Wednesday, May 11, 2011

World Health Organization Meeting on May 13th to Add New Diagnostic Codes for Existing Disorders

World Health Organization Meeting on May 13th to Add New Diagnostic Codes for Existing Disorders
Press Conference to Follow
by Lourdes Salvador
May 11 (USA) - Maria Neira, Public Health and Environment Director of World Health Organization will meet with Scientists and non-government organizations on May 13th at 10:00 AM to discuss adding Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) to the International Classification of Diseases ICD10 code list.  A press conference will follow at 11:30.

Francisca Gutiérrez Clavero, president of the Spanish organization ASQUIFYDE and Francesca Romana Orlando and  vice president of the Italian Association for Environment and Chronic Toxic Injury (AMICA) will meet with Neira on Monday to present the petition.  More than 200 Health experts and 240 non-government organizations in 26 countries have signed the petition to include MCS and EHS to the disease registry.

Dr. Anunciación Lafuente, president of the Spanish Society of Toxicology and professor of toxicology at the University of Vigo is a member of the working group at the Ministry of Health which is developing a consensus document on MCS in Spain.  Also in the working group is Dr. Julián Márquez, a retired neurophysiologist and former Director of the Department of Neurophysiology at the Bellvitge Hospital in Barcelona.  Márquez has long term experience with MCS patients.  A third member, Dr. Chiara De Luca, director of the BILARA (BILAncio Radicalico e Antiossidante) Laboratory at the Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata in Rome, has published significant studies about the role of oxidative stress in MCS patients.  All three support the immediate inclusion of MCS and EHS in the ICD10 for diagnostic purposes.
The lack of an ICD-10 code for MCS and EHS leaves millions of people without a correct diagnosis and it prevents governments from taking adequate health support and preventive policies.

"MCS and EHS are included by many scientists in a group of diseases shared by sensitization of the central nervous system, such as Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  According to the majority of scientists, this sensitization is triggered by environmental factors," explains Clavero, "But, while FM and CFS are classified in the International Classification of Diseases ICD-10, MCS and EHS still are not, expect for Germany, Austria and Japan, where MCS is included" under other codes.

These conditions have a significant worldwide prevalence.  According to different studies, about 15% of the (Kreutzer, R.; Neutra, RR.; Lashuay, N.) of people reporting sensitivities to chemicals.  While 15% of the population is sensitive to chemicals in consumer products, a smaller percentage are severely disabled by it (Caress & Steinemann, 2003).
The prevalence of EHS is about 3-6 % in the general population, though the statistics vary from country to country. 

"The recognition of these two illnesses would also have a global impact on financial savings in terms of health care expenditure, because a correct
diagnosis is the first step to prevent people from becoming severely ill or disabled, especially in the case of environmentally triggered illnesses", says Clavero.

"WHO, the most important international health agency, can not delay any more the listing of MCS and EHS in the ICD chapter of environmental illnesses, because the scientific evidence is clear, especially when one is able to distinguish the independent research from the scientific papers produced by scientists with industry ties", adds Orlando.
People with MCS and EHS are often treated symptomatically due to a lack of medical professionals who are trained and experienced in environmental medicine. 
"The WHO recognition would promote further research", says Orlando.  Further research would lead to better understanding and treatment options.

Press contacts: Sonia Ortiga, tel. (+34) 645803417

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