Friday, 7 February 2014

Pollution decreases Chinese men's sperm | H5N1 virus carried by wild birds | Adenovirus threat to PLA | Tuberculosis control failing

Pollution reduces Chinese men's fertility
The high levels of pollution found in Chinese cities are reducing the quality of men's semen, a study form Chongqing has shown. Researchers from the the Institute of Toxicology, College of Preventive Medicine, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing measured air pollution levels in Chongqing and in surrounding rural areas. They found an inverse correlation between measures of pollution such as PM10, SO2 and NO2 and semen quality. Published in the journal Environmental Pollution, their findings show that the highest sperm concentrations were seen in rural areas, whereas the lowest were seen in downtown areas of Chongqing. Conversely, the highlest levels of pollution were seen in urban areas, peaking in winter months.
"Exposure to higher concentrations of PM10, SO2, and NO2 in urban ambient air may account for worse semen quality in urban males," the researchers concluded.

Migratory birds carry pathogenic influenza virus
Wild birds migrating through Yunnan have been found to carry the highly pathogenic influenza H5N1 virus. A sampling of birds trapped by researchers found that the average carriage rate of H5N1 was 5%, but in some species such as cuckoos the rates were as high as 22%. The researchers said the birds could be possible vectors of influenza, especially if they shared ponds and drinking water with domestic birds. The findings are published in the Virology Journal.

Tuberculosis control failing because of migrant workers and the elderly
Doctors in rural Jiangsu say tuberculosis control is a problem because of difficulty in diagnosing and treating the disease in migrant workers and the elderly. These two groups were repeatedly documented as the main obstacles in effective tuberculosis control by doctors in a rural county near Suzhou. When interviewed by researchers, doctors also expressed their frustration with the lack of new drugs for treating tuberculosis patients. They said elderly patients were less health conscious and more prone to side effects, so doctors had to put extra effort into convincing elderly patients to adhere to TB treatment. Migrant workers were another probelm for TB control because they were often poorly educated, had little awareness of TB and had difficulty completing long term treatment because of their transient lifestyle. Difficulties also arose because migrant workers were poor and not covered by local health insurance schemes to pay for medical treatment and drugs for TB.
"Migrant workers coming from rural parts of China present a gloomy prospect for TB control in China," the researcher from the School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University said in PLOS One.

Respiratory virus threat to PLA
Clinicians in Sichuan have reported that a novel adenovirus is posing a serious threat to the health of China's military. The human adenovirus 55 (HAdV-55) has caused outbreaks of sever acute respiratory disease among adults and seems to be common in military trainee institutions. In an analysis of the virus found in samples from almost 200 young Chinese infected in recent years they found that it often caused severe pneumonia. They charactrised the makeup of the virus and warned that it posed a threat, but more research was needed to understand its diversity, dissemination, and transmission in China.

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