INTRODUCTION Mycotoxin are secondary metabolites of moulds that exert toxic effects on animals and humans( Mycotoxicosis) Aflatoxins is one of the mycotoxins that frequently contaminate foods such as groundnuts, maize, rice and other cereals. Contamination comes when storage practice is not proper.
The toxic effects of moulds and fungi was known already in ancient times “Robigalia” in 17 &18 century BC. The honour of god robigus. “Vergilius PM. Georgike.VelikaGorica,Papir,1994” “Ovidius PN. Opera omnia.III Fasti,Tristia,Epistolae ex ponto.Leipzig,Nova editio stereotypa, 1845” Spiritual wives rituals in Malawi Msunyunho in Dodoma Tanzania
Aflatoxins Aflatoxin contaminates nuts, maize, cereals, pepper and rice under condition of high humidity and temperature. They are a risk to human health
They are produced by a fungal specie Aspergillus. The two major species that produce Aflatoxins are A.flavus that produces only B Aflatoxins, and A.parasiticus which produces both B and G aflatoxins Aflatoxins M1 and M2 are oxidative metabolic products of aflatoxins B1 and B2 produced by animals following ingestion, and so appear in milk(both animal and human) and can pass through the placenta.
Aflatoxins induces the transversion of G>T in codon 249 of the p53 tumor suppressor gene in human cells with the liver cells being more susceptible than others. “F Aguilar, SP Hussain, and P Cerutti Department of carcinogenesis, Swiss institute for experimental cancer research (pubmed)”
The main target organ for toxicity is the liver. However recent studies have shown that It can affect any other organ, it is non specific “Peers FG, Linsell CA. Dietary aflatoxins and human liver cancer: a study in Swaziland. Br J Cancer 1976;17:167- 176.”
Aflatoxins are acutely toxic, immunosuppressive, mutagenic, teratogenic and carcinogenic compounds.
Aflatoxin is present in blood of pregnant women, neonatal umbilical cord blood, and in breast milk. Implicated in encephalopathy, fatty degeneration of viscera, Reye syndrome. HIV/AIDS and exposure to aflatoxin forms a fatal combination because aflatoxin on its own is immunosuppressive
Neonatal jaundice and Aflatoxins “Sodeinde O et al. Neonatal jaundice, Aflatoxins and naphthols: report of a study in Ibadan Nigeria. Annals of tropicalpaediatrics,1995,15:107-113.” Aflatoxins and kwashiorkor: It is more apparent when Aflatoxins is in high peak
Children diagnosed of pneumonia were found to have high levels of aflatoxins It is implicated in alveolar cell carcinoma “Dvorackova I. Aflatoxins inhalation and alveolar cell carcinoma. British medical journal,1976,691.”
Exposure range from 10-200ng/kg body weight per day in sub-Saharan Africa Malawi and Tanzania belongs to this group Common to see HCC in surgical wards From 2004-July2008 32 cases of HCC has been attended at the surgical unit of KCH-26 cases were advanced and no surgery could be offered The remaining were operated but died after 4 months
Aflatoxin detection in human blood Project sites(Surveilance)
We have received patients from all over Malawi but majority of our patients are from Salima, Ntcheu, Dowa Mzimba, and Nkhotakhota No study exist to document the relationship with aflatoxin exposure We believe that exposure to aflatoxins plays a great role.
Performing a random aflatoxin assay in human blood in randomly selected patients will help to establish the relationship and to determine the extent of human exposure to aflatoxin in Tanzania.
A collaborative study is needed to document the extent of aflatoxin exposure to human through blood samples investigations and regular surveillance in areas with high levels of contamination in Tanzania.
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