(25/548) The epidemiology of hepatitis A infection in Palestine: a universal vaccination programme is not yet needed.

In Palestine, there has been an increase in the reported incidence of acute hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection since 1995. Since overt clinical disease occurs only among adults, questions were raised whether or not a shift in the epidemiology of HAV has occurred. This is generally characterized by a decrease in the overall incidence rate and a shifting in the mean age of infection towards adolescence and early adulthood. The need for a vaccination programme is being discussed. To resolve this issue, we examined the prevalence of anti-HAV in a representative sample of 396 school children in the Gaza Strip. The prevalence of anti-HAV was 93.7% (95% CI: 91.3, 96.1%). Stratifying the prevalence by age showed that 87.8% (95% CI: 78.6, 97%) were HAV antibody positive by the age of 6. By the age of 14, almost 98% (95% CI: 92.7, 100%) were HAV antibody positive. This means that the majority of HAV infection is still taking place in early childhood, when it is usually asymptomatic and of little clinical significance. The results refuted the shifting epidemiology theory and we recommend that a vaccination programme against HAV infection is not yet needed. Alternative explanations for the increase in reported cases are discussed.  (+info)

(26/548) There are many Mediterranean diets.

Interest in Mediterranean diet began 30 years ago, when Ancel Keys published the results of the famous Seven Countries Study, Since 1945, almost 1.3 million people have come to Australia from Mediterranean countries as new settlers. There are 18 countries with coasts on the Mediterranean sea: Spain, southern France, Italy, Malta, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. This study from which this report derives aims to investigate the influence of the food habits of immigrants from Mediterranean countries on Australian food intake. Here we look at the 'traditional' food habits of the above Mediterranean countries as told by 102 people we interviewed in Sydney, who came from 18 Mediterranean countries to Sydney. Most of the informants were women, their age ranged from 35 to 55 years. The interview was open-ended and held in the informant's home. It usually lasted around 1 1/2 hours. The interview had three parts. Personal information was obtained, questions relating to the food habits of these people back in their original Mediterranean countries and how their food intake and habits have changed in Australia were also asked. From the interviews, we have obtained a broad picture of 'traditional' food habits in different Mediterranean countries. The interview data was checked with books of recipes for the different countries. While there were similarities between the countries, there are also important differences in the food habits of the Mediterranean countries. Neighbouring countries' food habits are closer than those on opposite sides of the Mediterranean Sea. We suggest that these food habits can be put into four groups. The data here refer to food habits in Mediterranean countries 20 or 30 years ago, as they were recovering from the Second World War. There is no single ideal Mediterranean diet. Nutritionists who use the concept should qualify the individual country and the time in history of their model Mediterranean diet.  (+info)

(27/548) Neighbors and enemies: lessons to be learned from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict regarding cooperation in public health.

We aim to demonstrate on the example of recent Palestinian-Israeli collaborative projects how sustainable cooperation can be achieved despite unfavorable political atmosphere and continuing violent disputes. Palestinian and Israeli participants of the collaborative projects declared that their attitude and belief in coexistence was positively changed as a result of their experience in cooperative work. Their main motivations were a desire to contribute to the resolution of the conflict and to improve professional skills. The experience in Israeli-Palestinian conflict showed that the collaborative projects of higher chance of success and sustainability should address issues of high priority to the concerned parties, lead to demonstrable benefits in the immediate future, and preferably be organized by non-governmental organizations. Also, to secure long-term success of collaborative projects, parity and symmetry should be maintained, as well as equal division of work and responsibility between the partners. Collaboration in public health field is first to be (re)established in conflict areas to alleviate suffering, minimize future health risks, and prevent further health deterioration. Thereby, public health can serve as a bridge to peace in areas of unrest or war.  (+info)

(28/548) Reported chemical sensitivities in a health survey of United Kingdom military personnel.

OBJECTIVE: To report the prevalence of self reported chemical sensitivities in three cohorts of United Kingdom service personnel. METHOD: Cross sectional postal survey of three cohorts of United Kingdom military personnel comprising Gulf veterans (n=3531), those who had served in Bosnia (n=2050), and those serving during the Gulf war but not deployed there (Era cohort, n=2614). RESULTS: Sensitivity to at least one everyday chemical was reported by a considerable proportion of all three cohorts, and particularly by veterans of the Gulf war (Era: 14%; Bosnia: 13%; Gulf: 28%). CONCLUSION: Reported chemical sensitivities were common in all three military cohorts. Our understanding of chemical sensitivities remains limited and objective evidence for a causal link between low level exposures to chemicals and reported symptoms is lacking. Given their frequency in the population, further work in this area is necessary.  (+info)

(29/548) African pastoralism: genetic imprints of origins and migrations.

The genetic history of African cattle pastoralism is controversial and poorly understood. We reveal the genetic signatures of its origins, secondary movements, and differentiation through the study of 15 microsatellite loci in 50 indigenous cattle breeds spanning the present cattle distribution in Africa. The earliest cattle originated within the African continent, but Near East and European genetic influences are also identified. The initial expansion of African Bos taurus was likely from a single region of origin. It reached the southern part of the continent by following an eastern route rather than a western one. The B. indicus genetic influence shows a major entry point through the Horn and the East Coast of Africa and two modes of introgression into the continent.  (+info)

(30/548) Protecting the health of United States military forces in Afghanistan: applying lessons learned since the Gulf War.

Four weeks after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, US combat troops began bombing missions over Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom. Additional Reserve and National Guard personnel were called to active duty to support the war effort and to ensure security throughout the United States. All of these troops will require health care and assistance during and after this war on terrorism. They will benefit from recent federal legislation that has increased access to health care and from the changes implemented by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs since the Gulf War. An innovative Defense Department "Force Health Protection" strategy places greater emphasis on helping service members and families stay healthy and fit and on preventing injury and illness. The two agencies also have developed new post-deployment clinical practice guidelines, established deployment research centers, and made further improvements in preventive medicine, health surveillance, and risk communication and are thus better prepared for this newest generation of war veterans.  (+info)

(31/548) Knowledge, attitude, practice, and toxicity symptoms associated with pesticide use among farm workers in the Gaza Strip.

AIMS: To assess knowledge, attitude, practice, and toxicity symptoms associated with pesticide use and exposure among 189 farm workers in the Gaza Strip. METHODS: A cross section of agricultural farm workers in the Gaza Strip were asked to fill in a questionnaire on knowledge, attitudes, practice towards pesticide use, and associated toxicity symptoms. RESULTS: Farm workers reported high levels of knowledge on the health impact of pesticides (97.9%). Moderate to high levels of knowledge were recorded on toxicity symptoms related to pesticides. Most farm workers were aware of the protective measures to be used during applying pesticides. However, no one took precautions unless they knew about the measures. Burning sensation in eyes/face was the commonest symptom (64.3%). The prevalence of self reported toxicity symptoms was dependent on mixing and use of high concentrations of pesticides. The highest percentage of self reported toxicity symptoms was found among the farm workers who returned to sprayed fields within one hour of applying pesticides. CONCLUSIONS: Farm workers in the Gaza Strip used pesticides extensively. Despite their knowledge about the adverse health impact of the pesticides, the use of protective measures was poor. Most had self reported toxicity symptoms, particularly the younger workers. It would be useful to minimise the use of pesticides and encourage alternative measures. Prevention and intervention programmes regarding the use of protective measures and monitoring the health status of farm workers should be implemented.  (+info)

(32/548) Complete genome sequences and phylogenetic analysis of West Nile virus strains isolated from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.

The complete nucleotide sequences of eight West Nile (WN) virus strains (Egypt 1951, Romania 1996-MQ, Italy 1998-equine, New York 1999-equine, MD 2000-crow265, NJ 2000MQ5488, NY 2000-grouse3282, and NY 2000-crow3356) were determined. Phylogenetic trees were constructed from the aligned nucleotide sequences of these eight viruses along with all other previously published complete WN virus genome sequences. The phylogenetic trees revealed the presence of two genetic lineages of WN viruses. Lineage 1 WN viruses have been isolated from the northeastern United States, Europe, Israel, Africa, India, Russia, and Australia. Lineage 2 WN viruses have been isolated only in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Lineage 1 viruses can be further subdivided into three monophyletic clades.  (+info)