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  • Review of Literature on Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka

    IWMI Working Paper

    158Andrew Noble, Priyanie Amerasinghe, Herath Manthrithilake and Sutharsiny Arasalingam

  • Working Papers

    The publications in this series record the work and thinking of IWMI researchers, and knowledge that the Institutes scientific management feels is worthy of documenting. This series will ensure that scientific data and other information gathered or prepared as a part of the research work of the Institute are recorded and referenced. Working Papers could include project reports, case studies, conference or workshop proceedings, discussion papers or reports on progress of research, country-specific research reports, monographs, etc. Working Papers may be copublished, by IWMI and partner organizations.

    Although most of the reports are published by IWMI staff and their collaborators, we welcome contributions from others. Each report is reviewed internally by IWMI staff. The reports are published and distributed both in hard copy and electronically (www.iwmi.org) and where possible all data and analyses will be available as separate downloadable files. Reports may be copied freely and cited with due acknowledgment.

    About IWMI

    IWMIs mission is to improve the management of land and water resources for food, livelihoods and the environment. In serving this mission, IWMI concentrates on the integration of policies, technologies and management systems to achieve workable solutions to real problemspractical, relevant results in the field of irrigation and land and water resources.

  • IWMI Working Paper 158

    Review of Literature on Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka

    Andrew Noble Priyanie Amerasinghe Herath Manthrithilake

    and Sutharsiny Arasalingam

    International Water Management Institute

  • A free copy of this publication can be downloaded atwww.iwmi.org/Publications/Working_Papers/index.aspx

    The authors: Andrew Noble is Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) at the headquarters of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Priyanie Amerasinghe is Head of Office and Senior Researcher at the Hyderabad Office of IWMI in India; Herath Manthrithilake is Head, Sri Lanka Development Initiative, at the headquarters of IWMI in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Sutharsiny Arasalingam is a Consultant with the Sri Lanka Development Initiative at the headquarters of IWMI in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

    Noble, A.; Amerasinghe, P.; Manthrithilake, H.; Arasalingam, S. 2014. Review of literature on chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI). 41p. (IWMI Working Paper 158). doi: 10.5337/2014.206

    / kidney diseases / chronic course / aetiology / water quality / drinking water / groundwater / contamination / arsenic / toxicity / cadmium / phosphates / fluorides / aluminium / agrochemicals / health hazards / food chains / farmers / wells / literature / research / Sri Lanka /

    ISSN 2012-5763 ISBN 978-92-9090-788-6

    Copyright 2014, by IWMI. All rights reserved. IWMI encourages the use of its material provided that the organization is acknowledged and kept informed in all such instances.

    Please direct inquiries and comments to: IWMI-Publications@cgiar.org

  • Acknowledgements

    The authors would like to thank all the people whose work contributed to the content of this paper. In particular, we are grateful to Dr. T. Abeysekara, Consultant Nephrologist and Former Head, Dept. of Nephrology and Transplantation Teaching Hospital, Kandy; Prof. O. Ileperuma, Department of Chemistry, University of Peradeniya; Prof. R. Chandrajith, Department of Geology, University of Peradeniya; and Mr. S.G.G. Rajkumar, Deputy General Manager, National Water Supply & Drainage Board, Ratmalana.

  • v

    Contents

    Acronyms ............................................................................................................................. vi

    Summary ............................................................................................................................ vii

    Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 1

    What Do We Know About the Disease in Sri Lanka? ................................................................ 3

    An Overview of Medical Evidence Associated with CKDu ................................................ 3

    Criteria Used in Classifying the Disease .................................................................... 3

    Patient Cohorts Described in the Scientific Literature ............................................... 5

    Some Potential Causal Factors of CKDu, Reported in the Literature ...................................... 7

    Aflotoxins Associated with the Consumption of Stored Grains ......................................... 7

    Arsenic (As) Toxicity: .......................................................................................................... 7

    Critical Values of Arsenic (As) in Water and Food ............................................................ 7

    Evidence of Arsenic (As) Contamination in Sri Lanka ...................................................... 8

    Review of Articles in the Media Related to Arsenic ................................................ 14

    Cadmium (Cd) as a Causal Factor .................................................................................... 14

    Background ................................................................................................................ 14

    Research into Cd ....................................................................................................... 14

    Fluoride and Aluminum ..................................................................................................... 19

    Where are the Gaps that IWMI Could Assist in Filling? ........................................................ 22

    Discussion .......................................................................................................................... 23

    What Conclusions can be Drawn from the Research to Date? ......................................... 23

    References .......................................................................................................................... 25

    Annex 1 .......................................................................................................................... 29

  • vi

    Acronyms

    Al AluminumAs ArsenicCKD Chronic Kidney Disease CKDu Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology CP Central ProvinceCRF Chronic Renal FailureDZ Dry Zone EP Eastern ProvinceESRD End Stage Renal DiseaseF FlourideGFR Glomerular Filtration RateNCP North Central Province NP Northern ProvinceNWP North Western ProvinceP PhosphorusPTWI Provisional Tolerable Weekly IntakeROP Registrar of PesticidesSABP Sabaragamuwa ProvinceSP Southern ProvinceSLMA Sri Lanka Medical AssociationTSP Triple Super Phosphate UP Uva ProvinceUTI Urinary Tract InfectionWHO World Health OrganizationWP Western Province

  • vii

    Summary

    The issue of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) dominates the research arena as well as the media; and has raised the specter of determining the causal factor(s) that contribute to its development. There is evidence to support the notion that the majority of the patients diagnosed with CKDu are farmers, and arguments have been presented to suggest the possibility of water resources being the main contributor to the development of the disease. Thus IWMI became interested in exploring these linkages with the chronic kidney disease that is prevalent in some parts of Sri Lanka, especially in the North Central Province.

    What we know about the disease:

    CKDupatientsarecharacterizedbynon-conformation/associationtotheknownriskfactorssuch as diabetes, hypertension or chronic glomerulonephritis. The onset of the disease appears to be asymptomatic, and by the time the patient seeks treatment the kidneys have reached a stage of irreversible damage -- end stage renal disease (ESRD).

    Overthepast12yearsnumerousstudieshavebeenundertakenbyarangeofinstitutionsin relation to the problem and, as a result, a body of research has been established. They range from hospital cohort and community level studies; water resource studies; assessments of food sources; and studies into possible genetic linkages. Several of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals along with a substantial quantity of material in grey literature.

    ThediseaseispredominantlyconfinedtomalefarmersintheNorthCentralProvince(NCP)of Sri Lanka, who are over the age of 40. Patients are predominantly subsistence farmers and / or agricultural laborers. The ratio of male to females affected by the disease ranges from 3:1 to 2.4:1. There is evidence to suggest that the age of patients diagnosed with the disease is gradually lowering (with community screening); suggesting it is occurring even among younger cohorts of the population as well.

    Accordingtocurrentestimates,CKDuappearstobe3-4timeshigherintheNCPthanthatof most other provinces, except the NP. As early as 2002, three times the national average of CKD patients were found in the NCP. It is not clear whether the progressive increase in patients being diagnosed with CKDu with time is due to increased awareness of the disease, improved diagnostic techniques or to an increase in patients manifesting signs of Coda.

    TheoccurrenceoftheCKDuhasbe