Archive for the ‘Mosquito Control’ Category

Mosquito Borne Diseases – The Greater the Itch, The More Likely You’ll Catch Them

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

The current Zika virus epidemic has shone a bright light upon the problem of mosquito-borne diseases in the past year. Scientists are looking more and more into how to deal with the problem of mosquitos spreading these diseases as a whole, and have found that some rules apply to all of them. One thing they’ve discovered is that the immune response that our bodies have in reaction to mosquito bites actually helps the virus to spread. The secret is in the mosquito’s spit.

Mosquito saliva is injected into your body whenever a mosquito bites you, and within their saliva is a mixture of chemicals that help get your blood flowing, making it easier for the mosquito to suck that precious blood out. Their saliva doesn’t just give the mosquitos a smoother drink, however. Mosquito saliva causes the site of the bite to become inflamed. As part of the inflammation response our body sends immune cells to the area. These immune cells actually help the virus spread and replicate. This means that the more severe of a reaction you have to the bites the higher chance you have of actually catching the virus and getting sick. Our own body’s reaction to the bite plays a very important role in the virus’ ability to infect the person bitten.

This new discovery has led scientists to the idea that there may be other ways to help prevent us humans from getting sick than just wearing insect repellent. Using anti-inflammatory creams may also help reduce the chances of people getting infected.

What kind of new treatment or preventative medications could this discovery lead to being developed? Do you know of any other ways our own immune response works to our disadvantage?

This Is How The Zika Virus Could Make Its Way North

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Researchers have confirmed that a mosquito known as Culex quinquefasciatus is able to contract the Zika virus. This is a potentially big deal since this type of mosquito thrives in colder climates. However it is not yet known whether this mosquito contracts the Zika virus in the wild. If this mosquito can contract Zika in the wild, then the virus could move much farther north than Florida.

Currently, the Zika carrying mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is the only type of mosquito that is targeted for control. However, if researchers discover that the Culex mosquito is able to contract and pass the Zika virus onto humans, then the Culex will also have to be targeted for control, which would cost an already expensive anti-Zika campaign much more money. So far a Chinese medical researching company has determined that the Culex mosquito is able to transmit the Zika virus to mice. It seems that lately researchers are experiencing nothing but setbacks when it comes to controlling the spread of the Zika virus.

Is it fair to assume that the Culex mosquito is currently carrying the Zika virus since researchers demonstrated that it can contract the virus in a lab?

Babies Born With Zika May Have More Medical Issues Than Microcephaly

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Since the Zika virus started making news early last year there has been extensive coverage on the birth defects that Zika causes in newborns. The birth defect known as microcephaly has so far been the only medical condition experienced by newborns infected with Zika. Now it is looking as though microcephaly is not the only devastating congenital disorder afflicting infected babies born to infected mothers.

The new set of physical malformations observed in newborns infected with Zika include: gaps and lesions in the skull, malformations in the cerebellum, and other medical issues that will likely result in causing premature death. In response to these findings many doctors want to adopt the term “congenital Zika syndrome” since the maladies that result from a Zika exposed fetus are so numerous that a new term needs to be adopted to refer to these wide-ranging maladies.

Do you believe that the term “microcephaly” is insufficient to define the number of congenital defects occurring simultaneously in infants infected with Zika?

Mass Anti-Mosquito Insecticide Is Finally Sprayed Over Miami

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Now that the Zika carrying mosquito has been located on Miami Beach, drastic measures must be taken to contain the virus. So far there have been fifty six transmissions of Zika in Florida, and the state has also seen five hundred and ninety six travel related cases of Zika. In response to the gradual worsening of the Zika situation, a plane carrying insecticides has showered Miami Beach with the hopes that all remaining Zika carrying mosquitoes have died.

Zika carrying mosquitoes are most active at dawn and sunset, which is when the aerial insecticide release took place. This is also and idea time to spray the beaches since very few people still congregate at the beaches during those hours. Despite some local protest over the safety of the insecticides, experts dismiss any concern since the insecticide is not harmful to humans or the environment. The experts also stressed that very little insecticide was used. In fact only two tablespoons per acre covered. Many residents of the Miami area feel safer now that the area has been sprayed.

Do you think spraying insecticide to protect people from the Zika virus should be practiced all over the United States?

 

 

 

Florida Locals Oppose Plan To Release Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Residents of The Florida Keys are protesting an experiment that they think makes them into guinea pigs. The residents are afraid that the special mosquitoes will harm indigenous wildlife. Another worry is that the released mosquitoes may become too big of a problem for the residents, and bug sprays may not be enough to stop such a large amount of them.

The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that the mutant mosquitoes to be released in South Florida do not pose a risk to the environment. A non-binding referendum is scheduled for November 8th, which is an opportunity for residents to voice their discontent. However, the decision ultimately comes down to a five member panel that is responsible for mosquito control. Three of the five members have said that they will follow whatever the public decides. According to a panel member two other members are up for reelection while another is retiring. Although releasing the mosquitoes may, in the long run, help against the spread of Zika, it is highly possible that the residents of Southern Florida will prevent the release of the mosquitoes.

Do you think that the scientists releasing the mutant mosquitoes need to obtain consent from the residents who live in the area where the mosquitoes are to be released?

Zika Legislation Continues To Stall

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Now that congress has completed their seven week vacation they are once again debating particular measures outlined in the bill to grant funding to Zika relief. The new bill calls for 1.1 billion dollars be used to study and contain the virus.

This is the third time the bill to fight Zika has failed to pass. This time around it is the democrats who were responsible for halting legislation. The democrats took issue with the loosening of environmental regulations in order to use insecticides more liberally. The democrats also opposed the bill’s wording that suggested that Planned Parenthood would be denied funding to fight Zika in Puerto Rico where the virus is widespread.

Despite all of the bickering over the bill’s wording, many members of congress, both democrat and republican, are optimistic that agreements will be made and the bill will pass soon.

Do you think this bill will ever actually pass and what kinds of changes might have to be made to the bill before it is fully accepted?

Disney is Joining in the Fight Against the Zika Virus

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

It looks like even Disney is going to do its part to fight the Zika virus now that it has entered U.S. soil. They started giving away free bottles of Cutter insect spray last week. However, those tiny little bottles must have been breaking the bank since they now just changed from giving out those bottles to simply placing a giant industrial size container of insect repellent lotion on top of tables throughout the park. Just in case anyone doesn’t know how to apply the lotion, there are cast members standing by each table, ready to help answer any questions or concerns.

This seems a little cheap to me. I mean, I’m pretty sure everyone knows that if given a choice, people would much prefer spray over sticky lotion. And, in my opinion, changing the insect repellent you’re giving out to guests just a week after you start is just plain bad form. It’s pretty obvious that we’re just not worth the spray bottles – that’s how much Disney loves you…think about that.

If you had to choose between insect repellent lotion or spray, which would you choose? Does this make you lose just a little bit of respect for Disney?

A New Approach to Beating the Zika Virus

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

When you’re trying to find the answer to a problem it makes sense to explore every avenue possible. The more directions you come from and the more exploration into different answers you employ, the faster you’re likely to discover the answer. So, it makes sense for our scientists to approach beating the Zika virus from every angle. Thankfully, some scientists at Penn Vet are studying the Zika virus from a whole new direction, looking at how the mosquitos are infected with the virus in the first place.

Since we catch the Zika virus from mosquitos doesn’t it make sense to look at how they are infected with it? According to experts, the mosquito’s immune system is incredibly strong. Within minutes of being exposed to a threatening pathogen the mosquito’s immune response goes on red alert. This makes sense, as their anti-viral defenses are heavily influenced by the many many bacteria that regulate their stomachs and ability to digest food. Experts argue that we need to understand the immune response of the mosquito before we can explore how we can escape the clutches of the Zika virus. Since their immune response is already so strong, it’s possible that creating a genetically altered mosquito that is completely immune to the disease could be achieved in the near future. If mosquitos can’t catch it, then neither can we.

What other possible approached to solving this Zika virus epidemic do you think could prove beneficial?

The Four Kinds of People Mosquitos Love

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Do you ever feel like mosquitos seem to seek you out more than other people? Well, you may actually be correct. There are four things that can make you much more of a mosquito magnet than other people. Unfortunately, not all of these conditions are possible to change, so you may just be stuck spraying insect repellent all over you every time you go outside.

Scientists already knew that mosquitos are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale, but you might not have known that pregnant women produce a hell of a lot more, which means they also attract way more mosquitos. This is even more dangerous with the recent Zika virus outbreak, which is a particular threat to pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. Another thing that can make you a mosquito magnet is exercise. Mosquitos love lactic acid, which your muscles produce in very large quantities when you strain them during exercise. Mosquitos will also flock towards people with a higher temperature, meaning you should stay away from drinks that will raise it. Alcohol in particular will make your temperature go up, meaning mosquitos will flock towards your warm body. For some reason blood type can also affect how much mosquitos are attracted to you. If you have type O blood, you have an 83% chance of getting bitten by a mosquito…or many mosquitos.

How much of a mosquito magnet are you? Do you have any tips for repelling mosquitos?

First Zika Virus Death

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The first Zika-related death occurred in Harris County Hospital in Texas. A woman that had traveled to El Salvador while pregnant recently gave birth to a baby diagnosed with microcephaly caused by the Zika virus a few weeks ago. She never experienced any symptoms and didn’t realize she had contracted the virus until her child was born with the birth defect, demonstrating how this virus that can go unnoticed until it affects a newborn can be. This is the first infant to die from the virus-induced birth defects.

Officials warn that we can expect to see many more Zika-related infant deaths as well as stillbirths in the near future. Efforts to combat the spread of the disease have been stepped up in response to the recent death. Seven women have already lost pregnancies due to the Zika virus in the United States, and you can bet that number is also going to go up. With local transmission finally occurring in Florida, things aren’t looking too good for Americans at the moment. It seems we won’t get off too lightly when it comes to this virus after all.

What are your predictions for the spread of the Zika virus in the U.S.?