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141 Repellent to Compete for Deployed War Fighter Protection (DWFP) Grant

In DEET, Dengue Fever, Lyme Disease, Malaria, Uncategorized, West Nile Virus on July 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm

We hope to compete for this grant to help us further develop our repellent.

From: Burkett, Douglas LtCol OSD ATL
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2011 9:10 AM
Subject: Deployed War Fighter Protection (DWFP) call for Pre-proposals (Suspense: COB 9 Sept 2011)

MEMORANDUM FOR Deployed War Fighter Protection (DWFP) Competitive Grant Pre-proposal submitters July 28 2011

SUBJECT: DWFP Call For FY12 Pre-Proposals (Suspense: COB 9 Sept 2011)

Dear Colleagues,

As the Research Liaison Officer for the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB), I continue to have the distinct pleasure of announcing this year’s call for DWFP pre-proposals for competitive grants. This year we have about $1.0M available for new starts (5-8 new projects). We will consider all applications related to development and testing of public health (PH) related application technologies, pesticides and repellents.

This year’s emphasis will primarily focus on new materials, equipment and application methods targeting mosquitoes, phlebotomine sand flies, and filth flies; new or established pesticides and products used in novel ways; new or improved synergists and formulations; and alternatives to pyrethroids for treatment of clothing for personal protection against biting insects. DWFP is especially amenable to grants that transition products from lab to commercial partners for use by both the military and for general public health vector control purposes.

The official announcement can be found at with the full application, submission details and embedded links for submitting pre-proposals for FY 2012 at: The call for pre-proposals is also posted at Please forward this announcement as appropriate to colleagues and researchers who may not be on the distribution list or in our community.

On behalf of the AFPMB and our deployed forces, we appreciate any of your efforts to develop new tools and products for protection of deployed personnel against vector-borne diseases, with value for wider applications against pests and vectors of public health importance. Should you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly, or our DWFP Technical Consultant, Dr Graham White: office            352-374-5968      , cell             352-328-9473      ,

Most Sincerely,

//Signed/dab/29 July 2011//

Lt Col Douglas A. Burkett, PhD
Research Liaison Officer / Deployed War Fighter Protection (DWFP) Program Manager Armed Forces Pest Management Board, ODUSD (I&E) Forest Glen, Bldg. 172
2461 Linden Lane
Silver Spring, MD 20190-1230
Office:             (301) 295-8315       (DSN 295)
BB:             703 380 0099


Portsmouth, VA asks Academics to Solve Mosquito Woes

In DEET, Lyme Disease, Uncategorized, West Nile Virus on July 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Portsmouth asks academics to solve mosquito woes

The Asian tiger mosquito has plagued Virginia since 1991.

 The Asian tiger mosquito has plagued Virginia since 1991.
The Virginian-Pilot
© June 22, 2011


For years, the city has struggled to fight the salt-marsh mosquito, a pesky bug that swarms Craney Island, keeping residents locked inside their homes. But now, another pest, the Asian tiger mosquito, has plagued the area so badly that Portsmouth has turned to experts at Rutgers University for help.

The mosquitoes are bad all over Hampton Roads, Portsmouth’s mosquito control administrator, George Wojcik, said recently.

There are so many places for them to lie low and reproduce that traditional control methods don’t work, he said.

The black and white insects have been stealthily zipping around Virginia since 1991. They’ve taken up residence in birdbaths, rain gutters, planters and virtually any other water-bearing object. They also love backyards – places that are difficult for the city to reach with truck-mounted sprays, Wojcik said.

Portsmouth residents Jim and Carol Grider said their backyard is particularly where the bugs have been pesky in previous years. Despite diligent efforts to rid their property of water, the mosquitoes regularly breed in the flower pots they keep out back, Jim Grider said.

Asking people to keep their property water-free is unrealistic, said Rutgers associate professor Dr. Dina Fonseca, who is leading the Asian tiger mosquito project from New Jersey. Portsmouth joins about a dozen counties in three other states that are participating in a study to wipe out the problem.

Even the tidiest homeowners can fall victim to a tiger mosquito infestation, she said. Tiny pools of water in the street or a neighbor’s backyard can result in a mosquito problem for an entire community.

“We had prisoners on good behavior come out and clean up alleys and pick up tires and go into houses and clean up everything,” Fonseca said about her testing in New Jersey, “and we ended up concluding that it just doesn’t work.”

Ideas to control the mosquito population include trying to kill the bugs early in the summer, before activity normally peaks, to using a juvenile hormone that would keep the mosquitoes forever young. A mosquito eternally trapped as a child can’t bite, Fonseca said.

The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also is working with Brandeis University economists to measure just how annoyed residents get with mosquitoes and to determine whether they are a problem people actually want solved, Fonseca said.

The answers are easy for the Griders, who are interested to see what the study will show. Their Cavalier Forest neighborhood is one of four Portsmouth communities being tested.

Any solutions, Fonseca and Wojcik warn, are likely years away.

So for now, keep your bug spray handy. You’re going to need it.

Sarah Hutchins,             (757) 446-2326      ,

Pyrethroid Insecticides are Losing Their Edge Against Malaria

In Malaria, Uncategorized on July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Published online 5 July 2011 | Nature 475, 19 (2011) | doi:10.1038/475019a


Mosquitoes score in chemical war

Growing resistance is threatening global malaria-control efforts.

Declan Butler

Key weapons in the fight against malaria, pyrethroid insecticides, are losing their edge. Over the past decade, billions of dollars have been spent on distributing long-lasting pyrethroid-treated bed nets and on indoor spraying. Focused in Africa, where most malaria deaths occur, these efforts have greatly reduced the disease’s toll. But they have also created intense selection pressure for mosquitoes to develop resistance.

Data are coming in thick and fast indicating increasing levels of resistance, and also of resistance in new places,” says Jo Lines, an entomological epidemiologist and head of vector control at the Global Malaria Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO now intends to launch a global strategy to tackle the problem by the end of the year.

Pyrethroids are the mainstay of malaria control because they are safe, cheap, effective and long-lasting. Alternatives such as organophosphates and carbamates are available for indoor spraying, although they cost more and are less effective. But pyrethroids are the only insecticides approved by the WHO for use in bed nets. “We have lots of our eggs in the pyrethroid basket,” says Robert Newman, director of the Global Malaria Programme.

The international community has been slow to respond to the threat despite warnings, says Janet Hemingway, director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK, and chief executive of the non-profit Innovative Vector Control Consortium, a public–private venture set up in 2005 to develop new insecticides and monitoring tools. “A number of us had been banging the drums, saying: ‘As soon as you scale up you are going to get resistance.'” But Lines says that the malaria-control community felt too many lives were at stake to let the threat of resistance stand in the way of massively scaling up the bed-net and spraying campaigns.

Teasing out the impact of resistance on the success of malaria-control interventions is difficult because so many other factors influence their outcome. More systematic and more sophisticated monitoring of resistance is also vital, says Lines. The best surveillance data (see ‘Resistance on the rise’), although useful, do not give a complete picture of where resistance is emerging and how prevalent it is, he says. Malaria-control programmes often lack insect-resistance monitoring, and detection of all forms of resistance is not easy. Quick, cheap tests can pick out gene mutations that help the mosquitoes’ nerve cells withstand pyrethroid attack. But other forms of resistance, which depend on increased levels of mosquito enzymes that can destroy pyrethroids before they reach their target, require more complex tests to detect (H. Ranson et al. Trends Parasitol. 27, 91–98; 2011).

But uncertainties about the extent of resistance or its impact are “no excuse for inaction”, says Newman, arguing that the proposed WHO strategy needs to be urgently implemented, and also rolled out preemptively in places where resistance has yet to be detected. The WHO’s plan will recommend, for example, that control programmes rotate insecticides sprayed indoors, using pyrethroids one year and a different class the next. This would be more costly and less effective than relying only on pyrethroids, however, so control programmes may be reluctant to adopt this measure.

Lines says that new combinations of insecticides also need to be developed, so that mosquitoes resistant to one would be killed by the other. In areas where pyrethroid bed nets are used, a different class of insecticides should be used for wall spraying, he adds.

Ultimately, entirely new classes of insecticides — particularly those that can be applied to bed nets — are needed to alleviate the dependence of malaria-control efforts on pyrethroids. For indoor spraying, some longer-lasting and more cost-effective non-pyrethroid insecticides should be available by next year, Hemingway says, although developing wholly new classes will take five to seven years. Repurposed agricultural insecticides might also act as a stopgap were resistance to pyrethroids to develop rapidly. Research targeting mosquito control is “grossly underfunded” compared with that on malaria drugs and vaccines, she adds, which is why control efforts have had so few options to call on.

Aggressive and Hard to Kill: Two Asian Mosquito Cityslickers Swarm the East Coast

In Uncategorized, West Nile Virus on July 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

Wall Street Journal

JULY 20, 2011

Attack of the Urban Mosquitoes

Aggressive and Hard to Kill: Two Asian Cityslickers Swarm the East Coast

The latest scourge crossing the country has a taste for the big city.

The Asian tiger mosquito, named for its distinctive black-and-white striped body, is a relatively new species to the U.S. that is more vicious, harder to kill and, unlike most native mosquitoes, bites during the daytime. It also prefers large cities over rural or marshy areas—thus earning the nickname among entomologists as “the urban mosquito.”

“Part of the reason it is called ‘tiger’ is also because it is very aggressive,” says Dina Fonseca, an associate professor of entomology at Rutgers University. “You can try and swat it all you want, but once it’s on you, it doesn’t let go. Even if it goes away, it will be back for a bite.”

Swat Team: What Works

Insect repellents

  • Look for brands containing DEET, such as Off! Deep Woods, and products containing Picaridin, such as Cutter Skinsations.
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a repellent that uses natural materials.


  • For the Asian tiger, use a mosquito trap that emits carbon dioxide (Dragonfly II shown at left.) Add what’s called a lure that contains lactic acid to attract daytime mosquitoes. Lures with octenol attract other mosquito species.
  • Sources: Dr. Bruce Robinson; Ron Crittenden, owner of; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


  • Here are some ways to ease the pain of mosquito bites, according to Bruce Robinson, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
  • In general, treating with heat or cold can offer relief by confusing the brain, he says. It’s like when you hit your knee and then rub it to make it hurt less. “Even though it doesn’t actually hurt less, the sensation of touch reaches your brain earlier than the pain, and you feel that it helps with the hurt,” he says.


  • Ice. An ice pack decreases inflammation and reduces itching.
  • Anti-itch lotions. Creams containing 1% hydrocortisone reduce inflammation. Products that contain camphor and menthol, such as Sarna, also help. To boost the effect, store the lotions in the refrigerator. (Note: Calamine lotion dries out the affected area and therefore is not recommended.)
  • Benadryl. It stops the release of histamine, which triggers inflammation.
  • Therapik. This device, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, delivers heat to the affected area to reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Toothpaste. It helps, but only if it contains menthol.


  • Paste of baking soda and water
  • Apple-cider vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Deodorant
  • Bleach
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Fabric-softener dryer sheets

Sources: Dr. Bruce Robinson; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Fonseca is leading a U.S. Department of Agriculture effort to develop a cost-effective method to control the Asian tiger mosquito(Aedes albopictus) population. The university is currently focusing on using larvacides, which render larvae incapable of growing into adults.

Since urban areas tend to be warmer—often by 5 to 10 degrees—than rural areas, cities are seeing tiger mosquitoes earlier and sticking around longer, often into October.

“The Asian tiger mosquito arrived this year in June—three months earlier than last year,” says Wayne Andrews, superintendent of the Bristol County Mosquito Control Project in Taunton, Mass.

The species has been traced to 1985, when a ship arrived in Texas loaded with used truck tires, perhaps from Japan, which is a major used-tire exporter, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The eggs hatched when they were exposed to water. Since then, the species has made its way from Texas to Florida and up the East Coast, says Gary G. Clark, a research leader with the Agriculture Department. “Now, more than half of the states have this aggressive species,” he says.

Another species imported from Asia is the rock pool mosquito (Aedes japonicus), which also came to the U.S. through the tire trade, experts say. This species is blackish-brown, with white scales on the lower part of its thorax and legs. It was first detected on Long Island, N.Y., and in areas of New Jersey in 1997, according to Dr. Fonseca. “Even though it is not as vicious a biter as the Asian tiger mosquito, it is a big pest,” she says.

These urban mosquitoes are what entomologists call “container mosquitoes.” Instead of marshes and natural bodies of water, both Asian tiger and rock pool mosquitoes can breed in small, artificial containers, such as tires, toys, cans and concrete structures. “A rule of thumb for container mosquitoes is: Water plus seven days equals mosquitoes,” Dr. Fonseca says.

Weather patterns can help Asian tigers readily spread beyond the Northeast. “As a result of climate change, the summer lasts longer and arrives earlier,” says Andrew Comrie, a climatologist at the University of Arizona. Eggs of Asian tiger and rock pool mosquitoes are also able to “overwinter,” meaning they can survive a cold, dry climate—all they need is exposure to water in warmer temperatures.

The Asian tiger was responsible for transmitting more than 200 cases of dengue fever, a sometimes-fatal viral infection, in Hawaii in 2001-02. A similar (but less lethal) virus called chikungunya was transmitted in France and Italy, but no cases have been cited in the U.S. from the Asian tiger. Likewise, the rock pool mosquito is capable of transmitting the West Nile virus, but no cases have been traced to the species in the U.S., Dr. Fonseca says.

That does little to take the sting out of their bites. Irritation and itching are the body’s allergic reaction to the protein secreted from the female mosquito when it bites.

Cities that spray for mosquitoes may find these latest breeds tough to tackle. “The usual methods of spraying cannot control the population of these species because their preferred breeding areas are difficult to reach,” says Mr. Andrews, the Massachusetts mosquito-control agent.

Moreover, the optimum conditions for spraying are early evening, after these mosquitoes retire. Also, Dr. Fonseca, the Rutgers entomologist, explains that spraying kills only the adult mosquitoes and not the eggs or larvae.

To reduce the chances of getting bitten, remove containers that have standing water in them. The best personal protection comes from products that contain DEET. The chemical has been controversial, but “as long as you don’t bathe in DEET or inhale too much of it, you should be fine,” says Bruce Robinson, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Since the tiger is a low-flying mosquito, keep ankles and legs covered. Also, the Asian tiger is a very visual mosquito, Dr. Fonseca says. “If you wear dark-colored clothes, you will be inviting it to bite you.

Malaria – on the long, slow but steady road to elimination

In Malaria, Uncategorized on July 14, 2011 at 7:34 am

A new report on malaria research says funding has risen dramatically and should lead to new drugs, vaccines and other weapons for the fight against malaria within a few years

  • malaria nets
More than 100m long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed in the fight against malaria. Photograph: Kim Ludbrook/EPA

Amid all the gloomy talk of economic recession and dire warnings that the amount of money available for development aid is going to shrink, a report on the state of malaria research out on Tuesday is refreshingly upbeat. Investment has more than quadrupled in the past 16 years, it says, from $121m in 1993 to $612m in 2009. Yes, malaria is a massive health burden in many countries and was neglected for decades. But, it goes on – and this is worth quoting because it’s a rare moment of good news:

Fortunately, a dramatic increase in support for R&D since the mid-1990s means funders are now well on the way to achieving global malaria control, treatment and elimination goals and, with maintained commitment, should reap the rewards in the next five to six years.

The report comes from six different major organisations, including the Malaria Vaccine Initiative and Medicines for Malaria Venture. Speaking to Professor Awa Marie Coll-Seck, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria partnership, which co-ordinates the global effort, I was keen to know whether this means that the mosquito-borne disease that kills 750,000 a year – mostly small children – in developing countries is on the way out.

In the last few years, she said, the roll-out of bed nets to protect against mosquito bites at night, indoor spraying with insecticide, and better access to good treatment has enabled 40 countries to cut malaria deaths and cases by 50%. “This has put it in the minds of all people that it is possible to defeat this disease and have, one day, a malaria-free world,” she said.

Some countries have eliminated malaria completely – such as Morocco in the last two years. Others are making impressive progress, such as South Africa and Swaziland, where cases have dropped by 90%. This is the way it has to happen, with one region or country after another eliminating the disease. It will take time. “We will one day go towards eradication, but it is not now,” said Coll-Seck. “We are not saying tomorrow we will eradicate malaria. We have a long way to go. We need new tools and the financing of malaria must be sustained.”

Of course, the only disease the world has managed to eradicate is smallpox and that was thanks to a vaccine. Polio is forever tantalisingly close and never quite there, because not only a vaccine is needed but the capacity and will and money to reach all children with the vaccine. Huge efforts continue to be made in the remaining pockets – I saw the impressive mobilisation myself in India a year and a half ago(this is the piece I wrote). But even where eradication is elusive, vaccines can drastically cut the death toll of infectious diseases.

So one of the tools Coll-Seck mentions is indeed a vaccine. One of the big surges in malaria research funding has been for the development of GlaxoSmithKline‘s RTS,S vaccine, which is now in final trials in Africa and may give children 50% to 60% protection, we hope. Between 2004 and 2009, says the report, 28% of malaria research funding has gone into vaccines, with 38% into drugs, 23% to basic research but only 4% into vector control products – essentially new insecticides to replace the cheap but controversial DDT, which causes environmental damage if used outside – and 1% into new diagnostics. That reflects “donor funding preferences”, the report says. The two latter areas badly need more money, says Coll-Seck.

Once again, it is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that has led from the wallet. Two organisations – the foundation and the US National Institutes of Health – “provided a striking half of global malaria R&D funding in 2007-09, and were responsible for 85% of the global increase in malaria funding”, says the report.

So what are the hurdles ahead, I asked Coll-Seck. Sustained finance is still the number one priority, she says. Funding overall for malaria (not just research) plateaued in 2010. Some 70% of it comes through the the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is struggling to keep donations up. The second issue is resistance to the only drug that works well – artemisinin – which has been found on the Thai/Cambodia border, underlining the need for new drugs and the importance of using those we have properly. And the third, she says, is maintaining a strong and well co-ordinated partnership between all the countries and organisations involved in the fight against malaria.

So there is much more to do and much further to go, and eradication may be no more than a distant dream – but heartening to see such progress.

Philadelphia police working to arrest bedbugs

In Bed Bugs on July 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm

A bedbug infestation is a worst nightmare at home, and at hotels, but what about the police station? Police have called an exterminator to the Harbison and Levick street station to deal with a possible case of bed bugs.

Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Roosevelt Poplar says the building is a busy one–with prisoners, and hundreds of officers from the 2nd and 15th Police Districts, and the Northeast Detective Division.

“The 15th District is a closed circuit facility which means that they do processing of prisoners and they all transport prisoners from that locations down to the Police Detention Unit,” said Poplar. “It’s possible that the bedbugs can travel either on a prisoner or on officers.”

“Malaria bednets (should be used) to protect themselves… not as chicken cages or garden fences,”

In Malaria on July 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Malaria Fight Hits Snag

Amos Nyambane | 29 Jun 2011
An NGO yesterday said mosquito nets are being misused in Kisii and Nyamira counties. The organisation said this is hampering the campaign against malaria in the areas. “The misuse of mosquito nets is greatly affecting the malaria campaigns in the regions. People must understand that they are issued with the nets to protect themselves from the disease not as chicken cages or garden fences,” said Douglas Mobasi, Perlin Project manager.

Mobasi said the a rapid assessment survey carried out by the organization in March this year, revealed that some locals avoid using the nets claiming allergy. “Over 80 percent of locals had nets but a section of them never used the gadgets because lacked beds to hang them. Others hid them under the pretext they were uncomfortable thus hindering the fight against the ailment,” he said.

Mobasi said the predominance rate of malaria in the region declined with 86 percent of children below five years and 73 percent of pregnant women sleeping under the nets in that order. Addressing a one day stakeholder’s workshop at Dado Hotel in Kisii, the manager challenged the locals having the nets to use them for the prevention of malaria.

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