A New South Wales naturopath allegedly put a breastfeeding mother on a raw food diet to cure her baby’s eczema before putting her on a water only diet.
Marilyn Pauline Bodnar, who runs the the Health and Vitality Centre from her Leppington home, pleaded not guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm to the eight-month-old and failing to provide for a child causing danger of death at Fairfield Local Court yesterday, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The baby’s mother has been charged with the same offences but is yet to enter a plea.
From February to April last year Bodnar, 59, treated the mother, who came to her to help cure her newborn son of eczema.
She allegedly convinced the mother, who cannot be identified, that the only way to help the baby was to adopt a diet of raw vegetables, fruit and seeds.
The court heard the mother was “intimidated by the accused” and made to feel guilty for using steroid creams to treat the eczema “as it was best to use nothing to allow the skin to breathe”.
Bodnar allegedly told the mother “Are you 100 per cent raw? You have to be 100 per cent raw if you want to see your son heal.”
Police allege that when the baby developed a fever Bodnar told the mother to adopt a water only diet, telling her that her baby would not get better if she ate.
When the child was six months old his mother asked Bodnar if she could feed him vegetable puree but the naturopath allegedly advised her to put raw food in a net and let the infant suck it.
Bodnar is also accused of telling the mother to feed the child goat milk.
When the child vomited it up Bodnar allegedly told the mother it was good because it eliminated the toxins that caused the eczema.
After a week of vomiting the mother took the baby to a doctor who advised her to get the infant to hospital immediately
When the baby was admitted to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead he weighed 6.39kg, placing him in the zero percentile for baby boys his age.
Before the diet the baby was developing normally and reaching his milestones, the court heard.
The baby has been removed from his mother’s care.
Bodnar is on bail but has been banned from treating anyone under 16.
Doctors in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia know it as a stubborn, potentially deadly infection that causes pneumonia, abscesses and, in the most severe cases, organ failure. Without treatment it can kill within 48 hours. Military officials worry it could be converted into an agent of terror.
But for decades, melioidosis seems to have lurked under the radar of global public health organizations. “For everybody, it was a disease of southeastern Asia and Australia,” says Dr. Eric Bertherat of the World Health Organization. “But we are discovering that this disease is present in many other regions worldwide.”
A new study published Monday in Nature Microbiology says the bacterium causing melioidosis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, is living in the soil and water of 45 countries and is likely spread throughout another 34 countries, all wrapped around the tropics. “[The work] demonstrates the potential burden of this disease is much bigger than what everybody expected,” Bertherat says. “165,000 cases a year. It’s a big burden, equivalent to rabies, and that’s a severe disease.”
And the death rate can be high — “up to 70 percent,” says Bertherat. The study estimates there are about 90,000 deaths each year from melioidosis, roughly the same as measles and several times that of dengue.
For doctors in areas where the disease has long been common, the numbers are a grim confirmation of old suspicions. “For us, we think it’s a reasonable number. In northeast Thailand, I see 2-3 patients die of this during the rainy season every day,” says Dr. Direk Limmathurotsakul, a microbiologist with the University of Oxford and Mahidol University in Bangkok and lead author on the study. “When I went to Indonesia, every lab we looked, we found this disease. We feel this is a minimum number.”
The disease has probably been killing people in these countries for years, but it’s often missed, says Dr. Bart Currie, a microbiologist at Menzies School of Health Research in Australia who did not work on the study. Because the symptoms are so nonspecific, abscesses and fever and sepsis can all occur in other bacterial infections, melioidosis earned the moniker “the Great Mimicker.” “This very potentially dangerous bacterium is even harder to diagnose than the standard bacterium,” Currie says.
Misdiagnosis is a common problem in areas where the disease is not well-known — and can be fatal, says Limmathurotsakul. “It’s worrying for areas outside of our research center [in northeastern Thailand]. And we know that’s happening in many emerging areas – like India, Brazil, Indonesia,” he says.
pseudomallei is naturally resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics. With good supporting care and access to proper medications, fatalities drop to around 1 in 10, and most healthy adults are able to survive an infection with good care. Otherwise, death sets in quickly. “There are many who have been treated with ineffective antibiotics for a period, says Limmathurotsakul. But by the time the disease is confirmed as melioidosis, he notes, “most of the time, the patient has already passed away.”
However, new archaeological research has revealed that — for all their apparently hygienic innovations — intestinal parasites such as whipworm, roundworm and Entamoeba histolytica dysentery did not decrease as expected in Roman times compared with the preceding Iron Age, they gradually increased.
The latest research was conducted by Dr Piers Mitchell from Cambridge’s Archaeology and Anthropology Department and is published in the journal Parasitology. The study is the first to use the archaeological evidence for parasites in Roman times to assess “the health consequences of conquering an empire.”
Dr Piers Mitchell brought together evidence of parasites in ancient latrines, human burials and ‘coprolites’ — or fossilised faeces — as well as in combs and textiles from numerous Roman Period excavations across the Roman Empire.
Not only did certain intestinal parasites appear to increase in prevalence with the coming of the Romans, but Mitchell also found that, despite their famous culture of regular bathing, ‘ectoparasites’ such as lice and fleas were just as widespread among Romans as in Viking and medieval populations, where bathing was not widely practiced.
Some excavations revealed evidence for special combs to strip lice from hair, and delousing may have been a daily routine for many people living across the Roman Empire
Piers Mitchell said: “Modern research has shown that toilets, clean drinking water and removing faeces from the streets all decrease risk of infectious disease and parasites. So we might expect the prevalence of faecal oral parasites such as whipworm and roundworm to drop in Roman times — yet we find a gradual increase. The question is why?”
One possibility Mitchell offers is that it may have actually been the warm communal waters of the bathhouses that helped spread the parasitic worms. Water was infrequently changed in some baths, and a scum would build on the surface from human dirt and cosmetics. “Clearly, not all Roman baths were as clean as they might have been,” said Mitchell.
Another possible explanation raised in the study is the Roman use of human excrement as a crop fertilizer. While modern research has shown this does increase crop yields, unless the faeces are composted for many months before being added to the fields, it can result in the spread of parasite eggs that can survive in the grown plants.
“It is possible that sanitation laws requiring the removal of faeces from the streets actually led to reinfection of the population as the waste was often used to fertilise crops planted in farms surrounding the towns,” said Mitchell.
The study found fish tapeworm eggs to be surprisingly widespread in the Roman Period compared to Bronze and Iron Age Europe. One possibility Mitchell suggests for the rise in fish tapeworm is the Roman love of a sauce called garum.
Made from pieces of fish, herbs, salt and flavourings, garum was used as both a culinary ingredient and a medicine. This sauce was not cooked, but allowed to ferment in the sun. Garum was traded right across the empire, and may have acted as the “vector” for fish tapeworm, says Mitchell.
“The manufacture of fish sauce and its trade across the empire in sealed jars would have allowed the spread of the fish tapeworm parasite from endemic areas of northern Europe to all people across the empire. This appears to be a good example of the negative health consequences of conquering an empire,” he said.
The study shows a range of parasites infected people living in the Roman Empire, but did they try to treat these infections medically? While Mitchell says care must be taken when relating ancient texts to modern disease diagnoses, some researchers have suggested that intestinal worms described by Roman medical practitioner Galen (130AD — 210AD) may include roundworm, pinworm and a species of tapeworm.
Galen believed these parasites were formed from spontaneous generation in putrefied matter under the effect of heat. He recommended treatment through modified diet, bloodletting, and medicines believed to have a cooling and drying effect, in an effort to restore balance to the ‘four humours’: black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm.
Added Mitchell: “This latest research on the prevalence of ancient parasites suggests that Roman toilets, sewers and sanitation laws had no clear benefit to public health. The widespread nature of both intestinal parasites and ectoparasites such as lice also suggests that Roman public baths surprisingly gave no clear health benefit either.”
“It seems likely that while Roman sanitation may not have made people any healthier, they would probably have smelt better.
Kaieteur News reports that at least one person has died and 60 sick suffering from symptoms consistent with gastroenteritis. This is according to information filtered to the Ministry of Public Health to the Government Informationgastro Agency (GINA), which suggests that at least 60 individuals have sought care at the Baramita Health Centre manifesting symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.
It was in fact mounting cases of vomiting and diarrhoea that caused the Ministry to commence a close monitoring process of the indigenous locale.
The Region One area had an outbreak of gastro-enteritis infection in the past resulting in the deaths of a few children.
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, on Thursday evening recalled, “Some years ago, right in Parliament here, Mr. (David) Granger moved a motion for an investigation on the Commission of Inquiry into deaths in the North West district, particularly the Port Kaituma area, of children dying of gastro-enteritis. For some reason or the other there (has) been a closing off of the media, in terms of providing the public with information about that situation.
“We want to do it differently. We want to be the first to let the media know that we are on top of the situation that has existed, not in Port Kaituma now, but in the village of Baramita,” Minister Norton said.
Baramita, which has a population of about 3,000 and 20 satellite villages, has one Health Center, which is manned by a Community Health Worker, a Medic and a Doctor.
But, according to Minister Norton, the situation is under control. He however noted that the issue is of great concern to the Ministry, and therefore a team of officials will be deployed to the area to educate the residents about the illness and measures they can take to avoid it.
But there are some challenges in accessing some of the satellite villages, Minister Norton has admitted since these areas are only accessible by All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).
Minister Norton also said that another challenge in addressing the outbreak has been found to be that “the population is not cooperating.”
“They don’t want to use the bleach in the water or the tablets that we’re using in the water because they said it tastes bad. Secondly, they’re not carrying through with the medications we’re giving them to use, and they are not all attending the clinics even though the clinics are there, available for them. So we’re running into some difficulties there. But the situation has improved from what it was from the beginning,” Minister Norton explained.
In 2013, there was an outbreak in the North West District area, where a total of 529 residents from Port Kaituma and surrounding communities were infected, most of whom were children. There were three reported deaths. Prior to that, there was an outbreak in 2009 and six residents died.
Two years ago, they were worried the proposed water quality provisions in FDA’s originally proposed produced rule could put them out of business. But industry officials said the FDA heard their concerns and re-wrote the rule in a way that onion growers are OK with.
To go from a rule that would have seriously impacted the economics of the onion industry “to a rule that’s livable for us and allows us to stay in business is a huge victory,” said Kay Riley, chairman of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee.
When FDA first proposed its produce safety rule in 2013, it included water quality standards limiting how much generic E. coli bacteria could be present in agricultural water.
If the water didn’t meet those standards, farmers had to immediately stop using it. Virtually none of the surface water used by onion growers in Eastern Oregon and Southwestern Idaho meets those standards.
The water quality standards still exist in the final rule.
But FDA altered them to allow growers to meet the standards, even if their water exceeds the minimum bacteria levels, if they can show through scientific evidence that bacteria dies off at a certain rate from the last day of irrigation until harvest.
The bulb onions grown in this region are left in the field to dry for a few weeks following harvest. Field trials by Oregon State University researchers have shown these onions will meet the so-called die-off provisions.
“The thing that’s great about it is they actually listened to us,” Riley said. “I would deem it a tremendous victory compared to what it could have been.”
But the final rule still requires farmers to test their water annually, even if they meet the die-off provisions. Onion growers say the testing will be costly and time-consuming and they hope to be able to skip them.
“They are still going to require testing and that’s going to be the hardest thing to deal with,” said Stuart Reitz, an OSU cropping systems extension agent in Ontario. “The final rule is not ideal but it’s not that bad. It’s one onion growers can live with.”
“We don’t really know why everyone is getting sick, but at least a third of the fleet has come down with stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting,” said Australia’s Olympic gold medallist Nathan Outteridge.
Outteridge’s crewmate Iain Jensen was among those hit by the bug.
Outteridge said the water wasn’t clean and recent thunderstorms and rain had pushed filth onto the race course, which most sailors hadn’t expected in Argentina.
“In Rio everyone knows it’s dirty and takes precautions accordingly and looks after themselves, whereas here everyone gets told it’s just muddy water, but there’s a lot of filth in there as well,” he said.
With one more day of racing before the fleet splits for the men’s skiff 49er finals series, Outteridge and Jensen sit 17th, while Joel Turner and Lewis Brake are in 23rd.
David Gilmour and Rhys Mara follow in 27th, and Will and Sam Phillips are ranked 28th.
Although the magnitude of drinking water-related illnesses in developed countries is lower than that observed in developing regions of the world, drinking water is still responsible for a proportion of all cases of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) in Canada.
The estimated burden of endemic AGI in Canada is 20·5 million cases annually – this estimate accounts for under-reporting and under-diagnosis. About 4 million of these cases are domestically acquired and foodborne, yet the proportion of waterborne cases is unknown. There is evidence that individuals served by private systems and small community systems may be more at risk of waterborne illness than those served by municipal drinking water systems in Canada. However, little is known regarding the contribution of these systems to the overall drinking water-related AGI burden in Canada.
Private water supplies serve an estimated 12% of the Canadian population, or ~4·1 million people. An estimated 1·4 million (4·1%) people in Canada are served by small groundwater (2·6%) and surface water (1·5%) supplies. The objective of this research is to estimate the number of AGI cases attributable to water consumption from these supplies in Canada using a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) approach. This provides a framework for others to develop burden of waterborne illness estimates for small water supplies. A multi-pathogen QMRA of Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, E. coli O157 and norovirus, chosen as index waterborne pathogens, for various source water and treatment combinations was performed. It is estimated that 103 230 AGI cases per year are due to the presence of these five pathogens in drinking water from private and small community water systems in Canada.
In addition to providing a mechanism to assess the potential burden of AGI attributed to small systems and private well water in Canada, this research supports the use of QMRA as an effective source attribution tool when there is a lack of randomized controlled trial data to evaluate the public health risk of an exposure source. QMRA is also a powerful tool for identifying existing knowledge gaps on the national scale to inform future surveillance and research efforts.
Estimating the burden of acute gastrointestinal illness due to Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, E. coli O157 and norovirus associated with private wells and small water systems in Canada
Epidemiology and Infection, August 2015, pages 1-16, DOI: 10.1017/S0950268815002071
H.M. Murphy, M.K. Thomas, P.J. Schmidt, D.T. Medeiros, S. McFadyen, and K.D.M. Pintar
Guan Zhu and colleagues, from Texas A&M University in College Station, USA, study the parasite’s metabolism during its complicated life-cycle. C. parvum exists both in free stages (where parasites are in the environment or in the host’s digestive tract) and intracellular stages following host cell invasion, during which the parasite occupies a specialized compartment — the parasitophorous vacuole — which is delineated by a host-cell derived border called the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM).
For this study, the researchers focused on lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), an enzyme central to glycolysis. Glycolysis is the only metabolic process by which organisms like C. parvum — that lack functional mitochondria to derive energy from oxygen — can generate ATP, the universal biological energy storage molecule. They found that the C. parvum LDH (CpLDH) protein is found inside the parasite’s cells during the free stages, but is then transferred to the PVM during intracellular development, indicating involvement of the PVM in parasite energy metabolism, and specifically, in lactate fermentation. They also demonstrate that two known LDH inhibitors, gossypol and FX11, can inhibit both CpLDH activity and parasite growth.
The researchers summarize that their observations “not only reveal a new function for the poorly understood PVM structure in hosting the intracellular development of C. parvum, but also suggest LDH as a potential target for developing therapeutics against this opportunistic pathogen, for which fully effective treatments are not yet available”. Acknowledging that the ultimate validation of CpLDH as a drug target requires tools for knockout or knockdown of genes of interest in Cryptosporidium, they say recent advances towards this goal raise hope that such validation will be possible in the near future.
Overall, they conclude that “the present data, together with the fact that C. parvum relies on glycolysis for producing ATP, support the notion that CpLDH is worth exploring as a potential target for the development of anti-cryptosporidial therapeutics.”
One-year-old Cash died in April this year from what’s being called a “brain-eating parasite” that was thriving in the water at Jodi and Laine Keough’s cattle station, near Townsville.
Little is known about the extraordinarily rare disease that led to Cash’s death, but what is known is that he is the third child in central west Queensland to die from it.
And tonight, Australian Story looks at the amoeba that could be lurking in the water at many Australian rural homes.
“It’s rare but it’s deadly,” clinical microbiologist Dr Robert Norton tells the program.
“It’s something that rural Australia needs to be aware of.”
Naegleria fowleri thrives in fresh, warm water more than 25C. It’s caused at least 300 deaths worldwide, and at least 25 in Australia, and causes severe inflammation and brain destruction when contracted through the nose.
Mrs Keough said that’s exactly how her “very happy little boy”, Cash, became infected. She thinks it happened as he played with a garden hose on a hot day.
Because of the parasite’s extreme chlorine tolerance, transmission can occur even in well-maintained treated recreational water venues (e.g. pools) and a focal cryptosporidiosis outbreak can evolve into a community-wide outbreak associated with multiple recreational water venues and settings (e.g. childcare facilities).
In August 2004 in Auglaize County, Ohio, multiple cryptosporidiosis cases were identified and anecdotally linked to pool A. Within 5 days of the first case being reported, pool A was hyperchlorinated to achieve 99·9% Cryptosporidium inactivition. A case-control study was launched to epidemiologically ascertain the outbreak source 11 days later. A total of 150 confirmed and probable cases were identified; the temporal distribution of illness onset was peaked, indicating a point-source exposure. Cryptosporidiosis was significantly associated with swimming in pool A (matched odds ratio 121·7, 95% confidence interval 27·4–∞) but not with another venue or setting.
The findings of this investigation suggest that proactive implementation of control measures, when increased Cryptosporidium transmission is detected but before an outbreak source is epidemiologically ascertained, might prevent a focal cryptosporidiosis outbreak from evolving into a community-wide outbreak.
Preventing community-wide transmission of Cryptosporidium: a proactive public health response to a swimming pool-associated outbreak – Auglaize County, Ohio, USA
Epidemiology and Infection / Volume 143 / Issue 16 / December 2015, pp 3459-3467