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Archive for June, 2013

禽流感/上海1例H7N9病例死亡

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中國大陸上海市衛生和計劃生育委員會26日通報,上海1例人感染H7N9禽流感病例死亡,無新增病例出現。  新華社今天報導,截至26日16時,上海累計確診人感染H7N9禽流感病例33例,其中2例患者仍在積極治療中,15例患者已康復出院,16例患者醫治無效死亡。  死亡患者姓顧,男性,56歲,上海人。4月11日被確診為人感染H7N9禽流感確診病例,4月19日轉往市公共衛生臨床中心診治,經積極搶救無效於今天凌晨死亡。

via 中央日報網路報-臺灣聚焦.

Help at hand for those wanting to detox from technology | My Sinchew


People looking at their smartphones while waiting for a train at a BTS station in Bangkok. Photo courtesy: AFP

by Marianne Barriaux

PARIS, June 25, 2013 (AFP) – Tired of checking your smartphone every few minutes for new emails, likes or retweets? Do you spend more time looking at your device than chatting to your date? Are you close to a digital burn-out?

Fear not, an increasing number of options are available for those seeking to detox from technology, from wallpaper that blocks wi-fi to Internet-free holidays and software that forces you off addictive sites.

“People connect all the time, everywhere, in every position — lying down on their bed, at the restaurant, in the waiting room,” says Remy Oudghiri, a director at French polling firm Ipsos and author of a book on the subject.

More and more people own devices that allow this. In the United States, over half of adults now have a smartphone, while more than a third own a tablet computer.

“This sudden surge in connection possibilities, after the initial period of enthusiasm, prompts every user to reflect on how to continue to enjoy life while taking advantage of their connection. How to avoid becoming dependent,” Oudghiri said.

French researchers have come up with one solution, creating a special type of wallpaper that blocks wifi, which materials company Ahlstrom is busy developing further with the aim of putting it on the market next year.

Spokesman Robin Guillaud says there has already been significant interest in the invention. Schools in particular have made enquiries, keen to prevent students from spending too much time hooked to their smartphones.

According to an Ipsos survey, nearly a third of French people now feel the need to disconnect, with similar trends recorded in other countries.

Separate research from the same firm found that in 2006, 54 percent of the French population felt people spent less time together due to the advent of new technologies, a figure that leapt to 71 percent last year.

Companies have latched onto this lassitude, particularly in the tourism industry where some hotels and resorts offer digital detox packages.

The upmarket Westin hotel in Dublin, for instance, gives guests the option to surrender their smartphones and tablets on check-in and provides them with a detox pack that includes a tree planting kit and a board game.

But it comes at a price — 175 euros ($230) per person per night.

Other firms are offering more in-depth packages to really get away from it all. The US-based Digital Detox organises tech-free retreats to remote places in the United States or escape destinations such as Cambodia.

“Some of it is marketing”, said Thierry Crouzet, a blogger who went cold turkey and disconnected for six months.

“There are loads of places that are tranquil. No need to book a tour operator that takes you to the North Pole.”

The 49-year-old wrote a book about his experience called “I unplugged”, after suffering from a digital burn-out that saw him so craving technology that he would sometimes check his email, blogs and Twitter at night.

“I see a lot of blogger friends who are easing off. Nearly everyone gradually takes breaks. We’re realising that at the end of the day, it (technology) doesn’t nourish us,” he said.

But Crouzet admits that as a blogger who was going to write a book about his experience, it was easier for him to disconnect than it is for thousands of people who rely on email for work.

As a result, some companies are implementing measures to try and relieve employees from being contactable 24/7.

German car maker Volkswagen, for instance, in 2011 decided to stop sending emails to thousands of employees’ Blackberrys between 6.15 pm and 7:00 am.

And for those who just cannot resist Facebook, Twitter or Google+, the website anti-social.cc offers software that disables a list of distracting sites provided by the customer for a specified time period.

When all else fails, Internet rehabs are starting to spring up, such as reSTART, which bills itself as the first retreat centre programme in the United States.

According to its website, most of those they treat are between 18 and 28, and have checked in because they have had difficulty finishing college due to their Internet use, or establishing and maintaining off-line relationships.

The programme aims to teach participants about healthy eating, getting good sleep and how to address difficult emotions head-on rather than escape online.

The jury is out, however, as to whether those hooked on technology suffer from an actual addiction.

“I wouldn’t use the word addiction, I’d use the word dependence,” said Oudghiri.

“And it’s not the same dependence as drug dependence as you can free yourself of it more easily.”

via Help at hand for those wanting to detox from technology | My Sinchew.

Illegal drug trafficking obstacle to development – UN

The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban ki-Moon says illegal drug trafficking is a clear obstacle to development and called for “a robust and coordinated law enforcement response within and among countries.”

Mr. Moon in a message to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which falls today June 26, 2013 spoke of his  visit to the Patrignano drug rehabilitation centre in northern Italy.

He said the facility houses 1,200 young women and men from 28 countries who are learning to free themselves from “the curse of addiction and enjoy dignified and productive lives.”

The UN Secretary-General said all over the world, drugs threaten the health and welfare of youth and children, families and communities, and the billions of dollars generated by the drugs trade feed corruption, enhance the power of criminal networks and create fear and instability.

“Illegal drug trafficking is a clear obstacle to development.  This cross-border problem requires a robust and coordinated law enforcement response within and among countries.  Tackling organized crime and the illicit drugs trade is a shared responsibility.  But the rule of law is only part of the equation,” he said.

According to Mr. Moon, farmers dependent on the cultivation of illicit drugs such as coca, marijuana and opium must be offered alternative livelihoods, while drug users and addicts need help not stigmatization.

He called for a human rights and science-based public health approach, which he says is the only sound basis for preventing and treating addiction and related consequences such as HIV transmission through unsafe injecting practices.

“We must also address threats such as the emerging problem of new psychoactive substances, many of which are not under international control.  Young people, in particular, must be made aware of the dangers of these drugs,” he said.

The UN General Assembly decided by resolution 42/112 of  7 December 1987, to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The theme for this year is “Make health your ‘new high’ in life, not drugs.”

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

via Ghana Business News » Illegal drug trafficking obstacle to development – UN.

Haze-induced illnesses

Particles emitted by forest fires resulting in the haze can be toxic to the lungs. They can penetrate deep into the lungs and get absorbed by the blood stream.

I LIVE in Muar, where schools have been closed due to the haze and visibility is very poor. I dare not let my children go out at all. We have shut ourselves in the house and switched the air-conditioning on. I am worried for my old parents. Can we die from the haze?

Yes, you can. But it has to be disease-related.

But first of all, you have to understand what the haze is. The haze is an atmospheric condition where particles, smoke, dust and moisture suspend in the air. The more of these particles, smoke and dust there are, the less visible our environment will be.

The haze is only one of the “horizontal obscurations” that we have in the world.

The World Meterological Organization classifies horizontal obscuration into different categories: fog, ice fog, steam fog, mist, haze, smoke, volcanic ash, dust, sand and snow.

A “haze” may be produced by open burning (what is occurring now), farming (if you plough the fields in dry weather), pollution from traffic (it seems that there is a permanent haze in Los Angeles, for example), and smoke from industry and wildfires (like what occured in Australia a few years ago).

What kind of diseases can I get from the haze?

You can get a spectrum of diseases involving your respiratory tract as you breathe in those particles, and your eyes, which is exposed to the environment.

You can get:

·Conjunctivitis or inflammation of the eye.

·Nasal irritation, causing you to produce a lot of mucous and start clearing your throat excessively, or sneeze and cough.

·Throat irritation, leading to a sore throat, which in turn can produce mucous and clog up your pharynx area.

·Lung tissue inflammation and scarring. At high levels of the haze, you may start to cough and even feel breathless. At lower levels of pollution, people with a pre-existing lung or heart disorder may start to feel breathless and cough.

So if your loved ones or friends have conditions such as asthma, heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you should make sure they stay indoors as much as possible and avoid the haze.

It is stated that if the API goes from 50 to 150, you can see a 12% increase in upper respiratory tract diseases, a 19% increase in asthma cases, and a 26% increase in nose inflammation.

How would I know if the haze is affecting me?

You may start to experience these symptoms. These are usually short-term. Look out for:

·Watery or irritated eyes.

·Actual reddening, itchiness and inflammation of the outer lining of your eyes (conjunctivitis).

·Runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing.

·Post-nasal drip (where the mucous from the back of your nose drips into your throat, causing irritability, soreness and cough, especially at night when you are trying to sleep).

·Sore, dry and irritable throat, which you have to keep clearing.

·Coughing.

·Headache and dizziness.

·Fatigue and the feeling of malaise.

·Mental irritability and the feeling of being stressed out.

·Difficulty breathing, especially on exertion, because your lung function has decreased.

·Bronchitis and lung infections.Most of these symptoms are usually mild. They will get better if you stay indoors and do not expose yourself to the haze.

My elderly father has chronic bronchitis. Will the haze affect him more than me?

Yes. You have to be very careful with your loved ones or friends suffering from lung and heart diseases, including asthma (especially for children).

If you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) like chronic bronchitis or emphysema, obstructive sleep apnoea and heart diseases like coronary artery disease or heart failure, be very careful.

You may have acute exacerbations of your existing conditions. For example, if you have asthma, the haze can actually induce an acute attack, which you may have to manage by rushing yourself to the emergency department of the hospital. Will the haze have any long-term effects, like lung cancer?

Particles emitted by forest fires can be toxic to the lungs. They can penetrate deep into the lungs and get absorbed by the blood stream.

Studies have shown that people exposed to the haze (fine particles) frequently experience a faster thickening of their arteries, and this reduces life expectancy by a few years.

Long-term exposure to particles 2.5 micrometers or smaller can increase your risk of developing diabetes.

For pregnant mothers, be extra careful, because this is associated with spontaneous abortion, birth defects and high infant death rates.

It is not known at this stage if the risk of lung cancer is higher.

via Haze-induced illnesses – Health | The Star Online.

NEA reveals haze contingency plans for essential services


Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan shows
a refuse collector the correct way of wearing a face mask during his visit to Bukit Panjang. (Photo: S Ramesh)

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has put in place haze contingency plans for essential services like dengue inspections, waste collection and public cleaning.

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) has put in place haze contingency plans for essential services like dengue inspections, waste collection and public cleaning.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan revealed this during his visit to several blocks in the Bukit Panjang Division on Wednesday morning.

He was there to inspect waste collection and dengue wipeout operations.

For dengue inspections, NEA operations will continue with minimal disruptions.

All officers checking public areas will don N95 face masks in accordance with the health advisories issued.

Dengue inspections have remained in a stepped-up mode as the epidemic is still sustained with 842 cases last week and 268 this week.

In the event the haze worsens again and is prolonged, NEA may consider scaling back the hours of outdoor work.

However, indoor checks in homes and application of insecticides will continue.

On waste collection, NEA will reduce refuse collection frequency from daily collection to alternate days.

This is because manpower is expected to suffer a shortfall during severe haze conditions.

As for ensuring public cleanliness, NEA will reduce the cleaning frequency according to the haze condition.

Urgent work such as the cleaning of animal carcasses and spillages will be given priority.

– CNA/xq

via NEA reveals haze contingency plans for essential services – Channel NewsAsia.

HAZE UPDATE: API for 26th June as at 7am

Below are the Air Pollutant Index readings provided by the Department of Environment as at 7am this morning.

STATE AREA TIME
7:00AM
Johor Kota Tinggi 73*
Johor Larkin Lama 66*
Johor Muar 70*
Johor Pasir Gudang 60*
Kedah Alor Setar 57*
Kedah Bakar Arang, Sg. Petani 66*
Kedah Langkawi 50*
Kelantan SMK Tanjung Chat, Kota Bharu 81*
Kelantan Tanah Merah 75*
Melaka Bandaraya Melaka 93*
Melaka Bukit Rambai 111*
Negeri Sembilan Nilai 148*
Negeri Sembilan Port Dickson 105*
Negeri Sembilan Seremban 118*
Pahang Balok Baru, Kuantan 74*
Pahang Indera Mahkota, Kuantan 65*
Pahang Jerantut 82*
Perak Jalan Tasek, Ipoh 99*
Perak Kg. Air Putih, Taiping 78*
Perak S K Jalan Pegoh, Ipoh 118*
Perak Seri Manjung 137*
Perak Tanjung Malim 110*
Perlis Kangar 62*
Pulau Pinang Perai 60*
Pulau Pinang Seberang Jaya 2, Perai 62*
Pulau Pinang USM 62*
Sabah Keningau 54*
Sabah Kota Kinabalu 67*
Sabah Sandakan 55*
Sabah Tawau 39*
Sarawak Bintulu 57*
Sarawak ILP Miri 65*
Sarawak Kapit 44*
Sarawak Kuching 51*
Sarawak Limbang 43*
Sarawak Miri 69*
Sarawak Samarahan 56*
Sarawak Sarikei 63*
Sarawak Sibu 74*
Sarawak Sri Aman 65*
Selangor Banting 114*
Selangor Kuala Selangor 134*
Selangor Pelabuhan Kelang 140*
Selangor Petaling Jaya 111*
Selangor Shah Alam 118*
Terengganu Kemaman 88*
Terengganu Kuala Terengganu 85*
Terengganu Paka 71*
Wilayah Persekutuan Batu Muda,Kuala Lumpur 100*
Wilayah Persekutuan Cheras,Kuala Lumpur 98*
Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan 63*
Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya 112*

API

Status

Areas

%

0-50 Good 4 8%
51-100 Moderate 35 67%
101-200 Unhealthy 13 25%
201-300 Very Unhealthy 0 0%
>301 Hazardous 0 0%

Read more: HAZE UPDATE: API for 26th June as at 7am – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/font-color-red-haze-update-font-api-for-26th-june-as-at-7am-1.307862#ixzz2XHnuJjhB

Health Ministry distributing anti-smog masks

KL24_180613_MIC

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has begun to distribute anti-smog masks to the public as the air quality had declined in Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.

“Masks have been distributed in schools, shopping malls and government offices,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He also added that the ministry had prepared one million masks to be distributed in seriously affected areas.

The masks would also be given out to clinics in these affected areas, he told a press conference here yesterday.

“Although there is a short supply for certain types of masks, generally, there is enough supply for most types of masks,” Dr Subramaniam said.

He added that the ministry would look into cases of shortage at pharmacies.

All 3,000 government clinics nationwide will be monitoring the situation.

On the retail price of masks, Dr Subramaniam said the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry informed his ministry on Monday that the prices were controlled and consumers could lodge reports of over-charging.

Regarding people becoming sick because of the haze, Dr Subramaniam said Johor had a 122% increase in asthmatic cases and 40% increase in upper respiratory tract infections last week.

via Health Ministry distributing anti-smog masks – Nation | The Star Online.

東方新聞 – 綜合醫療探討重新進軍印尼市場

吉隆坡25日讯)综合医疗控股(IHH,5225,主板贸服股)將会探討重新进军印尼市场的机会,但基于这是一个新市场,加上目前处在探索机会的阶段,因此相信仍需要一段时间。

综合医疗控股董事经理林焯彬透露,该集团旗下的百匯班底(Parkway Pantai),早前曾进军印尼医疗市场,尔后在2000年初撤出该市场,並脱售当地的所有资產。儘管如此,综合医疗控股將会重新探討进军印尼医疗市场的可行性。

另外,针对许多外资医疗企业有意进军印尼市场一事,林氏认为,当地密集的人口发展,足以提供相关的发展空间。

「不过,我们对目前所有的市场感到满意,因此是否能进军印尼市场,则取决於能否觅得合適的机会。」林焯彬在股东大会后向媒体这么表示。

中国印度建新医院

此外,综合医疗控股希望可以进一步渗透中国和印度市场,而该集团目前在印度孟买建立一家新医院,料在2014年下半年可以开始投入运作。

而对於其在印度Apollo医院的少数股权,集团管理层尚未作出最终决定,但是综合医疗控股將会以符合集团策略为主要考量,且不排除寻求合適的合作伙伴转换股权。

同时,除了在孟买建立医院外,综合医疗控股也进军印度班加罗尔和新德里的医疗市场。

综合医疗控股有意趋向减少持有资產的发展模式,以减少资本开销內的建筑成本,进而將部份医院以租赁方式经营,以平衡其资產负债表。这包括在大马新增的三家医院,其中在座落在曼绒(Manjong)和亚庇(Kota Kinabalu)的医院为租赁產业,而玛迪尼依斯干达(Medini Iskandar)的医院则属自行建造。

林焯彬亦指集团现有的市场仍有进一步渗透的空间,因此,將会持续扩大现有的医院,如在不同的医院增设床位。

然而,新增的医院將会稀释赚幅,不过林氏认为,投入运作的医院將会减少亏损,相信有助改善赚幅被稀释的效应。

就综合医疗控股在今年首季的业绩表现而言,若成长动力得以持续,相信今年的营业额可维持双位数成长。

暂不设立產业信託

另边厢,林焯彬表示,综合医疗控股暂不考虑设立產业信託单位,这是基於该集团目前有健康的资產负债表,截至3月杪有16亿令吉现金。除非该集团进行收购活动,並涉及融资方面的需求,才会考虑进行產业信託单位。

via 東方新聞 – 綜合醫療探討重新進軍印尼市場.

賣場蔬果農藥超標 3招自保


衛生局稽查員抽驗市售生鮮蔬果,發現「小黃瓜」與「芹菜」均驗出殘留農藥。(圖片提供/新北市衛生局)

市售生鮮果農藥殘留問題嚴重,新北市衛生局公佈5月抽檢結果,15件中有4件驗出農藥殘留超量,其中「惠康」、「松青」、以及「全聯」等知名大賣場,販售的「小黃瓜」與「芹菜」均驗出殘留農藥,除依規定全面下架外,同時並追查屏東、彰化等製造產地,以保障消費者食用安全。

衛生局食品藥物管理科林冠蓁科長指出,此次抽驗市售生鮮蔬果總計15件,其中2件驗出殘留農藥「美氟綜0.03ppm(規定標準:不得檢出)」及「芹菜」驗出殘留農藥「護粒松0.02ppm(規定標準:≦0.01ppm)」。

另外也驗出殘留農藥「克凡派0.10ppm(規定標準:≦0.01ppm)」及「芹菜」驗出殘留農藥「達滅芬0.82ppm(規定標準:≦0.01ppm)」。

殘留農藥對健康影響

「護粒松」及「達滅芬」是殺菌劑,「護粒松」嚴重會出現癲癇、大小便失禁、呼吸降低、失去知覺、「達滅芬」含量極微且其毒性很低,加上達滅芬可經由氧化代謝物而由尿液或糞便排出體外,在我國尚無明確中毒案例報告。

「美氟綜」及「克凡派」則為殺蟲劑,「美氟綜」如為攝食入人體可能造成輕微中毒,加上美氟綜可經由氧化代謝物而由尿液或糞便排出體外,在我國目前亦無中毒案例報告,國外研究也顯示其對健康無明顯影響,「克凡派」進入體內後主要經糞便及尿液排出體外。

清洗蔬果殘餘農藥3小撇步

林冠蓁科長建議民眾,選購蔬果時最好選擇具有良好信譽的商家產品,且食用前應多加清洗、去皮或避免食用根部,來減低農藥的殘留。

1.清水浸泡洗:一般先用清水沖冼掉表面污物,剔除可見有污漬的部分,並且流動水浸泡不少於30分鐘。

2.蔬果清洗劑:必要時可加入果洗劑之類的清洗劑,增加農藥的溶出。如此清洗浸泡2至3次,基本上可清除絕大部分殘留的農藥成分。

3.削皮更安心:對於帶皮的果蔬,如蘋果、梨子、猻猴桃、黃瓜、胡蘿蔔、冬瓜等等,殘留的農藥的外表可以用銳器削去皮層,食用肉質部分,既可口又安全。

via 賣場蔬果農藥超標 3招自保 | 20130625 | 華人健康網.

登革熱境外移入 4年同期新高

衛生署今天表示,登革熱病例持續增加,今年至今共81例境外移入,是近4年同期新高,以探親、相親及旅遊感染為大宗。

衛生署疾病管制局疫情中心主任莊人祥表示,上週本土登革熱確定病例新增9例,境外移入有5例,今年至今共有56例本土及81例境外移入確定病例,累計共137例,是近5年同期最高。

他說,境外移入確定病例中,印尼有36例、泰國17例及其他東南亞國家。確定病例出國目的,探親、相親者占33.3%、旅遊目的占25.9%、經商及工作占17.3%。

本土確定病例方面,他說,屏東新增9例分別是住在春日鄉3例、潮州鎮5例及新園鄉1例,今年累計的56例個案中,屏東縣就有40例、台南市10例、高雄市6例。

他指出,屏東是國人暑期旅遊熱門地區,印象中過去疫情沒有如此嚴重,今年病例增加可能與境外移入有關,因為登革熱潛伏期是3到8天,最長可達14天。

他解釋,潛伏期間內病人血液中存有登革病毒,是病毒最容易傳染時,若感染者在這個時期被斑蚊叮咬,那麼這隻斑蚊將感染登革病毒,病毒在蚊體內經過8到12天增長繁殖,這隻斑蚊就會具有終生傳染病毒能力。

他說,一般來說,會叮人蚊子的壽命約是1個月左右。當蚊子再叮咬其他人時,就會把蚊內的登革病毒傳染給另一個人,讓下一個人在經過3至8天潛伏期,也會發病。

疾管局防疫醫師羅一鈞說,屏東流行的登革熱病毒型別有3種,春日鄉是第一型、潮州鎮第二型、新園鄉以第三型為主;登革病毒共有四型,一旦感染不同型別則會提高登革出血熱風險,致死率高達20%。

via 登革熱境外移入 4年同期新高|新聞速報|中時樂活|中時電子報.

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