Monday, February 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Mycoplasmas related with arthritis, cardiac problems’
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 11 — The very fact that that they could be associated with auto- immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac and neurological diseases besides their reportedly close association with HIV and AIDS requires a closer look into these very elusive microorganisms —mycoplasmas. Scientists working on them , whether it is in relation to infections in humans, animals or plants, find these microscopic organisms, ‘‘ simply fascinating’’.

Chandigarh Tribune caught up with leading scientists working on mycoplasmal infections in these three related areas during the conference of the Indian Association of Mycoplasmalogists, hosted by the Department of Medical Microbiology in the PGI here today. And discovered fascinating details about these minute organisms, which have all the properties of a living organism, but do not have a cell wall.

Prof Usha Gupta, earlier associated with the National Heart Institute, has been working on mycoplasmal infections in the humans since 1969. She says that these microrgansims are very fastidious. The first problem for any scientist working on them is that they are most difficult to grow in the laboratory for investigations, unless presented with absolutely ideal conditions.

While in humans, mycoplasmas are reported to be one of the important causative agents of respiratory and urinary tract infections, in farm animals, they cause udder infections leading to low milk yield. In plants , mycoplasmas can play havoc.

Agricultural scientists say that mycoplasmas or phytoplasmas as they are referred to in plants actually destroy 3 to 5 per cent of the crop every year. The bottomline is that mycoplasmal infections, whether in animals, plants or humans always suggest bad news.

According to Prof Usha Gupta, these micro-organisms survive on mucosal surfaces like the respiratory and genital tract where they are responsible for a variety of diseases. In respiratory tract, they are responsible for atypical pneumonia, an upper respiratory tract infection.

Besides, genital tract infections in women, post partum leads to low birth weight babies and even infertility. Infections by mycoplasmas can lead to serious complications, including pelvic inflammatory diseases, cervicitis, infertility, spontaneous abortions and still births. In men they can cause urethritis and prostortis leading to infertility.

Prof Gupta says that to carry out research work on them is not so easy but in humans their diagnosis and relation to diseases are well established. But reports of relationship of mycoplasmal infections with AIDS patients is proving to be a difficult challenge for basic scientists and clinicians alike.

Regarding mycoplasmal infections in plants, Dr S.J. Singh, Principal Scientist and Head, IARI Regional Station, Pune, says that the phytoplasmal infections are known to affect vegetable and ornamental plants alike. From the economics point of view, these are a great concern to any agriculturist.

Dr Singh says that horticultural, vegetable and ornamental plants suffer the maximum from the phytoplasmal infections. Once a plant gets infected there is no fruit formation, which means that the loss is almost 100 per cent, he says, adding that in vegetables like brinjal and tomatoes, mycoplasmic infections have a devastating effect.

Dr Singh says that while there is no complete cure for phytoplasmal infections, they can be managed . Since the disease is transmitted by an insect vector, best option would be to eliminate this factor by using pesticides.

He says that farmers can be trained for detecting and diagnosing in identifying plants infected with phytoplasmas. Indications include phyllody when the entire flowering part gets converted into leaf-like structures, alterations like witches broom, little leaf, proliferation , formation of big bud and yellowing of the plant.

Dr S.P. Raychaudhari, Emiretus Professor, IARI, and a renowned scientist who has worked on infections of sandalwood spike, a phytoplasma affecting sandalwood tree, says that every year the country suffers tremendous loss of revenue due to this malady. The organisms multiply in the plant tissue and can be detected by the insect vector they are transmitted by.

The way to manage mycoplasmal infections is by eliminating the insect vector by pesticides and planting intermediate crops. Dr Raychaudhari says that crops like jowar, bajra and maize act as physical barriers besides use of tetracycline group of antibiotics can also control, but at times this is may not be feasible due to heavy cost.

Dr N.N. Garg, Head, Department of Veterinary Public Health,Hisar agricultural university, says that mycoplasmas are the cause of major reproductive disorders in cows and buffaloes.Mycoplasma Bovigenitalium causes mastitis, an udder infection that reduces milk production in cows, adding that due to resistance to common antibiotics, the number of infections are increasing.


‘Haemophilia can be managed’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 11 — Nine-year-old Rakesh from Nalagarh; Gaurav, a student of Class VII from Patiala, Sanjay, 24-year-old youth from Sarkaghat, and 37-year-old Vijay Gupta, a shopkeeper from Patiala, share the same destiny and disease — haemophilia

The disease, when they were young, did not permit them to play and run around like other children of their age. Future holds equally bleak perspective for them and hundreds of others boys from different parts of the region who gathered here in the city today to attend meeting of the Haemophilic Welfare Society of Chandigarh.

Haemophilia, a bleeding disorder, which affects as many as 1 per cent of the total live births in India, is not curable but can be managed. The key to its management, as per the experts, is the knowledge to reduce the number of bleeds and infusions and later through physiotherapy.

Prof J.G. Jolly, Emeritus Professor, PGI, says that most important for the parents of the sufferers is to form well organised set up for handling the problem in a better way.

It is a psychological torture for the parents and children alike, says Prof Jolly. These children are victims of hereditary disorder which following even a cotton wool injury can land them in the hospital. And as these children grow older, they find it difficult to walk due to swelling in their joints which can be ultimately crippling.

Rather than matching horoscopes, it is better to match blood, says Dr Jolly while adding that the disease is genetically related and is transmitted in male children through the females. The crippling needs a very careful handling by physiotherapists and happens in all those cases where the timely availability of cryoprecipitate or the factor VIII is not available.

Outcome of the today’s meeting is to propose steps for regular setting up of haemophilic clinics in the two leading institutions of the city — Blood Centre, GMCH, Sector 32 and the PGI.


Essential steps for the management of haemophilics.

1. Early diagnosis that it is a certain case of haemophilia.

2. Whenever there is a bleeding, the person should be provided cryoprecipitates, which should be given soon after bleeding.

3. If crippling occurs, the person should get physiotherapy.

4. There should be periodic checks for any transmissible diseases.


Sabeeha, Balvinder shooting champs
By Our Sports Reporter

CHANDIGARH, Feb 11 — Sabeeha Dhillon in senior women and Balvinder Singh in senior men emerged winners in the air rifle event (ISSF) in the Sunday shooting, organised by the Chandigarh Rifle Association here at Patiali ki ranges in Sector 25. In air pistol event for senior women, Priti Sharma secured first place, while Akhil Pahuja was first in the men’s section.

Results: air rifle (ISSF) senior women: Sabeeha Dhillon 390/400 1, Tamanna 2, Priti Sharma 3; men: Balvinder Singh 370/400 1, Daleep Singh 2, Iqbal Singh 3; Air pistol (women); Priti Sharma 334/400 1, Anu Parasher 2; Sabeeha 3.

Men: Akhil Pahuja 324/400 1; Daleep Singh 2, Balvinder Singh 3. Air rifle open Sight: NR junior men: Sultan Singh 218/400.

Harmukh CC wins
In the Pandit Tikka Lal Memorial Cricket Tournament in progress at Gursagar Grounds, Harmukh Cricket Club defeated LIC of India by 44 runs. Batting first, Harmukh CC scored 163 runs with Sanjeev hitting 53 runs of 40 deliveries. LIC XI were bundled out for 119 runs. Anil Dhar claimed four wickets for just 16 runs.

Hockey team
The Chandigarh Hockey Association has selected Jitender Kumar to lead the UT hockey team for the 31st Junior National Hockey championships to be held at Chennai. Those taking part are: Baljeet Singh, Maninder Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Bharat Baghwar, Mandeep Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Inderjit Chadha, Rajpal Singh, Amardeep Singh, Yuvraj, Sarbjeet Singh, Cyra Lekka, Gurpreet Singh, Mangra Munda, Ramanvir Grewal, Prabhjot and Gaurav.

HDFC beaten
Connect made it to the final of the Inter Corporate Cricket Tournament when it defeated HDFC by 74 runs. Connect made 205 runs for nine in 25 overs with Rahul and Manan scoring 46 runs each. In reply, HDFC were bundledout for 131 runs.

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