The eight cases of locally transmitted malaria recently reported in the U.S. – the first in 20 years – have elicited loony conspiracy theories about the cause. They're bunk.
Mosquitoes suck, both literally and figuratively. No other animal on Earth is responsible for more human deaths than the lowly mosquito. The mosquito-borne virus that causes EEE (or Triple E) is the latest to cause public concern. Here's what you need to know about it.
Mosquitoes transmit a wide variety of nasty microbes, from viruses like dengue, yellow fever and Zika, to parasites like malaria. The sheer number and diversity of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes makes vaccine development a challenge. But what if a vaccine could, instead, target the mosquito?
A beam of light is 94% accurate at determining whether a skeeter is infected with the Zika virus.
The CDC recently cautioned that there's a wide range of diseases being transmitted by ticks, and the caseload is growing. Some, like Lyme’s disease, we are familiar with. To take it an important step further, let's take a look at some others that aren't necessarily on our radar – but should be.
One final observation on our great post-war successes in controlling malaria by targeting its vector, the Anopheles mosquito. By using that most marvelous insecticide DDT, we were beginning to gain the upper hand in our conquest of malaria as clearly demonstrated in the table below. Country Malaria occurrence per annum prior to introduction of DDT Malaria occurrence per annum after the introduction of DDT Sardinia
With a recent hospital outbreak of scabies, is there a better time to clarify some misperceptions about them – and other things that go itch in the night? Nope, so take a look.
One method widely used to control malaria is providing families with insecticide-treated bed nets. Overall, this strategy is very successful, having halting hundreds of millions of cases over the past 15 years. In some parts of the world, however, mosquitoes "learn" to avoid bed nets by biting people earlier in the day.
Many natural remedies do not work. Despite those who swear by herbal medicines and other traditions that stretch back, in some cases, thousands of years, modern science often cannot verify the claimed benefits. But that isn't always the case. Occasionally, scientists confirm that a traditional remedy indeed does work, and one such example has been reported recently in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Now that Zika has hit the United States, people will be deciding which, if any, mosquito repellents to use. You can have something that is "natural," or something that works. But not both.
New York City has launched a three-year Zika awareness campaign called "Fight Back NYC" for which Mayor de Blasio has slotted $21 million. The posters have a singular focus on mosquitoes and have left out another image that should also be synonymous with Zika - that of a condom. With more and more sexually transmitted cases, why are we still talking only about mosquitoes? Our Zika public awareness campaigns should look more like they did for HIV/AIDS in the 90s.
There's a yellow fever outbreak taking place in West Africa, and disturbingly it has all of the markings of the next global health emergency. We have the tools to stop this one, but it's spreading quickly and it may soon be out of control. That is, unless essential measures are taken immediately.