Morocco Sees 16 Annual Decline in Leprosy Cases

Rabat – A study published yesterday in the medical journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases shows a 16 percent decline in leprosy cases every year since 2012. The study was conducted by Morocco’s Ministry of Health, in collaboration with scientists at the Mohammed V University in Rabat.Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease, was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1991 to no longer be a public health crisis in Morocco with less than one case per 10,000 habitants. According to the study, the global number of leprosy cases has decreased from 5.4 million in the early 1980s to 210,758 in 2015. Read Also: ISO Accredits Medical Research Institute Pasteur MarocThe study credits “rifampicin chemoprophylaxis,” a preventative single dose antibiotic implemented in 2012, for greatly aiding the further decline of leprosy in recent years.The study shows that following the introduction of this antibiotic for those exposed to sufferers of leprosy, the detection rate decreased by 16 percent annually, a dramatic trend change. Between 2000 and 2012, leprosy cases decreased 4 percent annually.Read Also: Study: 100,000 Moroccans Live with Alzheimer’s DiseaseHowever, the author summary in the study says, “Despite the decline in case detection of leprosy, incidence reduction to zero and suppression of infection source is still not possible.” The summary elaborates that “addressed strategies to high-risk groups–contacts of leprosy cases” are needed to eliminate the disease at a global level. read more

Oilsands firms considering diluent recovery units to boost crudebyrail volumes

Companies in this article: (TSX:CVE, TSX:IMO)The Canadian Press CALGARY — Ongoing pipeline project delays and growth in crude-by-rail capacity from Western Canada are leading some oilsands producers to consider spending billions of dollars to build diluent recovery units.Oilsands bitumen is a thick, sticky oil which must be diluted with about half as much light petroleum to flow in a pipeline, but diluent isn’t needed for rail transport because the product can be heated for loading and unloading.Eight Capital analyst Phil Skolnick says in a report that building diluent recovery units at Alberta rail-loading terminals would free up about one-third of the space in the railcar to improve the efficiency and overall profitability of sending bitumen by rail to refineries in the southern U.S.In a recent interview, Cenovus Energy Inc. CEO Alex Pourbaix said his company is actively investigating building a unit at its terminal near Edmonton which would cost between $800 million and $1 billion.He says it would be capable of processing up to 180,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen, thus recovering about 60,000 barrels per day of diluent to be returned to its northern Alberta oilsands projects.Rich Kruger, CEO of rival producer Imperial Oil Ltd., said on a recent conference call that his company has been considering building a diluent recovery unit for several years but has ruled against it for now because of the high cost and market uncertainties.“DRUs in some cases can provide attractive returns, but more importantly, they can also improve the landscape of crude-by-rail and egress (to the tune of about 190,000 bpd of incremental bitumen if all 600,000 bpd of crude-by-rail used a DRU),” wrote Skolnick in his report.“However, reduced costs and maximum diluent recycling are key to making this effort work. These current hurdles are likely reasons companies aren’t in a rush to build them yet.” read more