen. Read more

Ebola signs and symptoms

Solving the next global pandemic

By NgozErondu_Ngozi08-orig profilei Erondu, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine In his latest annual letter, Bill Gates warned of the imminent threat of a deadly pandemic to the global community. Yet, while his message also lauds the accomplishments of vaccine coverage, he has consistently lacked the emphasis on a crucial element of global health security: If we truly want to prepare for the next pandemic we need to invest in health systems, not just vaccine development. Read more

Caption - Hypertension management project in Ghana, Credit - Novartis Foundation

Innovation needed to tackle global epidemic of non-communicable diseases

Peter Piot. Credit Heidi LarsonBy Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Throughout my career I have been at the frontline in the fight against some of the toughest health emergencies of our times. In the 1970s I was working to quell the outbreak of the then-unknown Ebola virus. In the 1990s I was leading the newly-created UNAIDS to tackle one of the greatest pandemics of modern times – the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Read more

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

outside the  village doctor' clinic

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