Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Animals in Schools and Daycare Settings

Photo: Girl looking in jar

From the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Web page

Animals can provide important opportunities for entertainment and learning. However, there is also a risk for getting sick or hurt from contact with animals, including those in school and daycare classrooms.

Animals can be effective and valuable teaching aids for children, but there is a risk of illness and injury from contact with animals. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths, a behavior that can spread germs. …

Boy washing hands

The page also summarizes

  • Types of diseases animals can spread
  • How to reduce risk of illnesses from animals
  • How to check that animals are healthy
  • Links to further information, for both adults and children

 



August 17, 2011 Posted by | Public Health, Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Growing number of farm animals spawn new diseases

Growing number of farm animals spawn new diseases

A cow stands on the Klausenpass mountain pass road, 1,952 m (6,404 ft) in the Swiss Alps August 19, 2009. In the background is the Urnerboden Valley. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

 

HONG KONG (Reuters) – A growing number of livestock, such as cows and pigs, are fuelling new animal epidemics worldwide and posing more severe problems in developing countries as it threatens their food security, according to a report released on Friday.

Epidemics in recent years, such as SARS and the H1N1 swine flu, are estimated to have caused billions of dollars in economic costs.

Some 700 million people keep farm animals in developing countries and these animals generate up to 40 percent of household income, the report by the International Livestock Research Institute said.

“Wealthy countries are effectively dealing with livestock diseases, but in Africa and Asia, the capacity of veterinary services to track and control outbreaks is lagging dangerously behind livestock intensification,” John McDermott and Delia Grace at the Nairobi-based institute said in a statement on the report.

“This lack of capacity is particularly dangerous because many poor people in the world still rely on farm animals to feed their families, while rising demand for meat, milk and eggs among urban consumers in the developing world is fueling a rapid intensification of livestock production.”

Seventy-five percent of emerging infectious diseases originate in animals, they added. Of these 61 percent are transmissible between animals and humans.

“A new disease emerges every four months; many are trivial but HIV, SARS and avian influenza (eg. H5N1) illustrate the huge potential impacts,” McDermott and Grace wrote in the report.

HUGE ECONOMIC COSTS

Epidemics like SARS in 2003, sporadic outbreaks of the H5N1 avian flu since 1997 and the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009 racked up enormous economic costs around the world.

While SARS cost between $50 billion to $100 billion, the report cited a World Bank estimate in 2010 which pinned the potential costs of an avian flu pandemic at $3 trillion.

The report warned that rapid urbanization and climate change could act as “wild cards,” altering the present distribution of diseases, sometimes “dramatically for the worse.”

The two researchers urged developing countries to improve animal disease surveillance and speed up testing procedures to help contain livestock epidemics before they become widespread.

(Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)

 

 

 


February 15, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Pet’s Food Dish Could Serve Up Salmonella

Study tracks the gut bugs’ progress from tainted dry food to children’s tummies

Excerpt:

This new study, “re-emphasizes the importance of washing your hands whenever you deal with anything from a pet, including petting him, touching his mouth or cleaning up after him, especially for children whose immune systems are very weak in comparison to adults,” said Dr. Philip Tierno, clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City and author of The Secret Life of Germs.

“Hand washing is the single most important thing anyone can do to protect their health, and that’s within everyone’s purview if you teach them,” Tierno said. “You can do that and not be afraid.”

Another precaution is to have well-packaged, well-stored pet food, keeping it out of the reach of infants and toddlers, said Richel.

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

   

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