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Putting Out the Welcome Mat for Household Bugs

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Nov. 10, – They're pickier tenants than you'd think: Bugs are ideally looking for carpeted, airy, ground-floor residences in wealthier neighborhoods, and pets and even filth aren't really so important. So finds a meticulous new study of the insect life in 50 urban homes in Raleigh, N.C. One surprise: There was a greater diversity of insect species living in the homes of the affluent compared to those of low-income families, the research showed. The study, led by Dr. Misha Leong, confirmed that humans' co-existence with creepy crawlies is complex – and sometimes even beneficial to both parties. "Even though we like to think of our homes as shielded from the outdoors, wild ecological dramas may be unfolding right beside us as we go about our daily lives," said Leong, a postdoctoral researcher at the California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco. "We're learning more and more ... Read more

Related support groups: Insect Bites, Venomous Spider Bite

Bio-Engineered Mosquitoes to be Released In U.S.

Posted 11 days ago by Drugs.com

Bio-engineered mosquitoes will be released in many parts of the United States next year in an attempt to reduce wild populations of mosquitoes that can transmit diseases such as Zika, yellow fever and Dengue fever. The lab-grown male Asian Tiger mosquitoes are infected with bacteria that prevents reproduction, but does not pose a risk to other insects or animals, according to Kentucky-based MosquitoMate, US News & World Report said. The release of the bio-engineered mosquitoes in 20 states and Washington, D.C. was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 3 and the program will start next summer, according to a report in the journal Nature. Release of the mosquitoes was not approved in much of the southeastern U.S. because MosquitoMate has not yet performed field trials there. The company recently completed a successful trial in Florida and plans to submit an application ... Read more

Related support groups: West Nile Virus, Insect Bites, Yellow Fever Prophylaxis, Zika Virus Infection, Diethyltoluamide, Dengue Fever

West Nile's Long-Term Bite: Impact on Brain May Last Years

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 – Some people with a history of West Nile virus may show symptoms such as muscle weakness or foggy memory years later, a preliminary study suggests. West Nile is a mosquito-transmitted infection that turned up in North America in 1999. Since then, outbreaks have occurred across the United States each summer – with more than 47,000 reported cases overall, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the true number is estimated to be much higher – more than 3 million – largely because most people with West Nile either do not get sick, or have flu-like symptoms such as a fever and headache. A small number – fewer than 1 percent – develop serious inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues. About 10 percent of those patients die, according to the agency. The new study suggests that some patients have lingering issues up to ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, West Nile Virus, Insect Bites

Treeless Tropics, More Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes?

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 2, 2017 – Deforestation doesn't just strip the landscape. In tropical regions, it may also lead to more disease-carrying mosquitoes, University of Florida researchers say. "Converting pristine tropical forests into areas for agriculture or other uses creates a habitat for the mosquitoes that transmit human diseases," lead study author Nathan Burkett-Cadena said in a university news release. He's an assistant professor of entomology. The scientists don't say why those mosquitoes might thrive without extensive tree coverage, but they note that deforested areas are warmer and drier than similar pristine forests. For their report, the researchers analyzed 17 studies from around the world. They found a strong link between deforestation in tropical habitats and higher concentrations of mosquitoes that carry diseases transmittable to people. Almost 57 percent of mosquito ... Read more

Related support groups: West Nile Virus, Insect Bites, Yellow Fever Prophylaxis, Zika Virus Infection, Diethyltoluamide, Dengue Fever

Some U.S. Olympians Got West Nile in Brazil, But Not Zika

Posted 10 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 9, 2017 – The Zika virus was less of a threat than feared for Olympic athletes at the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil. But other mosquito-borne infections struck a number of Americans, a new study reveals. Of more than 450 Olympians and staffers who provided blood samples, 7 percent tested positive for West Nile virus, dengue fever or chikungunya, researchers found. These other tropical diseases generally cause much milder symptoms than Zika, which has been linked to devastating birth defects. In rare cases, however, these less-feared infections can be disabling or fatal, the researchers said. "We all had our Hollywood sunglasses on, and they blinded us to other possibilities," said Marc Couturier, a medical director at Utah's ARUP Laboratories who led the testing. "We can't forget that West Nile virus has been around for a while, and is still here." About 1 in 5 people with ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, West Nile Virus, Insect Bites, Zika Virus Infection

First Test to Detect Zika in Blood Donations Approved

Posted 7 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 6, 2017 – The cobas Zika test has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – the first approved screening test to detect the Zika virus in blood donations. The test is not designed to diagnose any particular person's Zika infection, however, the FDA said. In August 2016, the agency recommended that all U.S. states and territories screen blood for Zika, according to an FDA media release. "Screening blood donations for the Zika virus is critical to preventing infected donations from entering the U.S. blood supply," said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Some blood-collection centers had already been using the cobas test in order to comply with the 2016 edict. Data collected from this testing, in tandem with additional information provided by the test's manufacturer, were used to approve the diagnostic, the FDA ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Transfusion, Insect Bites, von Willebrand's Disease, Coagulation Defects and Disorders, Hemophilia, Zika Virus Infection, Blood Cell Transplantation

Zika Vaccine Works in Early Human Trial

Posted 5 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 5, 2017 – An experimental vaccine for the Zika virus has shown signs of success in an early human trial. The vaccine safely produced Zika-specific antibodies in 100 percent of the people involved in the study. "Zika virus continues to be a threat to people living in the Americas and the Caribbean," said study author Dr. Pablo Tebas, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "With these new results, we are one step closer to hopefully finding a way to prevent infection, which can cause serious birth defects and developmental delays in babies born to women who are infected with Zika," he said. The synthetic DNA-based Zika vaccine is known as GLS-5700. Unlike some vaccines that use weakened or killed versions of a virus, the experimental Zika vaccine contains synthetic DNA instructions that enable the immune system to neutralize ... Read more

Related support groups: Insect Bites, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Zika Virus Infection

Genetic Tweaks in Mosquitoes Might Curb Malaria Transmission

Posted 29 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2017 – Two new methods of genetic modification may reduce the risk of mosquitoes spreading the infectious disease malaria to people, researchers report. Malaria kills more than 400,000 people worldwide each year. It's a disease that's transmitted by mosquitoes to people. The majority of those who die from the disease are children aged 5 and under in sub-Saharan Africa. The first of the two new approaches came from a study team led by Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena. He's a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. The researchers used a strain of bacteria that can spread rapidly in mosquitoes. The bacteria can also remain long-term in malaria-carrying mosquitoes. A genetically modified version of the bacteria inhibits development of the malaria parasite. That means the chances that the mosquitoes can transmit these parasites to people are ... Read more

Related support groups: Doxycycline, Plaquenil, Hydroxychloroquine, Malaria, Quinine, Malarone, Doryx, Malaria Prevention, Oracea, Mefloquine, Monodox, Doxy Lemmon, Chloroquine, Lariam, Insect Bites, Malaria Prophylaxis, Qualaquin, Coartem, Doxy 100, Vibramycin

How Zika Virus Went From Mild to Devastating

Posted 28 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2017 – A single genetic mutation just a few years back gave the Zika virus the ability to cause severe neurological birth defects like microcephaly, a new study in mice suggests. Scientists have known about the Zika virus since 1947, when it was discovered in a monkey from the Zika Forest in Uganda. At that point, it was only linked to mild symptoms. It wasn't until the Zika epidemic of 2015 in Central and South America that Zika became known as a cause of microcephaly, a devastating condition in which a newborn's brain and skull are severely underdeveloped. How did that happen? One particular genetic change, which likely occurred in 2013, boosted Zika's ability to damage the neural stem cells that serve as building blocks for a fetus' developing brain, Chinese researchers report. "The evidence suggests this particular mutation somehow increased the ability of the ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection

Rapid, Easy Zika Test Developed

Posted 27 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2017 – A new fast, easy and cheap "dipstick" test for the Zika and dengue viruses could revolutionize public health response to dangerous tropical germs, a new study reports. The test accurately diagnoses Zika and dengue and can tell the two mosquito-borne viruses apart, an area in which commercially available tests now stumble, said senior researcher Lee Gehrke, a professor with the MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. "In light of the problems with Zika virus causing microcephaly [a genetic abnormality resulting in a smaller-than-normal head] and other defects in babies born to infected mothers, it's very important a pregnant woman would know if her fever is caused by Zika virus or dengue virus," said Gehrke, who's also a professor at Harvard Medical School. The new test resembles a pregnancy test strip, Gehrke noted. The strip contains antibodies ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Zika Virus Infection, Dengue Fever

Don't Let the Tick Stick

Posted 24 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, Sept. 24, 2017 – As tick populations and the threats they pose increase across the United States, people need to know how to deal with them, a skin doctor suggests. Ticks can cause serious illnesses such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Powassan virus and alpha-gal syndrome (a red meat allergy). "Although most ticks do not carry disease, it's important to be mindful of these risks and keep an eye out while you're outdoors," Dr. Lindsay Strowd said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release. Strowd recommended doing a full-body check after you come inside from a wooded area. She also advised checking kids, pets and any gear you had with you. "If you notice a tick crawling on you or attached to your skin, remove it immediately to prevent any potential infection," Strowd advised. She's an assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical ... Read more

Related support groups: Lyme Disease, Lyme Disease - Arthritis, Lyme Disease - Neurologic, Insect Bites, Lyme Disease - Erythema Chronicum Migrans, Lyme Disease - Carditis, Diethyltoluamide

Sound the Mosquito Alarm, Across the USA

Posted 21 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 – Two species of disease-transmitting mosquitoes could likely flourish in most of the United States, government researchers report. Specifically, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus could survive and reproduce for at least part of the year in three-quarters of the counties in the lower 48 states if introduced there, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These two species can transmit viruses that cause Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The range where Aedes aegypti could survive includes much of the eastern United States south of the Great Lakes, as well as parts of several southwestern states. The range where Aedes albopictus could survive extends farther into the northeast but is more limited in the southwest. The study and accompanying maps were published online Sept. 21 in the Journal of Medical ... Read more

Related support groups: Insect Bites, Yellow Fever Prophylaxis, Chikungunya Virus Infection, Zika Virus Infection, Diethyltoluamide, Dengue Fever

Beat Back Mosquitos After Hurricane Irma

Posted 18 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Sept. 18, 2017 – As if those who weathered Hurricanes Irma and Harvey don't have enough to worry about, one bug expert warns that the standing water left behind is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Residents need to drain birdbaths, pots and anything else in their yards that can provide egg-laying sites for the disease-carrying insects. "No container is too small to empty," Phil Kaufman, an entomology professor at the University of Florida, said in a university news release. Mosquito species that lay eggs in standing water in containers include those that transmit Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses. Kaufman also recommended using mosquito briquettes to kill immature mosquitoes. The briquettes are available at many stores. When you go outside to empty containers or do yard cleanup, you should apply insect repellent (preferably with DEET) and wear light-colored ... Read more

Related support groups: Insect Bites, Zika Virus Infection, Diethyltoluamide

Vision Problems Common in Babies Infected With Zika

Posted 14 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 14, 2017 – When Zika infections strike in the womb, babies' eyes likely suffer, researchers say. Two studies of Brazilian infants with confirmed and suspected Zika virus infection in the womb found that all of them had vision problems. These problems included scarring, misalignment of the eyes, repetitive movement of the eye, and low vision. Of the 102 infants studied, about 40 percent had eye abnormalities and all had visual impairments, the study authors said. The findings were published online in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. Because all infants had with visual impairment, these findings suggest "that the visual impairment is most likely related to the extensive damage to the central nervous system," said Dr. Liana Ventura, of HOPE Eye Hospital in Recife, Brazil. She was the lead investigator of one of the ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Visual Defect/Disturbance, Zika Virus Infection

Could the Zika Virus Help Battle a Deadly Brain Cancer?

Posted 5 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Sept. 5, 2017 – The Zika virus is well known for causing devastating brain defects in fetuses. But what if scientists could use that ability to do something good? Researchers report that they think they might be able to harness the virus' attraction to developing brain cells – instead of adult brain cells – as a potential treatment for a deadly type of brain cancer. In lab and animal experiments, scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California, San Diego, showed – that the virus was able to target and destroy stem cells that drive the growth of a deadly and common type of brain tumor, known as a glioblastoma. "Our study is a first step towards the development of safe and effective strains of Zika virus that could become important tools in neuro-oncology and the treatment of glioblastoma," said study co-leader Michael ... Read more

Related support groups: Brain Tumor, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Insect Bites, Zika Virus Infection

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