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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ebola Viral Hemorrhagic Disease Outbreak in West Africa- Lessons from Uganda - African Health Sciences Vol.14 No.3

Today we are featuring African Health Sciences vol. 14 no. 3.

This issue includes "Ebola Viral Hemorrhagic Disease Outbreak in West Africa- Lessons from Uganda" by Mbonye et al. Since March of 2014, the Ebola viral hemorrhagic disease has been rapidly spreading throughout Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, West Africa. The purpose of this study is to generate a better overall understanding of the disease and to further prevent contraction by comparing and contrasting this large-scale outbreak to similar outbreaks that occurred in Uganda. It is suggested that the reason for the rapid spread of Ebola in West Africa is because of the lack of understanding of the epidemic within the communities, as well as a lack of experience of healthcare workers in treating this deadly virus. The main objective of this article is to share the Uganda's experience in containing and treating Ebola in hopes lessons can be learned within West Africa. 

What was learned about Ebola viral hemorrhagic disease in Uganda was that the overall success in containing this virus was due to strong political support, effective coordination through both national, and district task forces. In addition to strong political support, success was due to a strong and active community support system, efficient resources within the community, and strong support from development partners who shared responsibility in committing the resources needed.

In summary, West African countries that are experiencing outbreaks can learn and take from Uganda's experiences in hopes of proper and effective treatment. 

For this article and others from this issue, click here.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Availability in the U.S. of "Reproductive Health Challenges in Africa", edited by African Journal of Reproductive Health's Editor-in-Chief Friday Okonofua

"Reproductive Health Challenges in Africa" is a textbook for practitioners and students in the reproductive health sector. It is edited by the editor-in-chief of African Journal of Reproductive Health, Friday Okonofua and was released at the end of September. If you are interested in purchasing the textbook, it is available in the U.S. from BrownWalker Press. You can contact them at this address, email and phone number to order your copy:

BrownWalker Press
23331 Water Circle
Boca Raton, Florida, 33486, USA

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hydrogen peroxide and thiourea both effect hormone regulation and antioxidant enzymes in microtubers and tubers -- African Crop Science Vol.21 No.3

Today we are featuring African Crop Science vol.21 no.3.

This issue includes "Estimates of Genetic Parameters for Quality of Wheat Cultivars Grown in Lesotho" by Morojele & Labuschagne, which explores different genotypes of wheat grown in Lesotho. The quality of wheat of five parents, F1 and F2 progeny, was examined. Among the characteristics examined were break flour yield, flour protein content, kernel weight, kernel diameter and kernel hardness. Broad heritability was found to be high for all characteristics of F1 and F2 progeny. The results indicated that the characteristic of kernel hardness, particularly in the F1 progeny showed the highest prediction ratio. The study concluded that genetic variability is evident in wheat cultivars and could be used to improve wheat quality in Lesotho.

This issue also includes "Effect of Hydrogen Peroxide and Thiourea on Dormancy Breaking of Microtubers and Field-Grown Tubers of Potato" by Mani et al. This article examines the effects of hydrogen peroxide on potato (Solanum tuberosum) microtubers. Because potato microtubers have a dormant apical bud, they do not necessarily flourish even in appropriate environmental conditions. In this study, hydrogen peroxide is used by applying directly or indirectly thiourea, a catalase inhibitor, to test the dormancy release and sprouting of potato microtubers. The first step of involved looking at the percentage of microtubers that had sprouted that were planted in peat and grown in greenhouses after hydrogen peroxide and thiourea were applied in various dosages. The percentage of sprouted microtubers with time was examined with field-grown microtubers during storage, after hydrogen peroxide and thiourea were applied. The results indicated that 20 mM applications of hydrogen peroxide had a rapid and synchronous sprouting effect on microtubers, while 40 mM and 60 mM applications caused asynchronous sprouting. The results also indicated that thiourea applications of 250 mM increased sprouting of microtubers and was effective at reducing the dormancy period. For field-grown tubers, sprouting was most stimulated 60 mM of hydrogen peroxide was applied to tubers, and 250 mM of thiourea also caused maximum sprouting and better sprouting capacity of tubers. The study concluded that hydrogen peroxide and thiourea both have an effect on hormone regulation and antioxidant enzymes, affecting dormancy in both microtubers and tubers.

For the complete results of these studies and other studies from this issue, click here.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever Among Hospitalised Children and Adolescents in Nothern Uganda: Epidemiologic and Clinical Observations -- African Health Sciences Vol.1 No.2

Today we are featuring African Health Sciences vol.1 no.2, which includes "Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever Among Hospitalised Children and Adolescents in Nothern Uganda: Epidemiologic and Clinical Observations" by Mupere et al. For the first time, on October 8th, 2000, an unusual outbreak occurred within the region of Gulu, Northern Uganda--Ebola haemorrhagic fever. Although in recent months outbreaks have had wide spread effects throughout Africa--with scientific studies on this illness increasing at a great scale--the authors of this journal first began this study years prior. 

The objectives were to understand and describe the epidemiological and clinical aspects of hospitalized children and adolescents on the isolation wards. The method used in this study was a retrospective descriptive survey of hospital records of children and adolescents under 18 years old in isolation wards in Gulu, Northern Uganda, with all patient test notes consecutively reviewed. 

The results of this study are incredibly intriguing: analyses revealed that 90 out of the 218 national laboratory confirmed cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever were children and adolescents with an overall fatality rate of 40%. The average age of patients was 8.2 years old and the youngest child held within the isolation ward was 3 years old. The under five age group contributed to the highest admission among both children and adolescents, as well as the sum of all case fatalities due to the close and prolonged exposure to the seropositive relatives also being treated. All 100% of the children and adolescents being treated within the ward were having or showing significant signs of fever, yet only 16% had haemorrhagic manifestations. 

In summary, as seen in the case of previous Ebola outbreaks, there was a higher than average risk associated with children five and under of either getting substantially sick or dying. It is suggested that in the event of a future Ebola outbreak, children be sheltered by the relatives that have been positively identified of contracting Ebola, as well as extensive focus being on educating children and adolescents on the dangers associated with close contact with the sick. 

For these articles and others from this issue, click here 

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rice production in Ghana produced more N2O than CO2 -- African Crop Science Vol.21 No.2

Today we are featuring African Crop Science vol.21 no.2, the second post in a series of posts we are doing on African Crop Science.

This issue features articles such as "Greenhouse Gaseous Emission and Energy Analysis in Rice Production Systems in Ghana" by Eshun et al. Because Africa is trying to increase its agricultural productivity, the need to examine what greenhouse gases are emitted and its energy-efficiency has grown. Little research has been done on the environmental impacts of rice production and how the management and system of rice production could be improved to be more environmentally friendly. For this study, rice (Oryza sativa) production in Ghana is analyzed. Greenhouse gas emissions and energy impacts were measured. The results indicated that rice production in Ghana produced more N2O than the other two main greenhouse gases, followed by CO2. During rice production, approximately 477 kg of CO2-equivalents of greenhouse gases were emitted. The amount of greenhouse gases measured during different stages of production had varied emitted amounts, depending on the stage that was being recorded. In this study, fertilizer application produced 72% of greenhouse gases, while transportation to mills produced 10% of greenhouse gases.

This issue also includes "Markets and Rural Services As Determinants of Improved Seeds Usage by Crop Farmers in Osun State, Nigeria" by Adejobi & Kassali. This study aims to uncover how markets and rural services affect the use of better seeds by farmers. The study was conducted in Osun State in Nigeria, where 270 farming households were surveyed using the multistage sampling technique. The results indicated that accessibility to market information and socio-economic characteristics of farmers were among factors influencing the use of improved seeds.

For these articles and other articles from this issue, click here.

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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Occupational risk factors for HIV infection among traditional birth attendants in Copperbelt province, Zambia

Today we are featuring African Journal of Health Sciences vol.17 no. 3-4, which includes "Occupational risk factors for HIV infection among traditional birth attendants in Copperbelt province, Zambia" by Siziya, Seter & Hazemba, Alice. 

In this issue, a cross sectional survey was conducted among traditional birth attendants (TBA) in order to determine overall occupational health risks associated with HIV infection. A sum of 370 individual TBAs were recruited for the study. 67 (18.1%) of the individuals were trained and the median age of all individuals was 50 years old. One of the key issues was the use of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for initial birth of the babies, which was reported by 22 (6.0%) of the 365 TBAs. Additionally, a total of 220 (59.6%) TBAs reported washing their hands with soap and water after contact with mothers and babies after the deliveries. Only 42 (11.5%) birth attendants used gloves all of the time when in contact with mothers and their babies. 

In summary, a total of 44 out of the 370 (11.9%) traditional birthing attendants tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). After adjusting for age, attendants who used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation were 6.02 (95%CI 1.97, 18.42) times likely to contract HIV than attendants who did not use this method of resuscitating the newborn babies. To conclude, the study suggests that the precautions for universal protection against the contraction of HIV was poor and that the use of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation of newborns should be highly discouraged. 

For this article and others from this issue, click here.

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Environmental distribution and health impacts of As and Pb in crops and soils near Vinto smelter, Oruro, Bolivia.

Today, we are featuring Vol. 11, No 4 of the International Journal of Environment Science and Technology, which includes "Environmental distribution and health impacts of As and Pb in crops and soils near Vinto smelter, Oruro, Bolivia" by Rötting et al. 

The Vinto Sb- Sn smelter in Oruro, Bolivia has been linked to arsenic and heavy metal pollution in air, soils, the residual waters, and has been found in the hair and urine of local workers who reside there. However, tests have not been carried out on an individual basis on crop concentration. For this reason, Rötting et al. examine this issue through this study. 

Alfalfa, onions, and carrots (separated into roots and shoots) were analyzed, as well as corresponding samples to determine a measurement of As and Pb. The study was conducted to gain better insight as to the environmental distribution and potential health impacts of these toxic elements, as well as to compare them to other measurements taken from other sites around the world. The resulting measurements of both As and Pb taken from the samples indicated that the concentration exceeded FAO/WHO, UK or Chilean limits by 1.5–2 orders of magnitude. In addition, the health risk indices when measuring carrots were 286, and a high measurement of 651 was found in onions, showing that there was an extremely high potential health risk when consumed. Both As and Pb soil- plant transfer factors are similar to other contaminated sites around the world, however, the daily intake and health risk index is greatly higher in the Vinto area. This is because of the very high concentrations of As found within the soil. 

Arsenic and lead concentrations suggests there are increasing trends toward VMC. In future surveys, greater numbers of soil and crops should be analyzed to determine overall health impacts associated with As and Pb soil and crops pollution. Additionally, analyses should be carried out to determine anthropogenic and geogenic sources of As and Pb found within the soils and crops in this area.  

For these articles and more from this issue, click here.


Friday, October 03, 2014

Production of enzymes from Lichtheimia ramosa using Brazilian savannah fruit wastes as substrate on solid state bioprocessess.

Today we are featuring Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 16, No. 5, 2013, which includes "Production of enzymes from Lichtheimia ramosa using Brazilian savannah fruit wastes as substrate on solid state bioprocessess" by de Andrade Silva et al. 

The aim of this study is to evaluate the physiology of the fungus Lichtheimia ramosa to determine the microbial growth, and overall production of amylases, B-glucosidases, carboxymethylcellulase, xylanases by means of employing and utilizing waste. The waste is found from the Brazilian savannah fruits bocaiuva, guavira, and the pequi and used as substrate prepared at different temperatures ranging from 25ºC, 30ºC, and 35ºC, during a period of 168 hours. Samples were taken every 24 hours, with results varying. 

Overall, the best substrate for B-glucosidases activity was that of the pequi substrate prepared at 30ºC and left for 46 hours. The most suitable substrate for amylase activity was that of bocaiuva substrate prepared at a temperature of 30ºC for 96 hours. Carboxymethylcellulase activity (or CMCase for short)was relatively higher in the guavira substrate after 96 hours at a temperature of 35ºC. 

Overall, however, the activity of growth and production that was most expressive came from xylanase in substrate composed of bocaiuva residue after 144 hours, at a prepared temperature of 35ºC. In summary, it can be concluded that the best growth conditions of the L. Ramosa fungus seen in the substrates used, is at a temperature of 35ºC and that the xylanase enzyme has the most potential in solid state bioprocesses. 

For this article and others from this issue, click here
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