Carolina Wild Muscadine Juice

Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

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

Advertisements

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

‘Robo-mosquitoes’ in Margaritaville?

In Dengue Fever, Lyme Disease, Uncategorized on August 13, 2012 at 8:43 am

BY DAVID REJESKI AND ELEONORE PAUWELS

Most Europeans see the United States as the land that embraces genetic engineering. So imagine the surprise when a British firm — Oxitec — ran into the buzz saw of public opinion trying to introduce a genetically modified (GM) mosquito in Key West to eradicate the dreaded Dengue virus.

Within a few weeks of a public meeting to discuss the mosquito release, a petition against the initiative had more than 100,000 signatories. [The entire population of Monroe County, which encompasses The Keys, is only about 75,000.] Key West inhabitants have branded Oxitec mosquitoes with names like “Robo-Frankenstein mosquitoes,” “mutant mosquitoes,” and “Super bugs,” using rhetoric lifted from movies like Jurassic Park and The Hunger Games.

Are people overreacting? Maybe. But a closer read of many of the comments posted on the petition website provide a deeper insight into the resistance and some key lessons for future technologies dependent on genetic engineering.

•  Trust. Whether the public trusts new technologies often depends on whether the public trusts their developers or those responsible for ensuring public safety. The comments contain numerous references not just to Oxitec, but to agriculture giant Monsanto, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and British Petroleum: “I am fed up with Monsanto and other biotech companies,” said one.

Given the complexity of most emerging technologies, many people will fall back on this simple trust test, and most corporations, and increasingly, government organizations, will lose.

•  Nature. Many people saw the GM mosquitoes as a violation of nature’s order, commenting, “Why do all these big companies all seem to think that they know what’s better than Mother Nature?” “You can’t mess with Mother Nature and not have something bad happen; they don’t know what they’re doing!”

Commenters pointed to a number of examples, including invasive species common in Florida, such as the melaleuca plant (originally introduced to dry out swampy land) and giant pythons, and other unwelcome visitors like Africanized honeybees, the Mediterranean fruit fly (a scourge in California) and Asian beetles and carp. People emphasized that a true “test release” is impossible. “Once living organisms are released into the environment they cannot be recalled, nor do we know what results and impacts may occur,” one commenter said.

•  Permission. Decades of research on risk perceptions have shown that people differentiate between “voluntary” risks, which we willfully undertake, and “non-voluntary” risks, which are imposed upon us. People will smoke themselves to death while fighting against a nearby factory emitting pollutants.

In this case, Key West inhabitants clearly saw the government and the company imposing their will on the population. “We were never asked if we wanted GMOs released into our environment . . . there is very little democracy left if we have no voice,” one commenter said. Another asked, “Who wants to be a human Guinea pig?” Another added, “We are not lab rats!”

Interestingly, the other side of the risk equation, Dengue fever, was never mentioned. This may be because the actual number of cases in Florida totaled seven in 2011 and 58 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the tropics and subtropics, as many as 100 million people are infected yearly, but for many people in Florida, Dengue fever is an abstraction; Oxitec and their mosquitoes pose the risk.

Clearly, there was a significant lack of information about impacts and uncertainties in the Key West case. Some people asked: “Where is the unbiased, third-party, peer-reviewed research on effectiveness and safety of GM mosquitoes?” But given the biases, trust deficit, and dynamics of the situation, it is doubtful whether more information would have reduced public opposition.

As scientists work on more dramatic modifications of organisms in areas like synthetic biology, the Key West case should serve as a lesson, as should the growing public opposition to GM foods in states like California, Michigan, Oregon, Washington and Vermont.

Getting the science right won’t help if we get the public engagement wrong.

David Rejeski is the director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholar’s Science & Technology Innovation Program. Eleonore Pauwels is a research scholar with the program.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/13/2945313/robo-mosquitoes-in-margaritaville.html

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/

Why Bedbugs Won’t Die

In Bed Bugs on January 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm

 

The first comprehensive genetic study of bedbugs, the irritating pests that have enjoyed a world-wide resurgence in recent years, indicates they are quickly evolving to withstand the pesticides used to combat them.

The new findings from entomologists at Ohio State University, reported Wednesday online in PLoS One, show that bedbugs may have boosted their natural defenses by generating higher levels of enzymes that can cleanse them of poisons.

In New York City, bedbugs now are 250 times more resistant to the standard pesticide than bedbugs in Florida, due to changes in a gene controlling the resilience of the nerve cells targeted by the insecticide, researchers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst recently reported.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703951704576092302399464190.html

Cholera and Dengue Fever: Florida health officials issue warnings of two diseases

In Dengue Fever on November 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

State health workers say it’s official: Florida is now witnessing incidents of two diseases we haven’t experienced in years, if not decades. “It’s of course important for Floridians in all parts of the state, but especially South Florida,” says Dr. Carina Blackmore with the state’s health department.

MORE:

 

Confirmed 1st case of dengue fever in Miami-Dade County since the 1950’s.

In Dengue Fever on November 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm

The Miami-Dade Health Department’s chief epidemiologist says the county hasn’t had a locally acquired case of Dengue since the 1950s. more:

Dengue is spreading in the West

 

%d bloggers like this: