New Blog Section: Environmental Issues
I am pleased to announce that we are adding a new section to our JIDC Blog, called Environmental Issues. This section will deal with problems that are affecting the environment such as floods, droughts, insects, and pollution. We encourage readers to contact us about problems affecting their local environment. As environmental problems usually affect health, it is important to report on these issues.
Millipedes in Kashmir
Our first post comes from Dr. S. Manzoor Kadri, an Epidemiologist from Kashmir Province, JK, India. He writes about the significant population increase of multisegmented insects in his region, specifically in his local water supply. The JIDC entamologist Ignazio Floris, professor of Entomology, Agriculture Faculty, University of Sassari, has reviewed his report and concluded these insects to be millipedes, which are arthropods that feed on decaying plant matter. A good write up on millipedes can be found from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Ignazio Floris described millipedes for us as being insects with a multisegmented cylindrical body, where a pair of legs usually belong to each segment of which there are many varieties. Millipedes are usually harmless, although some tropical varieties have been shown to injure humans.
The deleterious effects of Millipedes
In addition to destroying agricultural crops, the millipede can also cause painful bites to humans. Along the millipede’s body segments are numerous ‘repugnatorial’ glands, where the secretions from these glands have been shown to be harmful to humans. The millipedes which can cause harmful affects to humans mostly arise from tropical and subtropical zones, where giant species have been found (youtube video on giant African millipede). Specifically, millipedes have been known to bite humans and cause much pain due to local erythema and oedema, which can last over several hours. Systemic symptoms can also arise from the painful bites which include nausea, dizziness and pyrexia.
Below is the Environmental Postcard from Dr. SM Kadri.
POSTCARD ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE: Story of Insects from Marrhama Block Trehgam District Kupwara , Kashmir , India: Is it a public health problem?
Insects have been found in Marrhama, a village in Blok Trehgam in the District of Kupwara Jammu and Kashmir, India. The main water source used for drinking purposes is badly affected by the insects.
Health Professionals along with a Block Medical Officer, visited the village, which is about 20 km away from District Head Quarter Kupwara. The area is mostly surrounded by forests and hills, and the population of the affected village Marrhama is about 3500.
The people of the area are very poor subsitance farmers who possess little land.
A local resident told the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) Team that he had seen a large number of the same kind of insects in the forest one month previously, creeping from the jungle area towards the village .
Morphology of Insects
The insects are white in colour, approximately 1 inch long, and each insect has 40 pairs of legs. During its visit, the IDSP Team observed that the insects were found mostly in moist rather than in hot, dry areas. The team must now determine the extent of the public health problem that is posed by the presence of the insects and the safety of the local drinking water.
More pictures of the Insects can be found here in PDF format: Insects_seen_in_the_affected_area_of_District_Kupwara
Tasks and Challenges? Is it a public health problem? Is the water safe for drinking?
Surveillance Team Members
- Dr SM Kadri, Epidemiologist Kashmir, India
- Dr Masarat Iqbal Wani , Block Medical Officer Kupwara, India
- Mr. Najmusaqib Shah, Data Manager IDSP, Kupwara India
This report was possible due to the dynamic leadership of Dr. Saleem ur Rehman, Director of Health Services, Kashmir, India.
SM Kadri Bio
Syed Manzoor Kadri, MB, MPH/ICHD (Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is working as an epidemiologist in Kashmir, India. Dr.Kadri is the State Nodal officer for NCD (Non Communicable Diseases) for Jammu & Kashmir, India. He is associated with Public Health Foundation of India as an Observer /Advisor for EBDM (Evidence Based Diabetes Management). As well, he is the State Surveillance Officer for Disease Control for CD/NCDs. Dr. Kadri trains medical doctors and paramedics in the upcoming theoretics of diseases, awareness regarding HIV/AIDS, reproductive and child health, and disease surveillance. His research interests include the diagnosis and treatment of infectious disease. Dr. Kadri is Editor-in-Chief for International Journal of Med and PH www.ijmedph.org and Executive Editor for Indian J for Practicing Doctor http://ijpd.indmedica.com . He is a fellow of World Health Organization where he completed FETP.
Post and Bio submitted by SM Kadri