Medi-snippets: Unhygienic food raids increase in festive season | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Unhygienic food raids increase in festive season

The Food Unit of the Health Ministry and Public Health Inspectors Association are readying to conduct sudden raids on food outlets islandwide ahead of the festive season. Public Health Inspectors conducting the raids said, they were especially focussing on ready made Christmas cake and butter cake, already being put on the shelves of various shopping outlets. They said, several raids had been conducted in the past months and many of the violators of Food Law fined in court. They said, offenders included wayside outlets to restaurants to hotels, operating without legal permits. Last week two hotel owners who ran unhygienic hotels without permits and served food unsuitable for consumption were fined Rs 30,000 each by the Wariyapola Magistrate.

Rural students, addicted to liquor

It was reported that many rural students are addicted to liquor as a result of illicit liquor manufacturers in the North Western Province selling liquor at their hotel bars or outside. A foreigner was found growing cannabis behind a house enclosed with high walls and selling mostly to students, sources said. An elderly person was also taken into custody and pleaded guilty of cultivating a cannabis chena in the Hambantota Division. Police have warned parents to be more vigilant of their children’s activities outside school.

A third of HIV infected don’t know they are infected

One third of the 4,200 HIV infected persons in Sri Lanka are unaware that they are HIV positive, a Consultant Epidemiologist attached to the National STD/AIDS Control Program has reportedly said at a media discussion at the Health Promotion Bureau recently. He reportedly said, the new HIV infected persons detected were the young, aged between 15 and 49. Participating health officials reportedly pointed out that the number of high risk persons covered a broad range urging them to get their blood tested for HIV on a regular basis. They included female sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men , drug users using contaminated needles and syringes, prison inmates, beach boys , TB patients , members of the armed forces, police and those in the tourism industry. They said, during the ‘window period’( less than 2 weeks after infection) HIV could be transmitted to another person without his/her knowledge because only sensitive tests such as, the antigen detecting test can detect the virus in the blood. Around 40-90% have flu like symptoms 2- 4weeks after HIV infection, such as fever, chills, muscle ache, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes , and mouth ulcers, health sources reportedly said.

90% Lankan women sexually harassed on public transport

On UN’s International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women observed recently, the focus was on violence women and girls face and its adverse impact on the victims. An innovative photo journalism project launched this year was aimed at documenting women’s experiences of sexual harassment on public transport starting December 1-16. The ‘Cheer Up Luv’ project in conjunction with the UNFPA for the next 16 days dubbed as ‘16 days of Activism against gender based violence’ will culminate with Human Rights Day on December 10. Organisers have reportedly said, recent findings that over 90% of women are harassed while using public transport, promoted a campaign to be carried out in three train stations where flyers in Sinhala and Tamil were distributed to commuters, and women urged to complain of such offences to the nearest Police Station . Photo journalists will visit four bus depots in Colombo and outside to raise awareness of the issue and encourage women to share their experiences with others. An unnamed psychologist said the impact of such harassment could be long lasting, affecting the victims at school, their personal lives and at work affecting their mental and psychological health.

First fully fledged cancer care unit launched

Asiri Surgical Hospital, reportedly the largest hospital chain in the country run by the private sector, and the American Oncology Institute recently launched (Asiri AOI) , a major new cancer care initiative. Managing Director and Chairman of the Asiri Group of Companies, Ashok Pathirage has reportedly said, the new cancer centre would be the first fully fledged comprehensive cancer care centre of its kind in Sri Lanka, offering the most advanced radiation therapies and treatment, including PET and CT imaging to diagnose malignancies and monitor response to treatment as well as a Gamma Camera and all the diagnostic equipment, in line with the most advanced cancer care centres in the region .

Dengue patients to refrain from using aspirin

Although the number of suspected dengue cases reported to the Epidemiology Unit has plummeted since January the total number of cases reported as at November 28, 44,396, and 50 deaths was still high, health officials reportedly said. At least 9 districts showed more than 1,000 cases. They warned, an outbreak was possible in the next few weeks due to heavy rains and short bursts of sunshine which could result in thousands of new mosquito breeding sites. Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an aedes mosquito infected with any of the four dengue viruses. Symptoms appear 3-14 days after the infective bite, affecting infants, young children and adults. Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever ( DHF) symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding which are potentially lethal complications and require clinical management, health officials said. They warned there was no specific anti viral medicines for Dengue and urged patients to refrain from using aspirin, and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, and to see a doctor on the second or third day of the fever. Dengue Control Unit sources have said that an on going program to clean all high risk areas would continue till the end of the month and the next month. The Western Province recorded the highest number of suspected cases, while the MC Colombo also showed an increase in November ( 71 in October and 181 in November) with a total of 2,149 cases reported. Sources said all steps were being taken to focus on high risk areas such as, Wellawatte, Bambalapitiya, Narahenpitiya, Baseline Road, Pamankada and Kollupitiya.

Ja-Ela U. C steps in to control rabies spread

The fear of rabies from the large number of stray dogs prowling in the Ja-Ela district , prompted the Ja-Ela Urban Council ( JUC) to conduct an anti rabies vaccination program for stray dogs with the help of health officials and trained assistants.

Tobacco during pregnancy

Mothers who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy increases the risk of their child becoming obese new research has revealed. The new study by Kennedy University hammers home the dangers of smoking by pregnant women by revealing for the first time evidence that combustible cigarettes increase levels of a fat fuelling protein in a woman’s unborn baby. Previous studies have identified links between tobacco during pregnancy and low birth weight and premature delivery. But evidence is now emerging of the way it can affect a child long term when cigarette smoke chemicals cross the placenta, boosting amounts of a molecule known as chemerin.

The protein is associated with obesity, the greater it is expressed, the stronger the likelihood of a child being overweight and finding it difficult to slim down later, the study found.