Each week, here at Osaka.com, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka.
Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.
Table of Contents
“Swimming Pool Fever” Cases Surge in Osaka
Osaka’s medical institutions this week reported the highest infection numbers in ten years for the so-called “Swimming Pool Fever”.
The condition is also known by the far more difficult to pronounce scientific name: Pharyngoconjuntival Fever.
Pool Fever, as the local media here in Osaka call it, is a disease originating from a form of adenovirus. Symptoms include a high fever, reddening and pain in the eyes, and a sore throat. The disease is not life-threatening in almost all cases, however it can incapacitate sufferers for up to two weeks.
Osaka and Fukuoka prefectures both logged record numbers of new cases of Pool Fever this week, sparking nationwide health concerns. This comes alongside a possible resurgence of Covid-19 and the annual obstacle to winter health that is seasonal influenza.
Spread through mucous membranes in the eyes, nose and throat, swimming pools are a common transmission point for the virus. Hence, the Pool Fever nickname.
The virus has an incubation period of 5 to 7 days. During this period, infected patients may not develop a fever or record any other symptoms. They can however, still spread Pool Fever to others.
Pool Fever “Evades Common Hygiene Precautions”
The nature of Pool Fever, as a strain of adenovirus, makes disinfecting areas and safeguarding potential victims especially difficult. Unlike the infamous Covid-19 or the seasonal influenza virus, adenoviruses can resist alcohol-based disinfectants. This also makes it difficult to avoid infections at swimming pools.
Instead, experts advise concerned individuals to use sodium hypochlorite to disinfect children’s toys, door knobs, handrails and other communal areas. They also highlighted the important of not sharing towels with others at home, as another important way to prevent the spread of Pool Fever.
In the meantime, many children across Osaka have opted to stay away from communal swimming pools, as a precaution. Medical experts also continue to monitor the influenza situation in Osaka. As of the time of reporting the number of confirmed cases of per medical institution in the prefecture was 1.6 times higher than last week. Doctors advise anyone with a fever exceeding 37.5 to stay home from work and seek medical consultation at the earliest opportunity.
Game-Changing Dental Drug Announced in Osaka
One of the most immediately distressing signs of ageing, or in some cases unfortunate injury, is the loss of one’s teeth. Of course, as children we all lost our baby teeth at some point, but these soon grew back as our “adult teeth”. However, if an adult loses any teeth, ordinarily these are gone for good. Only dental implants or dentures will suffice as a replacement.
One Osaka based drug company, however, aims to change that over the next few years.
Toregem Biopharma Co. based in Osaka, and supported by Kyoto University, has completed animal trials of a drug designed to grow new teeth in adults. The pharmaceutical start-up’s co-founder, Katsu Takahashi spoke enthusiastically about the new treatment this week.
Takahashi is the head of dentistry at Osaka’s Kitano Hospital. He said: “We have seen that this treatment works in animals. The next step will be to test it in children aged 2-6 suffering from anodontia.” Anodontia is a condition that prevents all of a child’s teeth from forming and can, in some extreme cases, lead to jaw deformity.
Takahashi continued: “If this next stage proves successful, we could have a product ready to go to market for both adults and children as soon as 2030.”
Certainly, this world-first breakthrough seems promising, however, don’t throw away those toothbrushes just yet. Takahashi closed by saying: “Of course, the best way to maintain good oral health is still taking care of the teeth you have now!”
A prominent internet troll may finally face some consequences for his obnoxious actions, after running afoul of Osaka law enforcement this week. Ismael Ramsey Khalid, who runs various social media accounts under the name “Johnny Somali” films himself engaging in numerous anti-social behaviors. In recent times he has trashed convenience stores in Japan, mocked the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as well as numerous other affronts to public decency. Like most internet-based idiots, the fact that all of this is on-film, and widely disseminated online will make mounting a defense somewhat difficult for the American’s lawyer.
The final straw for Khalid came this week when he and his accomplice were arrested for trespassing on an Osaka construction site. They apparently entered the site without permission to film a video, repeatedly saying “Fukushima!” as they were confronted by site workers. Khalid has yet to enter a plea, however the evidence against him is substantial. If he is fortunate, he may just be deported, and barred from returning to Japan again. This outcome may, in all honesty, be the best thing for Osaka and its citizens as well.
That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of this week in Osaka!