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Here's the lowdown on Tomato Flu

30/08/2022

A few months ago, we told you about an emerging health threat that was receiving a lot of attention: monkey pox.Today we're here to explain a little more about another health issue that is gaining some traction in the headlines at the moment: Tomato Flu. Called Tomato Flu because of the painful, red blisters it causes that can be as big as a tomato, the likely viral disease has so far impacted more than 100 children in India's Kerala region. According to The Lancet medical journal, Tomato Flu was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala, India on May 6, 2022. The journal further notes that the disease is considered non-life-threatening and resolves on its own in time. Furthermore, The Lancet says that Tomato Flu's primary symptoms observed in infected children resemble those of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus which can cause high fever, rashes, and intense pain in joints. “Transmission is likely to be through close contact,” said Hannah Newman, MPH, director of infection prevention at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “The virus has been named tomato flu on the basis of the red, painful blisters it causes that can mimic the look and size of a tomato,” Newman added. Seeing as Tomato Flu is contagious, there is a significant chance it could spread outside of India. *Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

Long Covid may hinder women's response, recovery from exercise

18/11/2021

While the majority of people who contract COVID-19 recover within 3-4 weeks following infection, there are some who experience lingering symptoms for months afterwards. These symptoms, which can include shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste, brain fog, headaches and fatigue, are referred to collectively as 'long Covid'. Now, research has shown that this so-called long Covid seems to more severely impact women's cardiovascular and lung function than men. According to researchers at Indiana University, Bloomington, women with COVID-19 who had mild-to-moderate illness during the acute phase showed a slower decline in their heart rate after the 6-minute walk test than the participants in the control group. This difference was more pronounced in women actively experiencing long COVID symptoms. Study lead author, Dr. Stephen Carter, a professor at Indiana University, said: “A puzzling feature of post-acute COVID-19 syndrome is the variable presentation of symptoms that appear to be independent of initial illness severity. The present work shows even those with mild-to-moderate initial symptoms can be affected with underlying cardiac-related irregularities with the potential to affect exercise tolerance and/or activities of daily living.” “It’s also plausible that lingering symptoms, particularly muscle/joint pain and/or shortness of breath, may trigger a maladaptive pattern that accelerates systemic deconditioning. However, further research is needed.” The study appears in the journal Experimental Physiology. *Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

WHO lists two additional COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use and COVAX roll-out

16/02/2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday gave two versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine the green light to be used for emergency use, listing them on its Emergency Use Listing (EUL), paving the way for them to be rolled out globally through COVAX. The vaccines are produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India. WHO’s EUL assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and is a prerequisite for COVAX Facility vaccine supply. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines. “Countries with no access to vaccines to date will finally be able to start vaccinating their health workers and populations at risk, contributing to the COVAX Facility’s goal of equitable vaccine distribution,” said Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products. ‘But we must keep up the pressure to meet the needs of priority populations everywhere and facilitate global access. To do that, we need two things – a scale-up of manufacturing capacity, and developers’ early submission of their vaccines for WHO review.” Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine was listed for emergency use by WHO on 31 December 2020.

More than 40 countries ban UK arrivals as new coronavirus variant spreads across south-east England

22/12/2020

More than 40 countries have banned individuals arriving from the United Kingdom due to concerns about a new variant of coronavirus. France shut its border with the UK for 48 hours, which meant no lorries or ferries could leave from Dover. Meanwhile, flights from the UK have either been suspended or are in the process of being suspended to countries across the world, including Belgium, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. The UK’s postal service, Royal Mail, has also temporarily suspended all services to mainland Europe, due to the "current restrictions around air, road, ferry and train movements from the UK". UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron about the situation, saying that both sides wanted to resolve "these problems as fast as possible". The ban on UK arrivals came about after a new strain of coronavirus – which is reportedly 70% more transmissible – has been spreading across London and south-east England. However, health officials have said there is no evidence that this new variant is more deadly or would react differently to vaccines. French Europe Minister Clément Beaune is expected to announce today what measures were being introduced "after this phase of emergency and harsh precaution that we had to take". Any measures, he said, would come into effect from Wednesday. [Related reading: France lifts lockdown, opens borders for Covid-safe countries]

Moderna announces vaccine that it says is 94.5% effective against Covid-19

17/11/2020

Moderna Inc. says its experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in protecting people from Covid-19. The claims are based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial. Moderna is the second US company to announce a Covid-19 vaccine this week, following in the footsteps of Pfizer, whose own vaccine boasts a 90% efficacy rate. The Moderna announcement means that there could be at least two vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States in December.As many as 60 million doses could be available by the end of 2020. Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines are both built using new technology known as messenger RNA or mRNA. Both represent powerful new ways to combat the ongoing pandemic, which has to date infected 54 million people and killed 1.3 million. Both vaccines also come at a time when Covid-19 cases appear to be surging – especially in the US where new cases of the virus are now totaling more than one hundred thousand per day. Unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s does not need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute. This is particularly good news for countries like India with hot climates that would struggle to keep Pfizer’s vaccine at the required -70°C. Speaking about the firm's vaccine, Moderna President Stephen Hoge said: “Assuming we get an emergency use authorization, we'll be ready to ship through Warp Speed almost in hours. So it could start being distributed instantly.”

AstraZeneca halts COVID-19 trial after participant falls ill

10/09/2020

British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca’s large-scale human COVID-19 vaccine trial has been paused after one of the participants developed an unexplained illness. A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said the pause is “routine” and occurred when the firm’s standard review process was triggered. An independent committee will now review safety data pertaining to the trial. AstraZeneca stressed that an adverse reaction was only witnessed in one study participant, and that pausing trials was a common part of the vaccine development process. No details have been released about the nature of the participant’s illness, but it has been reported that the individual is expected to recover. Right now, all trials of the joint AstraZeneca-University of Oxford developed vaccine, AZD1222, have been halted worldwide, including in the United States, UK, Brazil, South Africa, and India. AZD1222 is one of three COVID-19 vaccines in late-stage Phase 3 trials in the United States. AstraZeneca and eight other drug makers have said they will not seek approval from US government regulators for any vaccine until all data showed it was safe and effective. All of the companies, which include Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, GlaxoSmithKline, Novavax Inc, Sanofi and BioNTech, said “the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals” was their top priority.  

Compound found in frog slime destroys flu virus

19/04/2017

A compound found in the slimy mucus from a particular species of frog in India destroys the influenza (flu) virus, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Immunity. Researchers from the Emory Vaccine Centre and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in India say the frog slime destroys the H1 variety of influenza viruses. It's hoped that the discovery will lead to powerful new flu remedies being developed in the future. The frog, called hydrophylax bahuvistara, is a type of fungoid frog which was first discovered in 2015 and lives in the forests of south west India. It has an eye-catching orange stripe down the back of its body. For the study, the researchers collected secretions from the frogs' skin before releasing them back into the wild. They then began analysing the different chemicals found in the slime. They managed to isolate small structures that act as "anti-flu peptides", which were used to successfully vaccinate mice against the swine flu virus (Influenza A of H1). The peptides were found to not only blow up the virus, but also leave healthy tissue intact. Speaking to NBC News, Dr Jacob, senior study author and associate professor in microbiology, said: "This peptide kills the viruses. It kind of blows them up. There's no collateral damage." The team decided to call the flu-destroying compound urumin, after an Indian whip-like sword used in martial arts in the south of India called an urumi.

Smoking causes one in 10 deaths globally, study reveals

11/04/2017

In 2015 alone, 6.4 million deaths worldwide were attributed to smoking, according to a major new study, the results of which were published in The Lancet medical journal. Even more eye-opening is the fact that half of those deaths occurred in just four countries - China, India, USA, and Russia. The study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in the US found a staggering one in 10 deaths globally is caused by smoking, despite decades of tobacco control policies in many countries. Furthermore, mortality rates could rise even more as tobacco companies aggressively target new, emerging markets. Interestingly, the number of people that smoked daily in 2015 was one billion (one in four men and one in 20 women), which is actually a reduction from the one in three men and one in 12 women who did in 1990. However, population growth has meant there were actually more people smoking in 2015 than 1990. "Despite more than half a century of unequivocal evidence of the harmful effects of tobacco on health, today, one in every four men in the world is a daily smoker," said senior author Dr Emmanuela Gakidou. "Smoking remains the second largest risk factor for early death and disability, and so to further reduce its impact we must intensify tobacco control to further reduce smoking prevalence and attributable burden."

FAQs

04/07/2016

Frequently Asked Questions (GENERAL)   ·         Why should I come to France for an operation? W.H.O ranked the French health system no. 1 in the world. In France you can find elite doctors who are some of the best at their practice, for an affordable rate: Experienced and world-renowned surgeons Clinics carefully selected for their state-of-the-art technologies and the best level of care and safety Highly-personalised services Complete and appropriate medical treatment An excellent recovery environment Short waiting times: 7 weeks on average (as of validation of your file) The best value for money In addition there is the fact that France is the most visited country in the world. Why not use your recovery period to spend time with your family to discover France and all its richness: culture, food, architecture, etc.   ·         Why should I put my trust in France-Surgery as opposed to than another facilitator? France-Surgery has more than 20 years of expertise in the French and international medical industry. These decades of experience allows us to keep contact with the best professionals and select only the most suitable health professionals, for the most precise medical or surgical treatments. We have received the Award for Best Medical Travel Agency in London, April 2015 and are the only certified medical facilitators in France.   At France-Surgery all your requests will be dealt with professionally for your peace of mind and that of your loved ones. We subscribe to the rules of best practice enforced for medical tourism, including the selection of partners accredited by the French Department of Health: Clinics and Hospitals offering the highest level of security, evaluated and accredited by the French National Authority for Health (HAS), Elite surgeons and doctors are members of the French Medical Association (Ordre National des Médecins). They participate in scientific development of their specific medical fields which are subject of scientific publications both in France and abroad. France-Surgery is an all-inclusive, one-stop service, our services include: Personalized information and professional advice to help you in making your decision Administrative procedure support Negotiation of preferential rates with clinics and partners Putting you in direct contact with the clinic and the specialist Support and assistance throughout your stay (clinic and post-operative care) from collection on arrival and drop-off Management of transfers, visits, accommodation, catering for patients and their loved ones     Do all the doctors within France-Surgery’s network work on the same campus?    France-Surgery’s extended medical network spans 120 clinics and hospitals all over France.   France-Surgery will put you in direct contact with any of our 1500 recommended specialists and surgeons.  It is the patient who usually gets to choose which French city would please them most.   All hospitals within our network are renowned for their excellence. Partners within our network are in located dynamic cities that also have a wealth of culture and activity  - including, Toulon, Bordeaux, Monaco, Béziers, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Marseille.   What types of license and credentials do your doctors have? Our team is composed of several reputable physicians and healthcare professionals with over 20 years of experience in the French medical sector. Aside from the obligatory and rigorously strict national qualifications, France Surgery recommended surgeons and doctors are elite members of the French Medical Association (Ordre National des Médecins).  They participate in scientific development of their specific medical fields, which are the subject of scientific publications both in France and abroad. Many of our doctors teach their peers at hospitals around the globe (eg. In USA, India, the UK) the newest techniques which have been developed within their specific field. What training and licensing do French nurses, pharmacists, imaging technicians and lab technicians receive?   French nurses, pharmacists, imaging technicians and lab technicians of go through rigorous, high quality training in order to pass examinations so as to obtain licenses to practice in France.  Nurses are re-certified every few years. Furthermore, intensive care nurses must receive higher training in specialized areas.   What is the rate of infection in France?   Out of the millions of patients treated at French hospitals each year, the rate of infection is less than 7%. This very low rate is because there is an extremely strict and thorough national infection control programme, which is re-evaluated every 4 years; in order to reduce hospital acquired infections in France. Under French law, clinics and hospitals have to collect data for this 4 yearly evaluation, data that includes (but is not limited to): - Yearly consumption of antiseptic hand-wash products for 1000 hospital days, - Incidence rates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, - Incidence rates of surgical site infections, - Monitoring antibiotic consumption. This information is then required by law to be made available to the public.   The objective is to constantly strengthen and monitor infection control and to improve the quality of care provided in health care institutions.   How do the international patients communicate with doctors and medical staff?   English is widely spoken by most of the doctors within our network. The France Surgery team can also provide French - English (and vice versa) interpretation both linguistically and of documents in situations where it is necessary.     How do I begin / make an appointment?   If you are interested in our offer you can contact France-Surgery directly at (+33) 953 02 03 09 to make an appointment or email us to request a free quotation.   You can also visit our website at www.france-surgery.com where you can then create your medical file in a secure area. This is where where we invite you to specify your pathology and you can upload your medical history and fill in the pre-diagnostic questionnaire intended for the surgeon or doctor on this highly secure eHealth platform.   Then you will be invited to pay the €50 administrative charges, which will be directly credited to your travel account. The eHealth platform secure area will allow: You to transmit your medical file directly to your doctor The surgeon or doctor can contact you directly You can discuss with your doctor or surgeon, the diagnosis and the organization of your future treatment. When you fly back home, you have the ability to send X-rays or other examination documents, for a more thorough post-surgery follow-up. The definitive cost of your treatment will be determined by the healthcare team, after the analysis of your medical file and the first meeting by telephone or videoconference.     How would you recommend the most suitable doctor?   If you request it, we can make a recommendation for you based on your pathology, the medical information you provide us, your desired city, and the appointment date. Otherwise we will send you profiles of doctors of which you can choose.   ·         How do I organize my stay? Once your medical file has been validated, the France-Surgery team will take over, through your secure area, to assist you in organizing your trip: administrative assistance, travel bookings, etc. Our team will contact you to discuss the organization of your travel as well as for the persons accompanying you, and will make proposals corresponding to your wishes and your budget. All your tickets, vouchers, reservations, information, etc. will be sent via this area.     Does France-Surgery make accommodations for the patient’s family members or friends etc.? Should you and your loved ones consider staying at a near-by hotel, France-Surgery would be happy to help you with reservations at hotels near to your clinic. Generally (for a small fee) one relative may accompany a patient in the single rooms at the hospital.  * It is highly recommend that patients travel with a family member or loved one with whom they are comfortable sharing a high level of privacy. *   Are there fun activities we may participate in outside of the hospital stays and appointments?   Based on the type of surgery you have received, your interests and your doctor’s prescription, France-Surgery can help you and your accompanying loved ones find cultural activities (festivals, museums etc) that are available in the city of your surgery. Other wise, each city in France has its own official website. For suggestions of activities happening in your city at the time of your surgery, you may also visit your cities website (eg. Cannes.com), Which will detail the calendar of events happening in that specific city all year. ·         How is the post-operative follow-up organized? After your procedure and during the recovery period in France, your surgeon may wish to see you again (once or twice) for post-operative consultations. During this time, a nurse will provide necessary care, e.g. changing dressings, medications, etc. directly at the hotel where you may be recovering.   When you return home, your surgeon will remain in contact with you by telephone if necessary, and may even contact your general practitioner to make sure your recovery is going well.   Two new check-ups by your French surgeon will take place at the 2-month mark and at the 6-month mark, by exchanging of X-rays/Images and other examinations through your secure area on the France-Surgery’s eHealth platform (login to your account at france-surgery.com)   Should the recovery be unsatisfactory, the surgeon will indicate to you the procedure to follow, and will consider a possible return for another procedure.  In this case, all healthcare costs (consultation and procedure by the surgeon as well as the recovery stay) will be at the expense of the surgeon and clinic. Transport expenses remain the responsibility of the patient. Do you have a pick-up service and drop off service for the airport? Yes! Based on the patient plan you have selected, France-Surgery can pick you up at the airport, and at the end of your trip ensure your safe and timely arrival at the airport for your flight.  Please provide us with your flight arrival time and patient information, prior to your travel date. Additional service charges may apply.     Where is France-Surgery located and what is nearby?   Our offices are located in Toulouse (south-west) France, which has the affectionate nickname ‘la ville rose’ (the pink city) due to the architecture made of pinkish bricks.   Toulouse is conveniently located just a few hours drive from Spain and our international airport provides easy direct access to many major cities including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels and Munich. Toulouse is a stop on the trans-European network of trains, so you can also easily hop on the train for a more scenic trip to any of these cities. Within walking distance of Toulouse city-centre are many of the most popular hotels, embassies, restaurants and major shopping destinations.   For map information click here.   Does France-Surgery offer cost estimates?   Yes, simply to click the "free quote" icon and fill in the questionnaire at www.france-surgery.com to request a quote and inquire about treatment costs. The total in-patient and out-patient cost estimate includes surgical fees, doctor’s fees, lab tests, medicine, and room fees. It also includes (based on the patient plan you have selected) the assistance of France-Surgery. We assist patients with issues such as translation services (both documents and linguistic), transportation logistics, hotel stays, arranging post-surgery follow-ups by nurses at your hotel, post-surgery comfort packs to help with long flights home, guarantees that you can stay in touch with your French doctor even after you arrive back to your home country. Can my medical costs be covered?   It all depends on the health system of your country. If you are from a country within the European Union, after your treatment stay, you will be given an invoice in English. When you return home, this invoice must be sent to the health care received abroad form that has been duly filled in – this form is available from your health insurance fund – which you send to your insurance company to obtain reimbursement for the health care.   France-Surgery International tel. no.: +33 953 02 03 09 E-mail: contact@france-for-health-surgery.com   ·         Can I pay in several installments? To make your trip easier, France-Surgery allows payment in 3 installments at no additional charge. ·         What are the administrative procedures to follow? For EU citizens – http://europa.eu/index_fr.htm For non-EU citizens – http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/   We can also support you in the entire administrative process.     What happens should I decide to cancel my procedure?   You have the right to change your mind! If you decide to cancel or postpone your trip, you have up to 15 days in relation to your arrival date, to modify or cancel without charge. After this 15-day period, 100% of the paid amounts will be retained due to late cancellation.   What is the legal recourse to take should something happen during my medical treatment? France Surgery is a medical facilitator; we assist with medical travel and accommodation plans. We furnish information about the best health specialists, hospitals and clinics for specific pathologies and conditions. We do not provide medical services ourselves. Although we use a reasonable level of skill and professionalism in choosing our medical network, France Surgery cannot be held responsible for any errors of the doctors, hospitals / clinics (third parties). In case of medical misconduct by any member of a medical team, the patient is directed to contact the third parties directly. By law all French doctors and clinics have to publicly list the details of their insurance (the number etc should be attached to all invoices). Should something happen during surgery, patients should make note of the insurance contact details of the medical professional or institution. Disclaimer: In terms of liability the medical facilitator (France Surgery) is not legally responsible for the actions of the medical staff.      

New Digital Stethoscope Could Bring Cardiologists and Patients Closer Together

22/09/2015

It was just under 200 years ago that a French physician named Rene Laenneac held a cylinder containing a rolled up piece of paper to a patient’s chest so that he could hear their heartbeat more clearly. It may have been a crude device, but it worked and the modern stethoscope was born. Even today the stethoscope remains a common instrument in a medical practitioner’s bag and it’s become synonymous with doctors the world over. But despite its essential role, the stethoscope has changed much over the years. Until now… That’s because Eko Devices, a Silicon Valley startup, has received approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration for its digital stethoscope. It’s a perfect example of how an age-old instrument can be given a new lease of life with the help of modern technology. Called the Eko Core, the digital stethoscope monitors a patient’s heartbeat and sends the results to an iPhone application. The data can then be stored in a cloud-based environment for medical professionals to access at a later date. Not only will it allow them to gain a better understanding of the human heart, but it could also lead to high quality care being provided at a much lower cost. Jason Bellet, the chief operating officer at Eko Devices, said:"If we can bring the expert cardiologists from Johns Hopkins to the patient in rural Nebraska or the rural village in India, that opens up the opportunity to save lives.” Traditionally, cardiologists have needed to be close to patients to hear their heartbeats. With the Eko Core, however, cardiologists can gain access to the sounds made by a patient’s heart even if the two of them are miles apart.   Photo via: Wikipedia

Why Europe is the new Destination for American Healthcare?

07/07/2014

  Medical tourism is on the rise globally and it seems that people residing in the US are amongst the most willing in the world to venture abroad for healthcare purposes. But is it any wonder that Americans are seeking alternative medical solutions in foreign countries? After all, some 38 million people living in the US are doing so without medical insurance. Furthermore, a staggering 120 million Americans have no kind of dental insurance - this leaves them with few options in the US where healthcare services come at a premium It should come as no surprise then that Deloitte reported that approximately 1.6 million US residents travelled abroad for medical care in 2012. However, it is only recently that Americans are increasingly looking to Central Europe for their healthcare needs. Traditionally, US residents looking for affordable, high-quality medical care would travel to countries like Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. This is because of their close proximity to the US. However, with growing demand follows increased prices and these destinations no longer offer the bang for the buck that they used to. Alternatives such as Thailand and India are also becoming more popular destinations with American medical tourists, but Far Eastern countries pose cultural differences and lengthy travel times. Central Europe, however, now seems to be the destination of choice for an increasing number of US citizens looking for affordable medical care abroad – and for good reason! First, central European destinations such as France are closer to the US than Asian countries and so involve less travel time – something that people needing medical treatment often need due to discomfort levels. Second, European culture is very similar to that of the US and so Americans often feel more at home in European cities. Countries where English is a definite second language appeal far more to Americans Third, European healthcare is on a par with the US, yet doesn’t have the long wait times. This last factor is particularly important for a lot of patients as long waiting times can see a medical condition worsen. Also, some patients are already at the point where they’re in pain and in need of medical relief right away. Lastly, travelling to Europe is appealing for US citizens because it gives them the chance to walk in their forefather’s footsteps and visit historic sites like Normandy. This recent article on the Medical Tourism Magazine website is testimony enough to the benefits afforded by Americans who choose to have surgical procedures undertaken in Europe. Bruce Ryan travelled from California to France for rotator cuff surgery on his shoulder. His entire 21-day trip with his wife included his post-op recovery and aftercare. Furthermore, the couple realised many sight-seeing opportunities whilst in France. But, probably most amazing of all, is that the entire experience cost just $16,000. That represents a 50% saving on the same surgical procedure in the United States. It’s safe to say that Europe is fast-becoming the new destination for American Healthcare and with good reason.

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