Thursday, 5 April 2012

As many as 375 new pathogens have evolved in the last 60 years causing a number of infectious diseases and many of them could be prevented from further mutating by simple techniques like hand washing and good hygiene

Syed Akbar
Bengaluru, April 4: As many as 375  new pathogens have evolved in the
last 60 years causing a number of infectious diseases and many of them
could be prevented from further mutating by simple techniques like
hand washing and good hygiene, according to Prof Genevieve Berger,
eminent scientist and researcher.

Prof Genevieve, who is also the chief of research and development,
Unilever NV, said many of these pathogens are mutants of the existing
bacteria and viruses. "One of the best ways of keeping these pathogens
under check is to follow hygiene. Regular washing of hands with
anti-germ soaps will not only kill these organism but also prevent
them from becoming more stronger and resistant to diseases," she
added.

She was addressing reporters after unveiling a breakthrough technology
in germ protection. The new technology, developed by Indian scientist
Dr Amit Chakraborty, is now used in Lifebuoy clini-care10 the world
over. This is the first major technology in hygiene science to be
developed in the last 100 years. The technology called Active Natural
Shield gives 10 times more protection from germs and infectious
diseases.

Explaining the reason for the emergence of new diseases and pathogens,
Prof Genevieve said with increased travel by people around the world,
human contact has increased. This is leading to emergence of bacteria
and virusus capable of spread from human to human. Many of these
pathogens earlier spread between man and animals.

Dr Amit said his new technology involves a 'carrier' molecule
developed from the pine tree known to man for about 5000 years. This
molecule carries an active agent well inside the colony of germs and
launches an attach from within. The existing technology attacks germs
from outside and this leaves many of them unharmed.

Dr Valerie Curtis, reader in hygiene at the london School of Hygfiene
and Tropical Medicine, said avoiding contact with faeces would help in
protecting people from a variety of diseases including
life-threatening diarrhoeal episodes. "A gram of human faeces contains
more germs than the total human population on the earth. Keep off
shit, if you want to protect yourself from diseases," she pointed out.

Simple hygiene measures like washing hands with anti-bacterial soap
will help in reduction of diarrhaoel incidence by as much as 47 per
cent and respiratory diseases by 23 per cent. "There is a link between
diarrhoea and respiratory tract diseases. Children who suffer from
diarrhoeal diseases are more at risk of contacting respiratory
diseases,' Dr Curtis said.

Prof  KJ Nath, president of president of the Institute of Public
Health Engineers, said India was losing six per cent of the gross
domestic product due to bad sanitary conditions, "Though India has
been doing wonders in industrial, economic and other fields, it is
lagging behind when it comes to human development index. "We need
another 30 years to achieve the millennium development goals," he
added.

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