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Viral Infection News

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

Posted 6 days ago by Drugs.com

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

Our Gorilla Cousins Harbor Mono-Like Virus, Too

Posted 9 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, July 14, 2017 – Researchers say a herpes virus similar to the Epstein-Barr virus that infects people has been found in mountain gorillas. The discovery may assist in the conservation of critically endangered mountain gorillas, according to scientists at the University of California, Davis. The finding might also benefit people with the Epstein-Barr virus, they said. Epstein-Barr – also called human herpesvirus 4 – infects more than 90 percent of people worldwide, but typically causes no symptoms or serious health consequences. However, it can lead to certain types of cancer in people with HIV/AIDS and weakened immune systems. It's also one of the major causes of mononucleosis, often called the "kissing disease." The researchers analyzed saliva found on plants chewed by mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. They found the gorillas have their own version of this herpes virus. ... Read more

Related support groups: Herpes Zoster, Viral Infection, Diagnosis and Investigation

Experimental Vaccines Might Shield Fetus From Zika

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

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

Experimental Drug Shows Promise Against Dangerous Viruses

Posted 29 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 29, 2017 – An experimental antiviral drug is effective against a number of coronaviruses, including some that can cause deadly epidemics, researchers say. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that infect birds and mammals, including humans. These viruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which has a 10 percent death rate, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which has a 40 percent death rate. Currently, there are no effective antiviral drugs for coronaviruses, the study authors pointed out. In this study, laboratory tests showed that the experimental drug called GS-5734 was effective against SARS, MERS and other coronaviruses. GS-5734 is currently in clinical development for treatment of Ebola virus, the researchers said. The investigators also found that the drug was effective against SARS in mice, according to the study in the June 28 ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Sovaldi, Swine Influenza, Viral Infection, Sofosbuvir, Influenza A, Avian Influenza, Foscarnet, Fuzeon, Fomivirsen, Foscavir, Vitravene, Enfuvirtide

Tissue Testing Can Spot Zika at Birth: CDC

Posted 22 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 22, 2017 – Exposure to the Zika virus in pregnancy can wreak havoc on babies, but diagnosing the infection before birth remains a challenge. Now, there's some good news: U.S. health officials say testing placental and fetal tissue after a child is born can confirm or rule out infection. Such testing found that only 1 in 10 who were in danger of being infected actually were, and infection didn't automatically mean birth defects, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. "Testing of placental tissues from live births can continue to be considered when results of maternal Zika virus testing are not definitive or testing is not performed within the optimal time," said the researchers led by Dr. Sarah Reagan-Steiner, of the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Zika infection is most often spread by ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Infections, Contraception, Delivery, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Cesarean Section, Zika Virus Infection, Wound Infection

It's a Tough Flu Season for Dogs

Posted 14 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 14, 2017 – A highly contagious flu that infects dogs and can be fatal is spreading throughout the United States. "New viruses emerge in animals periodically, and this is an example of a virus that got transmitted from birds to dogs," said Colin Parrish, a professor of virology at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y. "It's a new canine virus." This is an H3N2 flu virus that emerged in Asia in 2005 and spread to the United States, probably in dogs brought over from Korea in 2015, Parrish added. About 80 percent of the dogs that come into contact with this virus catch the flu, according to Dr. Joe Kinnarney, the immediate past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Parrish said it was first seen in Chicago and spread to other areas in the Midwest. Recent outbreaks have occurred in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection

Health Tip: Keep Mosquitos Out of Your Yard

Posted 12 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

-- In addition to being a nuisance and a source of itch, mosquitos can carry a host of serious diseases, including Zika and West Nile. So how do you rid them from your yard? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests: Every week, empty and clean any outside containers that may hold water. These may include trash cans, bird baths or planters. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. If your outside container doesn't have a lid, cover with a wire mesh. Make sure the mesh is smaller than the size of an adult mosquito. If you have a large container that you can't empty, treat it with larvicide (but don't let any person or pet drink the water). Repair any cracks or holes in your septic tank, and cover any plumbing or vent pipes with fine wire mesh. Apply insecticide in your yard. Read more

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

Bats Harbor Viruses That Could Cause Outbreaks in Humans

Posted 12 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 12, 2017 – Bats carry a large diversity of viruses that could potentially cause pandemic outbreaks of serious respiratory diseases in humans, researchers say. Their five-year study covered 20 countries on three continents. The researchers found that bats carry a large number of coronaviruses. This family of viruses causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS). The researchers tested more than 19,000 bats, rodents, primates and people in areas where the risk of animal-to-human coronavirus transmission is greatest. These areas include places where deforestation has occurred, as well as animal sanctuaries and regions popular for ecotourism. The research team identified 100 different coronaviruses. It found that more than 98 percent of the animals harboring these viruses were bats from 282 bat species. High ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Influenza A

Eye Problems May Be Tied to Zika, Lab Study Suggests

Posted 25 May 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 25, 2017 – Scientists exploring how the Zika virus passes from pregnant monkeys to their fetuses believe the infection may be more dangerous to human pregnancies than previously believed. "The results we're seeing in monkey pregnancies make us think that, as they grow, more human babies might develop Zika-related disease pathology than is currently appreciated," said lead researcher Ted Golos. Golos is professor of comparative biosciences and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The researchers came to their conclusions after infecting four pregnant macaque monkeys with levels of the virus roughly equivalent to what they'd get from a mosquito bite. Some monkeys were infected in the first trimester and others in the third trimester of the pregnancies. The scientists found that the virus made its way to each monkey's fetus. "That is a very high ... Read more

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

Zika Arrived in Florida at Least Four Different Ways

Posted 24 May 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 24, 2017 – The 2016 Zika outbreak in Florida wasn't due to a single introduction and spread of the virus, but rather at least four separate events, researchers report. By analyzing the genetic material of Zika viruses found in people and mosquitoes in Florida, the scientists also concluded that local transmission of the Zika virus likely began in spring 2016 before the first local case was confirmed. The researchers said they also discovered that three of the Zika strains that affected Florida spread through the Caribbean islands first before reaching the state. The fourth spread through Central America, the study authors said. Based on their findings, the researchers believe that a similar Zika transmission pattern could happen again this year in Florida. There are a number of reasons why Florida is a likely hotspot for Zika outbreaks in the United States, study ... Read more

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

Zika Mosquito Can Transmit Other Viruses, Too

Posted 19 May 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 19, 2017 – The mosquito species that's the main carrier of the Zika virus might also transmit two other viruses – chikungunya and dengue – in a single bite, researchers report. "A mosquito, in theory, could give you multiple viruses at once," said Claudia Ruckert, a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State University. The findings about the Aedes aegypti mosquito may help improve understanding of what is called coinfection, which may be fairly common in areas with mosquito-borne disease outbreaks. But, while the researchers found that mosquitoes in the lab can transmit all three viruses at once, they said this is probably extremely rare in nature. "Dual infections in humans, however, are fairly common, or more common than we would have thought," said Ruckert, who specializes in arthropod-borne and infectious diseases. The effects of coinfection are unclear, and there is ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Chikungunya Virus Infection, Zika Virus Infection, Dengue Fever

Another Step Toward Ebola Protection

Posted 18 May 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 18, 2017 – On the heels of concerns about a new Ebola outbreak in Africa, scientists say they've discovered the first human antibodies effective against all major Ebola viruses. The findings could lead to the first effective treatments and vaccines, according to the team of academic, industry and government researchers. Analysis of the blood of a survivor of the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in Western Africa led to the discovery. That epidemic caused more than 11,000 deaths and infected more than 29,000 people, the study authors noted. The race to find effective strategies against Ebola has suddenly become more urgent. In recent weeks, the World Health Organization has reported an Ebola outbreak in a remote area of Democratic Republic of Congo. The hemorrhagic disease has killed three there since April 22, and up to 20 cases are suspected, according to news reports. Hundreds ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

New Hepatitis C Infections Hit 15-Year High: CDC

Posted 14 May 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 12, 2017 – Reports of new hepatitis C infections in the United States nearly tripled over five years, reaching a 15-year high, federal government data show. The highest number of new infections were reported among 20- to 29-year-olds. Many stemmed from the growing use of injected drugs linked to the current opioid epidemic, officials said. The number of reported cases rose from 850 in 2010 to 2,436 in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But nearly half of people who have the liver infection don't know it, so most new cases are never reported. The CDC estimated there were actually about 34,000 new hepatitis C infections nationwide in 2015. "We must reach the hardest-hit communities with a range of prevention and treatment services that can diagnose people with hepatitis C and link them to treatment. This wide range of services can also ... Read more

Related support groups: Hepatitis C, Viral Infection, Liver and Pancreatic Disease

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses May Not Be Limited to Tropics

Posted 12 May 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 12, 2017 – Mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika, dengue and chikungunya can be spread in cooler temperatures than previously thought, researchers say. Based on data from Latin America and the Caribbean, transmission of the illnesses is highest at about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts had long believed that 90 degrees F was their peak-transmission temperature. The findings could prove important as climate change causes temperatures to climb, the study authors said. "This means that future transmission is much more likely to occur in subtropical and even temperate areas, such as the southern United States and northern Mexico," study co-author Jeremy Cohen said in a University of South Florida news release. He is a postdoctoral researcher studying integrative biology at USF. Study co-author Jason Rohr, an associate professor of integrative biology at USF, said the findings could ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Chikungunya Virus Infection, Zika Virus Infection, Dengue Fever

Coming This Summer: More Ticks and a Deadly New Tick-Borne Disease

Posted 11 May 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 11, 2017 – Scientists have a double-shot of bad news about ticks: There's a new, and potentially fatal, tick-borne illness called Powassan, and this summer looks like it might be one of the worst on record for an increase in the tick population. "Tick-borne diseases are on the rise, and prevention should be on everyone's mind, particularly during the spring and summer, and early fall when ticks are most active," said Rebecca Eisen. She is a research biologist in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's division of vector-borne diseases. Laura Goodman, a senior research associate in population medicine and diagnostic sciences at Cornell University, concurred. "It's going to be a bad season," she said. Approximately 75 cases of Powassan disease were reported in the United States over the past 10 years. Most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccination

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