The pink eye epidemic is sweeping parts of Asia, infecting thousands every day The pink eye epidemic is sweeping parts of Asia, infecting thousands every day

The pink eye epidemic is sweeping parts of Asia, infecting thousands every day

The pink eye epidemic is sweeping parts of Asia, infecting thousands every day

The viral epidemic of pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is spreading, affecting hundreds of thousands in Vietnam, India and Pakistan.
For months amid summer heat waves and record rainfall, infections have been rising, as health officials in many countries struggle to curb highly contagious pathogens that seem to thrive in high humidity.

By September, tens of thousands of schools in Vietnam, India and Pakistan were briefly closed in an emergency effort to stop the spread of the virus.

On the first day of September in the state of Punjab in northwestern India, health officials in India counted 13,000 new cases of pink eye. During the entire month, the city recorded more than 86,000 cases.

In Pakistan, the number of those afflicted reached approximately 400,000 people nationwide.

Officials in Vietnam say they recorded more than 63,000 cases of viral conjunctivitis from January to September, an increase of more than 15% over the same period the previous year.

While pink eye can be caused by bacteria or viruses, viral infections are particularly contagious. Some of them can live on surfaces for 30 days, and spread easily after rubbing the eye just once with a contaminated hand.

"Many different types of viruses can cause viral conjunctivitis (including Covid-19), " Isabelle Gilbert, an ophthalmologist and optometrist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, told Newsweek. "However, the majority of cases of conjunctivitis are... "Conjunctivitis contagiosum, up to 75%, is caused by adenoviruses. The outbreak in Pakistan appears to involve a highly contagious form of the virus."

People with conjunctivitis usually have one or two eyes affected. Symptoms include redness, eye pain, swollen eyelids, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and watery discharge.

Aside from frequent hand washing and disinfecting surfaces, there is not much that can be done to prevent the spread of the virus.

There is no cure for pink eye, which means patients must simply wait two weeks or more for their immune system to fight off the virus.

Staying at home during this time is essential to avoid spreading the disease more widely in the community.

In severe cases, the cornea can become chronically inflamed, leading to long-term vision problems.

Although these cases are rare, hospital officials in Vietnam say that 20% of the cases they have seen in children involve serious complications.

Recurrent epidemics of conjunctivitis occur around the world, but because this disease tends to follow a seasonal cycle, future outbreaks are likely to be susceptible to climate changes, although research in this area is remarkably lacking.

Today, only a few studies have found that high temperatures are a risk factor for localized conjunctivitis.

And in 2023, research in China found that high humidity increases the risk of outpatient visits for conjunctivitis, although low relative humidity compared to temperature can also increase the risk by causing dryness and irritation.

Air pollution likely plays a role as well.

In a rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever for governments to prepare for conjunctivitis virus outbreaks.

Educating the public about what symptoms to look for and how to isolate will be vital moving forward.


Genetic genes may be the reason for your being a vegetarian or your inability to give up meat!

An individual's genetic makeup plays a role in determining whether or not they can adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, according to a study conducted by Northwestern Medicine.
The results, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, open the door to further studies that could have important implications for dietary recommendations and the production of meat substitutes.

While a large percentage of people (about 48 to 64%) identify themselves as primarily “vegetarian,” they also report eating fish, poultry, and/or red meat, suggesting that there may be environmental or biological constraints that go beyond desire. One must adhere to a vegetarian diet, said the researchers, including a team from Northwestern University in the United States.

“Are all humans able to live long-term on a strict vegetarian diet? This is a question that has not been seriously studied,” said study author Dr. Nabil Yassin, professor emeritus of pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "More people are becoming vegan than they actually are, and we think that's because there's something embedded here that people might miss."

To determine whether genetics contribute to an individual's ability to adhere to a vegetarian diet, scientists compared UK Biobank genetic data from 5,324 strict vegetarians (who do not eat fish, poultry or red meat) to a control group of 329,455 people. All study participants were white Caucasian to obtain a homogeneous sample and avoid confounding by race.

The researchers found three genes significantly associated with vegetarianism and 31 other genes that are potentially linked. The study revealed that many of these genes, including two of the top three (NPC1 and RMC1), are involved in fat metabolism and/or brain function.

Dr. Yassin explained: “One area where plant-based products differ from meat is in complex lipids. My speculation is that there may be a fatty component(s) present in meat that some people need. And perhaps people whose genes favor vegetarianism will be able to manufacture these components.” "Internally. However, at this time, this is just speculation and more work needs to be done to understand the physiology of the plant system."

Researchers believe that the driving factor behind food and drink preference is not only taste, but also how an individual's body metabolizes it.

"I think with meat, there's something similar. Maybe you have a certain component — I think it's a fatty component — that makes you need it and crave it," Dr. Yassin said.

He continued: "While religious and ethical considerations certainly play a major role in the motivation to adopt a vegetarian diet, our data suggest that the ability to adhere to such a diet is limited by genetics."

The researchers hope that future studies will lead to a better understanding of the physiological differences between vegetarians and meat-eaters. Such understanding will enable personalized nutritional recommendations and produce better meat alternatives, they said.

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