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Dengue spreading fast, says WHO

In Dengue Fever, Uncategorized on January 21, 2013 at 8:35 am

January 20, 2013 in Health & Fitness

Dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a “pandemic threat,” infecting an estimated 50 million people across all continents, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Report by Reuters

Transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes, the disease is occurring more widely due to increased movement of people and goods — including carrier objects such as bamboo plants and used tyres — as well as floods linked to climate change, the United Nations agency said.

The viral disease, which affected only a handful of areas in the 1950s, is now present in more than 125 countries — significantly more than malaria, historically the most notorious mosquito-borne disease.

The most advanced vaccine against dengue is only 30% effective, trials last year showed.

“In 2012, dengue ranked as the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease with an epidemic potential in the world, registering a 30-fold increase in disease incidence over the past 50 years,” the WHO said in a statement.

Late last year, Europe suffered its first sustained outbreak since the 1920s, with 2 000 people infected on the Portuguese Atlantic island of Madeira.

Worldwide, two million cases of dengue are reported each year by 100 countries, mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, causing 5 000 to 6 000 deaths, said Raman Velayudhan, a specialist at the WHO’s control of neglected tropical diseases department.

But the true number is far higher as the disease has spread exponentially and is now present on all continents, he said.

“The WHO estimates that on average about 50 million cases occur every year. This is a very conservative estimate,” Velayudhan said, adding that some independent studies put the figure at 100 million.

“Dengue is the most threatening and fastest spreading mosquito-borne disease. It is pandemic-prone, but it is a threat only. Definitely a bigger threat now than ever,” he said

Malaria caused more deaths but was on the decline, affecting fewer than 100 countries.

Speaking to a news briefing after the WHO released a report on 17 neglected tropical diseases affecting 1 billion people, Velayudhan said: “The mosquito has silently expanded its distribution.

“So today you have [the] aedes mosquito in over 150 countries. The threat of dengue exists all across the globe.”

In Europe, the aedes mosquitoes that cause both dengue and chikungya disease have spread to 18 countries, often via the importation of ornamental bamboo or second-hand tires, he said.

“But we are trying to address this in a more systematic way, by controlling entry of vectors at points of entry — seaports, airports, as well as the ground crossings,” Velayudhan said, noting that it was hard to detect mosquitoes and their eggs.

The WHO also said it aimed to eliminate globally two neglected tropical diseases, dracunculiasis, known as guinea worm disease, in 2015, and yaws, or treponematoses, in 2020.

Symptoms of dengue

Dengue causes flu-like symptoms that subside in a few days in some sufferers. But the severe form of the disease requires hospitalisation for complications, including severe bleeding, that may be lethal.

There is no specific treatment but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below 1%, according to the Geneva-based WHO.

“You have to bear in mind that it has no treatment and vaccines are still in the research stage,” Velayudhan said.

The most advanced, being developed by French drugmaker Sanofi SA, proved only 30% effective in a large clinical trial in Thailand, far less than hoped, according to results published in September.

But researchers said it did show for the first time that a safe vaccine was possible.

Mosquito-Borne Disease Alert Issued in Walton County. Florida

In West Nile Virus on December 2, 2012 at 8:12 am

The Walton County Health Department continues its mosquito-borne illness alert for Walton County, Florida. The fourth human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) has been confirmed in Walton County.

The possibility that others may become infected with the virus remains extremely high, and the health department strongly encourages the public to continue to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes infected with WNV can bite and infect humans. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop serious illness. Symptoms of West Nile Virus may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. Those individuals who develop a fever or other signs of illness following a mosquito bite should consult with their health care provider. Health care providers should contact either health department if they suspect an individual may be infected with a mosquito-borne illness.

The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. The best preventive measure for residents living in areas infested with mosquitoes is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays her eggs, primarily artificial containers that hold water.

 

http://m.wmbb.com/wmbbnews13/pm_106442/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=PvpbutCR&rwthr=0

Dengue Fever Confirmed in Florida

In Dengue Fever, Uncategorized on October 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

MIAMI (AP) — South Florida health officials say they’ve confirmed the state’s first case of dengue fever this year in a 7-year-old girl.

The Miami-Dade County Health Department said Thursday that the girl had not been traveling and contracted the flu-like illness in Florida. She has recovered.

Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a species common in the southeastern U.S. and the tropics. It’s sometimes called “breakbone fever” because of the severe joint pain it can cause in extreme cases.

Dengue fever was once thought eradicated in the U.S. No cases were reported in Florida for more than half a century until a small number of people were diagnosed with the illness in 2009 and 2010.

Health officials say residents can protect themselves by reducing their exposure to mosquitos.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012/09/27/dengue-fever-confirmed-in-florida-girl/57848484/1

Facing anti-malaria nets, mosquitoes alter habits

In Malaria, Uncategorized on September 24, 2012 at 9:06 am

“They found that mosquitoes seemed to change their hours of “peak aggression” from 2 or 3 a.m. to around 5 a.m. three years after nets were put up. And in one village, the proportion of mosquito bites inflicted outdoors rose.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/20/health-malaria-idINL4E8KK00520120920

West Nile Outbreak Grows, nearly 700 cases reported

In Uncategorized, West Nile Virus on August 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm
Posted: Aug 15, 2012 4:40 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 18, 2012 7:00 AM EDT
 
(NBC) – West Nile virus is spreading faster than it has in previous summers.

The number of cases now nears 700, with nearly 30 deaths reported.

Jordan Connor, 14, of Texas is home from the hospital, recovering from a severe West Nile infection that led to encephalitis – inflammation of the brain.

She’s young and strong enough to recover.

Others, especially elderly patients, have not been as lucky.

Betty West’s husband of 65 years was the first one in North Carolina to die of the mosquito-borne disease this season.

“He had gotten so weak, we could barely get him out of the house,” she said.

Climate experts say the mild winter and rainy spring became the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, who get the virus from birds.

Although mosquitoes thrive on standing water, the drought has added to the problem.

“With fewer water sources, mosquitoes and birds find themselves closer together,” said Vanderbilt University’s Dr. William Schaffner.

So it’s been easier for mosquitoes to get infected, then transmit the virus to people.

Experts recommend using insect repellent outdoors, draining areas of standing water, and wearing long sleeves and pants when outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

Most West Nile victims have no symptoms and recover quickly.

http://www.kplctv.com/story/19287485/west-nile-outbreak-grows-30-deaths-reported

Residents of Key West have a choice: Dengue or GMO mosquitoes?

In Dengue Fever, Uncategorized on July 23, 2012 at 7:18 am
By Philip Bump
Floridians don’t like dengue fever. No one does: it’s a painful ailment spread by mosquitoes that results in skin rash, achiness, sometimes a little bit of death. Oxitec, a biotechnology firm based in the U.K., has a possible solution: mosquitoes engineered to die before they can spread the disease.Turns out that Floridians don’t particularly care for bioengineered mosquitoes, either. From Nature:

[I]t took only three months for Mila de Mier to gather 100,000 names from people opposed to the release of the mosquitoes in Key West, Florida, where the potentially lethal disease is making a comeback. …

“The more questions we ask, the more confused we are,” says de Mier, a Key West business woman, who started the petition in April. “I started thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, what if these mosquitoes bite my boys or my dogs? What will they do to the ecosystem?’.”

The good news for de Mier’s boys and dogs is that Oxitec’s mosquitoes are all male and therefore don’t bite. They live short lives mating with the native population, passing on the self-destruct gene. In field tests conducted in Brazil, introduction of Oxitec’s mosquitoes dropped the population in a small area by 85 percent in one year. That could make a difference against a disease that’s already established a foothold. A 2010 study found that 5 percent of Key West residents already carry the virus. The existing method used to stem transmission, as The New Yorker notes, is to dump insecticide over wide swaths of the area.

Short of moving (might we suggest Southern California? It has none of the tropical climate and all of the access to Disney), residents of Key West are left with this choice: suffer from the effects of dengue fever, expose large portions of the population to insecticide, or release genetically modified mosquitoes.

http://grist.org/news/residents-of-key-west-have-a-choice-dengue-fever-or-gmo-mosquitoes/

Mosquito Warning for Montanans

In DEET, Lyme Disease, Uncategorized, West Nile Virus on July 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Posted: July 19, 2012 10:59 AM by Melissa Anderson (Helena)

Mosquitoes are loving the recent weather conditions in Montana, and while the pesky insects are mostly annoying, they can also spread a dangerous virus.

Montana health officials are cautioning people to be aware that mosquito bites can carry West Nile virus, and besides using mosquito repellent, there are some other ways people can protect themselves.

Lewis & Clark County public health nurse Mike Henderson said, “You can prevent bites of course by covering up your skin. Long sleeves, long pants, especially at dusk and dawn. And if we can take measures to prevent where mosquitoes are going to be able to breed. Drain any standing water around your place at least once a week.”

Infection by West Nile virus occurs in about three to 14 days after being bitten and while most people who get bit won’t have any symptoms, some people may develop a headache, fever, fatigue and joint stiffness.

http://www.kxlh.com/news/mosquito-warning-for-montanans/

Mosquito awareness week nationwide next week June 18, 2012

In DEET, Dengue Fever, Malaria, West Nile Virus on June 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

From June 24 to June 30, residents and business officials of Fort Myers Beach are asked to be more aware of the five D’s of protection during Mosquito Awareness Week.

The five D’s are: don’t go outdoors at Dusk and Dawn when mosquitos are most active; to protect against bites, Dress so your skin is covered with clothing; empty containers and Drain stagnant water; and protect bare skin and clothing with DEET mosquito repellent.

Controlling mosquitoes is important. Make sure to check standing water or any possible containers holding water. Try to check after rainstorms, for these potential hazards that will attract mosquitoes. Also, wear mosquito repellent and cover up with as much clothing as possible, especially between dusk and dawn, to help prevent being bitten by these pesky bugs.

http://www.fort-myers-beach-observer.com/page/content.detail/id/520788/Mosquito-awareness-week-nationwide-next-week.html?nav=5051

Mosquitoes mob Green Valley in Washington; residents organize to zap swarms

In DEET, West Nile Virus on June 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Workers and farming families in the Green Valley in Yakima County are trying to start a mosquito-control service area or join an existing district. They say the bugs are biting into worker safety, the bottom line and human health.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2018461432_mosquitoes18m.html

New Fabric Embedded with Mosquito Repellent

In Dengue Fever, Malaria on May 7, 2012 at 7:52 am

Two Cornell University researchers from Africa recently created a hooded body suit molecularly embedded with an insecticide to repel mosquitoes that could carry the malaria virus.

Although insecticide-treated bed nets are common in areas where malaria is endemic, the prototype garment can be worn during the day and the active ingredient will not dissipate as does skin-based repellents, according to RDMag.com.

The repellent and the fabric are bonded at the nanolevel, using what are called metal organic framework molecules. These MOF’s are clustered crystalline compounds that can hold three times the insecticide of a normal fibrous net.

“The bond on our fabric is very difficult to break,” Kenya native Frederick Ochanda, a post-doctoral associate in fiber science and apparel design, said, RDMag.com reports. “The nets in use now are dipped in a solution and not bonded in this way, so their effectiveness doesn’t last very long.

“Seeing malaria’s effect on people in Kenya, it’s very important for me to apply fiber science to help this problem. A long-term goal of science is to be able to come up with solutions to help protect human health and life, so this project is very fulfilling for me.”

Ochanda said that he hopes to aid in the development of an MOF fabric that can release repellent in response to changes in light or temperature. Wearers could use more protection at night when mosquitoes are increasingly active.

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