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Jul 26, 2013

Webinar - Syndromic surveillance in animal health: public, animal and food safety

IF anyone is interested to participate in a webinar organized by International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) link:

Title: Syndromic surveillance in animal health: public, animal and food safety

Anne Bronner, Anses, Laboratoire de Lyon, Unité Epidémiologie
Céline Dupuy, Anses, Laboratoire de Lyon, Unité Epidémiologie
Jean-Baptiste Perrin, Anses, Laboratoire de Lyon, Unité Epidémiologie
Fernanda Dórea, Swedish Zoonosis Centre, National Veterinary Institute (SVA)

Early detection of diseases in animal populations is key to protecting the health of companion animals and livestock. Safeguarding the health of animals aims at protecting human populations from diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases), guaranteeing the safety of food products, and avoiding economical losses and food supply shortages due to loss of livestock. In this webinar speakers will discuss the current situation of syndromic surveillance in animal health, highlighting the challenges of dealing with animal health data in light of the current development of this field in public health. Examples of successful systems in North America and Europe will be discussed.


Time and date: (duration - 1 and 1/2 hrs)

Local timeTime zoneUTC offset
New York (U.S.A. - New York)Tuesday, 30 July 2013, 10:30:00
UTC-4 hours
Seoul (South Korea)Tuesday, 30 July 2013, 23:30:00
UTC+9 hours
Bhubaneshwar (India - Orissa)Tuesday, 30 July 2013, 20:00:00
UTC+5:30 hours
Kathmandu (Nepal)Tuesday, 30 July 2013, 20:15:00
UTC+5:45 hours
Bangkok (Thailand)Tuesday, 30 July 2013, 21:30:00
UTC+7 hours
Karachi (Pakistan)Tuesday, 30 July 2013, 19:30:00
UTC+5 hours
Yangon (Myanmar)Tuesday, 30 July 2013, 21:00:00
UTC+6:30 hours

Thinking about being a scientist

One fine day, there was a discussion and somebody out of blue raised a question regarding cross-protection between the infections caused by the two serogroups of V. cholerae. For me, uhmm... my neo cortex started getting alert to understand what it means, so I began to ask myself what is this cross protection in its literal meaning? then another question followed, what does it mean in terms of immunological explanation? While the discussion started with facts, opinions and so on, I was struggling to recall my undergraduate basics and make sure that my understainding on biotype, serogroup and serotype is correct before I blurt out "non sense". At this moment, I vividly remembered somebody saying, " hey, if you claim yourself to be a scientist or have a responsibility to carry out duty as a scientist, remember that basics ( in our cases, on V. cholerae) must be at tip of your tongue."  I agree 100 % with what he said. This few anecdotes that I have come across that I remeber and ever since, I have been haunted with 2 questions :
  1. Who are considered a scientist?
  2. What are the qualities that need to be in a scientist?
Now, let us try to explore the first question. Before entering in the field of scientific world, I was of the impression that scientists are supposed to be with thick glass, bald and of course, always in the lab or buried in the pages that is filled with equations or looking into deeper sky or ocean. Now, I am questioning the very notion of understanding, who are scientists? Am I being too skeptical. May be "Yes", may be "Not".  So, I googled this "great" word [great because scientists are considered great people in the society, so the word "scientist"also must be great / strong :)] for it straight forward meaning. First thing first, I came to know this word to be a 'noun" and its meaning as, "A person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences." So, I asked myself, "Do I fulfill the quality to be called as a scientist?" Uhmm..the answer lies within me, whether I accepted the meaning or not. But one thing I can assure you that I asserted on working hard to do justice to its meaning.
                                                               Serogroup  Serotype   Biotype

##  Serogroup is was characterized by the presence of a capsule and a modified lipopolysaccharide.
## The serogroup O1 V. cholerae is subdivided into two serotypes based on specific antigens in the O antigen: Ogawa and Inaba. V. cholerae O1 is also divided into two biotypes based on biochemical reactions: classical and El Tor.


Jul 25, 2013

On writing: just a thought

I have always wanted to write a paper and get it published in a renowned journal. Here, I want to talk about one article that got published in an international journal. It is about the spread of Japanese encephalitis in hilly districts of Nepal. While starting to write the paper, I had to struggle for a whole year. I was motivated to write it but I felt the need for a coaching on writing the paper. So, I approached Dr. Jeff for his advices on writing it well. I found him inspirational and guided me providing useful tips and reviewed the paper till it got published. I miss person like him, who can guide and mentor on writing academic paper. Now, it has been about 2 years that I have not been able to publish a good paper in a good journal except poster presentation in conferences and be satisfied with it. There are some major setbacks that I have found within myself which has hindered from writing a paper. I am trying to sort it out. Let me see how it progresses. While trying to understand what can be barrier to writing down your ideas / thoughts, however absurd it may be, some of the reason could be as follows:

1.       1 % inspiration, 99 % perspiration: Somebody said so. It is true. If somebody says that he can't write saying language is a barrier or this and that in order to get excuse for not writing. It is simply complacency for not writing or in other word, procrastination. So, it can be said that complacency is the greatest enemy getting things done so even writing.

2.       Cultural link: Uhmm……….There may be some truth in saying that there is some cultural link. Some may agree, others equally disagree. I am of the opinion that it plays some role in our part of the world. If I am from a family of higher social strata, it is most likely that I am going to be well versed in Sanskrit text or "Slokas" or English (why?..this another area of discourse..) so, there is every likely that I will excel in education. While from a poor or disadvanted family, there is every possibility that s/he may drop out early from school because of various reasons (why?..this also another area of discourse..). Even if you rise up the social ladder, you have to struggle lot so you will have ample time to write and get your work get published. I can give lots of example for this.
  • Reading and writing culture: What does it mean is lack of reading and writing culture in developing countries compared to western developed countries can be one reason (exceptions are there). I think many of us believe this arguement though it may sound flimsy for some of you.
  • Hierarchical culture: If you dissect historical, cultural and religious facts in low income countries like Nepal, I have to say that hierarchical culture is hindrance to the spread of equal opportunity for people.  But, on the contrary, we still observe social practices that is keep certain community of people away from mainstream social benefit like education.
3.       Peer groups / academic clubs:  I find influence of social network or academic circle to be an important reason. Let me put this way - If you are in close circle of obese friends, it is said that there is a likelihood that you are also going to be obese over a period of time. So, the same analogy can be applied to writing and publishing paper. If there is a culture of regular discussion at journal club or debate at debate house, then there is every possibility that your mind will get ignited with some idea or concept at some point of time, which compels you to write and share your idea among your colleagues. Who knows, that simple idea could turn to be a landmark paper, if well written.
4.       Mentorship / coaching: Another important reason can be lack of formal mentoring to learn through guidance, somewhat like apprenticeship or internship. Although, there used to be a system of teacher and student (Guru and Chela) in Vedic period in Mah Bharat region, it was meant only for people of certain origin, whereas major proportion of population was ignored from this opportunity.  Now, this proportion of people kept away from formal or informal education, may be decreasing, but there are still millions of people, who are unfortunate to get the opportunity of proper education.

These are my general  and personal statement. There may be many counter - guments against what I am saying and I may be wrong, too. These points are based on my personal experiences in the area, where I was brought up and the kind of schooling that I received. To elaborate a bit more on the kind of education that we recieved. ow, I realize, our education was based primarily on memorizing rather than focus on comprehension of the subject. I never felt, there was importance given to improve reading, writing and comprehension skills. I also want to share that there was no proper library till we completed class 12. Because of poor education in government school, many parents were bound to send their children in missionary school or private boarding schools. I have many stories to share on how we learnt English, why was it necessary?  What are the difficulties if English is your 3rd or 4th language? How difficult is it to express your ideas, thoughts or concepts in English?  What is linguistic gap? I leave all these entire questions for others to ponder and share their opinion, while I will try to answer in my next post.

Jul 22, 2013


“As the dew is dried up by the morning sun, / So are mankind’s sins at the sight of Himalaya,” read the Puranas. That was before global travel reached the remotest peaks and before climate change threatened the glaciers. And that was when artists painted Vaishnavi as an idealized form without evidence of muscle or bone.

"Now, HIV-infected sex-trafficked women and girls from Nepal are more likely than those not infected to also have syphilis and hepatitis B. In one of her many manifestations, Vaishnavi protected her devotees from fear and gave them peace. The task now falls on global public health and its multiple hands."
## I happen to google searching for emerging diseases in Nepal. I came across Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 June; 14(6): 1009–1010. In the front page, there was the picture of Vaishnavi, a Hindu deity. Reading through the page, it writes on a rich historical past of Himalayan kingdom and also, talks about the natural beauty blended with rich artistic Newari culture. Such was Nepal, the birthplace for Budhism, which is philosophy that preach equality and moral ethics that is relevant now more than ever. It was also a melting pot for various religious thoughts like Hinduism and Jainism to co - exist in continious intellectual dialogue and discourse searching for the meaning of life in simplicity

 ## But now, it is sad to read in this prestigious scientific paper, the flight of poor women from village especially of untouchables and other underpriviledged community, who are being sold to sex brothels in cities inside and outside of country. There are many reasons, why this is happening. If I go into that area of discourse, I will be emotional rather than rationale in my writing. So, I will not touch upon that. However, it is now important for Nepalese and Indian government to act tough on human trafficking. Just take, physical health issues apart from  psycho - social effects, it has brought upon our society, this has cost us huge amount of health budget in caring them. Bitter truth is that most of them, who dare to come back home escaping brutality, come with HIV / Hep B or Hep C infection only to die in Nepal rather in sex den, where they are treated not even like a dog. Atleast a dog can bark, when it prefers to and loiter around the city free !!

Anuj in Himalayas

Hi i am connecting disqus with my blog for healthy interaction and open dialogue