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Sound the Mosquito Alarm, Across the USA

Posted 1 day 3 hours ago by

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 4 days ago by

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 8 days ago by

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 17 days ago by

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

How to Prevent, and Treat, Lyme Disease in People and Pets

Posted 19 days ago by

SATURDAY, Sept. 2, 2017 – If you're planning to be outdoors this holiday weekend, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants you to know that ticks are most active during the summer months. Campers, hikers and gardeners are among those at greatest risk of tick bites. Ticks are transported by deer and mice, which thrive in suburban and wooded areas, the agency warned. And, they hang around for most of autumn and even into winter if the weather is mild. Ticks can bite anywhere on the body but they are most often found in moist or hairy places. The FDA noted, however, that ticks need to feed on their host for 24 to 48 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease. There are no vaccines in the United States that protect against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, and these infections are on the rise, the FDA said. There were 40,000 cases reported in 2015 alone – up from just 12,000 ... Read more

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

Pediatric Treatment Approved for 'Kissing Bug' Disease

Posted 30 Aug 2017 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30, 2017 – Benznidazole has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat the tropical parasitic infection Chagas, or "kissing bug" disease, in children aged 2 to 12. "The FDA is committed to making available safe and effective therapeutic options to treat tropical diseases," said Dr. Edward Cox, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Chagas, also called American trypanosomiasis, may be spread through contact with insect feces, during blood transfusion or from a mother to child during pregnancy, the FDA said in a news release Tuesday. Left untreated, it can lead to serious heart problems, and affect swallowing and digestion. An estimated 300,000 people in the United States are believed to be infected with Chagas, the FDA said. In clinical testing, 55 percent to 60 percent of people treated ... Read more

Related support groups: Insect Bites, Benznidazole

FDA Approves Benznidazole, The First Treatment for 'Kissing Bug' Illness in Children

Posted 30 Aug 2017 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30, 2017 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug to treat Chagas infection – "kissing bug" disease – in the United States. Under its accelerated approval process, the agency on Tuesday OK'd use of benznidazole for children aged 2 to 12 who have Chagas disease. The infection is caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted by infected triatomine bugs. The insects feed on the blood of humans (and animals) at night. Because it often bites near the eye or mouth, it's been dubbed the "kissing bug." According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bug defecates while feeding, generally when someone is sleeping. The infection is spread if the feces is rubbed into the bite or mucous membranes. Chagas disease is also transmitted through blood transfusions, or from a mother to her child during pregnancy, the ... Read more

Related support groups: Insect Bites, Benznidazole

Zika Hijacks Pregnant Woman's Immune System

Posted 21 Aug 2017 by

MONDAY, Aug. 21, 2017 – The Zika virus thrives in pregnant women by suppressing their already dampened immune systems and running roughshod over their body's natural defenses, which allows the virus to directly attack the fetus, a new study reports. A woman's immune system naturally suppresses itself during pregnancy to keep the body from recognizing the fetus as a foreign body and attacking it, explained senior researcher Jae Jung, chair of the department of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. Zika hijacks this process, turning off most of a pregnant woman's immune defense so the virus can spread unhindered, Jung said. "The virus really tricks the host's immune system," Jung said. "It commandeers the pregnant woman's immune strategy to protect the fetus and utilizes that strategy for its own benefit." This helps ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

'Herd Immunity' May Be Curbing U.S. Zika Numbers

Posted 17 Aug 2017 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16, 2017 – The number of Zika infections has dropped dramatically in Florida this summer, and scientists say herd immunity may be the reason why. In practical terms, herd immunity means that people traveling to the United States from South America and the Caribbean may have been infected with Zika in the past, but they can no longer pass the virus on to mosquitoes that might pass it on to local residents. "People that were infected before can't be infected again. That's our understanding," Dr. Henry Walke, incident manager for Zika response at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Miami Herald. The latest statistics in Florida seem to bear that theory out: The number of Zika cases reported in the state this year has reached 140, a drastic decrease from nearly 1,500 in 2016, Florida health officials report. At the time of the Florida outbreak, the ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Hydrocephalus, Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

Health Tip: Apply Bug Spray Properly

Posted 14 Aug 2017 by

-- Keeping you and your kids itch-free by applying bug repellant can also keep away nasty mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika and West Nile. Here's how to apply bug spray properly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: Follow the product label's instructions carefully. Do not apply bug spray to the eyes, nose or mouth. Put repellant on your own hands, then apply to a child's face and neck. Don't use bug spray on an open wound or irritated skin. Don't use bug spray on babies who are less than 2 months old. Read more

Related support groups: Insect Bites, Diethyltoluamide

Zika Virus Tied to Neurological Woes in Adults

Posted 14 Aug 2017 by

MONDAY, Aug. 14, 2017 – Adults infected with the Zika virus can develop a number of serious neurological conditions, a new study finds. Until now, the most troubling Zika-related illness in adults has been Guillain-Barre syndrome, which causes muscle weakness and paralysis. A review of 35 Zika-infected patients in Brazil with neurological symptoms found that most had Guillain-Barre. But other neurological conditions were also discovered, most often inflammation and swelling of the brain and spinal cord. "Overall, the risk of Guillain-Barre for a person who contracts Zika is probably still very low, but it's important to know there's neurological conditions associated with Zika virus," said study co-author Dr. Jennifer Frontera. She's chief of neurology for NYU Lutheran Medical Center in New York City. Frontera and other infectious disease experts said pregnant women still carry the ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Neurologic Disorder, Insect Bites, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Zika Virus Infection

Health Tip: Avoiding Animal Bites

Posted 11 Aug 2017 by

-- Wild animals seldom bite people unless they are threatened or sick, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Most animal bites are caused by a pet – yours or someone else's. To help prevent animal bites, the CDC suggests: Never pet or feed an animal that you don't know. If your child is near an animal, watch the child closely. Spay your dog, which should make the dog less aggressive. Vaccinate your pets against rabies. Wear boots and long pants if you're anywhere near poisonous snakes. Read more

Related support groups: Insect Bites, Venomous Snake Bite, Rabies Prophylaxis, Venomous Spider Bite

Zika Probably Not Spread Through Saliva: Study

Posted 1 Aug 2017 by

TUESDAY, Aug. 1, 2017 – Scientists have some interesting news about Zika: You're unlikely to get the virus from kissing or sharing utensils with someone. A new study with monkeys suggests that Zika doesn't appear to be transmitted through saliva. "If passing the virus by casual contact were easy, I think we would see a lot more of what we would call secondary transmission in a place like the United States," said lead researcher Tom Friedrich, from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But we're not seeing clinically apparent spread of Zika throughout the continental U.S. without the presence of the mosquitoes that carry the virus, and our study helps to put into context some of the transmission risk," he added in a university news release. Mosquitoes are the main cause of Zika infection in people. After infection, the virus remains in blood and ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

Many Americans Unaware of This Year's Heavy Tick Season: Poll

Posted 17 Jul 2017 by

MONDAY, July 17, 2017 – Most Americans know that ticks can make them sick, and many take steps to avoid them. But few know that this summer could be a particularly bad one for tick bites, a new HealthDay/Harris Poll shows. Scientists have predicted an upswing in the tick population this summer, which could potentially mean more tick-borne infections. Lyme disease is the most common of those illnesses, but the bugs can transmit a host of other, sometimes deadly, infections. One example is Powassan virus. It's rare, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: There have been about 75 cases reported in the United States in the past decade – mostly in the Northeast and in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Often, Powassan causes no symptoms, the CDC says. When symptoms do strike, they include fever, vomiting, confusion and seizures. The infection can also cause potentially ... Read more

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

Experimental Vaccines Might Shield Fetus From Zika

Posted 13 Jul 2017 by

THURSDAY, July 13, 2017 – Two experimental vaccines might help protect human fetuses against the Zika virus, a new mouse study suggests. Researchers found female mice that were vaccinated before they got pregnant had babies with no sign of Zika infection. "There are several vaccines in human trials right now, but to date, none of them has been shown to protect during pregnancy. We tested two different vaccines, and they both provided substantial protection," said co-senior study author Dr. Michael Diamond, a professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Though Zika doesn't make most people seriously ill, it can be devastating for fetuses, causing problems with brain development, including an abnormally small head. Zika can also restrict babies' growth in the womb or trigger a miscarriage, researchers said. The team tested the ability of two experimental vaccines ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection

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