Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 10 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1446

A word of warning about drinking directly from cans of drink without washing them first. Madagascar's La Gazette de la Grande Ile (6 April 2004) reports the tale of a woman who had taken a boat trip with friends and drunk from a can of drink she'd put into the boat's refrigerator. She was taken ill and died two days later. The postmortem revealed she had died of fulminating leptospirosis, and examination of the can confirmed it had been contaminated with rat urine, which had dried on the top.

Losing your teeth can be a sign of heart disease or cerebrovascular disease. One link between the two phenomena may be high blood pressure. When two age matched groups of postmenopausal women were compared—67 with loss of teeth, 31 without—those with no missing teeth had significantly lower diastolic blood pressure and a tendency for lower systolic pressure. The researchers found no other significant associations with other traditional risk factors for vascular diseases (Hypertension 2004;43: 1297-300).

When it comes to the HIV-AIDS pandemic, we have a dilemma. Wealthy countries are giving generously with one hand but taking away with the other. An article in the Washington Post (24 May) says that African doctors and nurses are leaving …

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