Man recovering from rare mosquito-borne illness

From Wood TV
October 17, 2018

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A couple from Allegan County hopes their experience with a rare and deadly mosquito-borne illness serves as a lesson for others.

Richard Force was rushed to the emergency room Aug. 30 after a few weeks of flu-like symptoms. It was another two weeks of testing, memory loss and partial paralysis before he was diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis.

“They started leaning towards the West Nile virus,” his wife Kelly Force explained to 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday. “So we kept thinking it’s the West Nile virus, we know where we’re going now. But it came back negative.”

Richard Force’s EEE diagnosis is the first confirmed case in Michigan since 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the illness has a 33 percent fatality rate, making it one of the most dangerous illnesses that can be contracted via a mosquito bite.

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What is AFM? Everything you need to know about the polio-like virus suddenly affecting children across the U.S.

From the Los Angeles Times
October 17, 2018

It’s mysterious, it’s dangerous and it’s got parents on edge from coast to coast.

It’s a medical condition called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. The disease causes sudden, unexplained paralysis, usually in children. Its resemblance to polio has caused the public to take notice.

Federal health officials have confirmed 62 cases of AFM in the U.S. this year, and 65 more are under investigation. There are four suspected cases in California, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.

This is the third time the nation has seen a nationwide uptick in AFM; so far, 2018 appears to be following the pattern seen in 2014 and 2016. Here’s a look at what experts know — and don’t know — about the condition.

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Researchers identify new approach for controlling dengue fever and Zika virus

From EurekAlert!
October 17, 2018

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animals, killing thousands of people and causing millions of illnesses each year. To be able to reproduce and become effective disease carriers, mosquitoes must first attain optimal body size and nutritional status. 

A pair of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have succeeded in using CRISPR-Cas9, a powerful tool for altering DNA sequences and modifying gene function, to decrease mosquito body size, moving the research one step closer to eliminating mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and Zika virus.

The researchers succeeded in postponing mosquito development, shortening the animal’s lifespan, retarding egg development, and diminishing fat accumulation.

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Why it’s so hard to diagnose Zika

From Reuters
October 17, 2018

CHICAGO (Reuters) – When a Zika epidemic was at its height in the Americas two years ago, diagnostics makers began working feverishly to create diagnostic tests for a virus that few in the U.S. had heard of.

Those efforts have now largely stalled, as public concern has waned, health experts say, and the development of inexpensive tests that can quickly detect Zika infections and distinguish them from similar mosquito-borne diseases remains elusive.

A lack of testing capacity has hampered efforts to track Zika in Angola, where a largely unreported cluster of microcephaly cases has been linked to the virus, and left mothers vulnerable to an illness that can cause severe birth defects in developing fetuses.

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1st human West Nile virus death in Orange County this year reported in Tustin

From the Orange County Register
October 16, 2018

An elderly Tustin woman is the first this year to die from complications of West Nile virus, the county’s Health Care Agency announced Tuesday, Oct. 16.

The agency said there were 38 reported infections and four deaths in 2017 due to West Nile virus infections in Orange County. So far, there have been six known human infections countywide.

The first two West Nile virus deaths in California were reported last month in Glenn and Yuba counties, respectively, according to the California Department of Public Health. The CDPH website also reports 36 human cases in Los Angeles County, 11 in Riverside County and three in San Bernardino County. Southern California health officials have been warning residents to exercise precautions because of increased mosquito activity in the region this year.

Symptoms of West Nile infections include fever, headache, body aches, fatigue and skin rash. Officials say anyone who experiences more serious symptoms such as severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness or vision loss should seek medical attention right away.

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Mosquito capable of carrying Zika virus found in Albuquerque

From KRQE Media
October 16, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mosquitos that have the potential to carry the Zika virus have been found in Albuquerque’s Bosque. 

This is the first time this particular mosquito species has been found in the area. 

While the species is capable of carrying the virus, at this point local health officials say they are not carrying Zika. 

The city and county are evaluating ways to stop or delay the insects from becoming established. 

“In the spring when we come back and mosquitos really pick up again, then we’ll start looking again to see if there’s been any expansion in where that habitat is and do effective of a control as possible,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna. 

The same mosquitos have been found in 14 other New Mexico counties. 

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Evidence of Zika Congenital Syndrome in Pre-Term Newborn

From the Infectious Disease Advisor
October 12, 2018

A study published in Clinical Infectious Diseasedemonstrated that epithelial cells are susceptible to congenitally acquired Zika virus, and researchers demonstrate that the virus was isolated from a pool of tissue samples from the heart, lungs and kidneys, suggesting that one of them may represent an important niche for Zika virus replication in immunosuppressed adults.

This single-participant study focused on a deceased 30-week-old newborn. Various fresh tissue samples were acquired (2 hours post-mortem) and paraffin-embedded for in situ microscopy experimentation. At a 30-week gestation period, the head circumference was 23.5 cm, and micrognathia, retrognathia, low-set ears, a depressed nasal bridge, and arthrogryposis were evident. A structural survey of the brain showed a smooth cortical surface, hypoplastic central lobes, and brain stem and bilateral ventricular enlargement.

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India hit with its biggest outbreak of Zika to date, with 32 confirmed cases

From CNN
October 12, 2018

New Delhi (CNN)India has recorded its biggest outbreak of Zika virus to date, with 32 cases confirmed in Jaipur, capital of the western state of Rajasthan.

The first case was confirmed on September 23 in the city’s Shastri Nagar area, located close to some of the city’s main tourist attractions.
The country’s health minister, JP Nadda, has deployed a seven-member team to Jaipur to continually monitor the situation and assist with control and containment operations.
The number of suspected cases cannot be estimated, said Veenu Gupta, the Additional Chief Secretary of the Medical and Health & Family Welfare Department for the state, adding that samples are being collected daily from all residents in a three kilometer radius. “Those who test positive are reported.”
Those suspected to have contracted the virus are currently being tested. Mosquito samples from the area will also be examined.

Health department confirms two cases of West Nile

From CBS 12
October 11, 2018

The Health Department confirmed two cases of West Nile in just two months in Palm Beach County.

The first case appeared in Jupiter Farms and the second one happened in Belle Glade.

Despite the virus confirmations, the Medical Director at the Free Standing Emergency Department for Delray Medical says there is no need to panic. He says only one in 150 people will experience symptoms from West Nile.

“Severe headache, stiff neck,” Dr. Henry Wagner explained. “More of a stupor or coma-like presentation.”

However, some families aren’t taking any chances. Joan McMath lives in Jupiter Farms and says her world revolves around her six grandkids.

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Officials ask public to help identify mosquito breeding areas

October 11, 2018

YUMA, Ariz. – With the recent rain, Yuma County is asking the public to help identify mosquito breeding areas in the community. 

The county’s Vector Control Division, who focus on mosquito control and prevention, is currently examining many areas in Yuma County. 

Plastic pools, wheelbarrows, empty planters, and associated kids’ toys that lay in the yard are primary concerns, according to Yuma County. 

“People don’t generally think about these items as potential breeding grounds, yet many times they are the source of the problem,” explains Diana Gomez, Yuma County Health District Director. “Something as small as a bottle cap full of water is enough to create an ideal mosquito breeding ground.”

Mosquitos can transmit viruses that may cause illnesses such as Dengue, West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Zika. 

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First West Nile Death of 2018 Reported in LA County

From SCV News
October 10, 2018

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed the first death due to West Nile virus for the 2018 season in the county — a resident of the San Fernando Valley area.

The patient was hospitalized in early September and died from WNV-associated neuro-invasive disease.

A total of 38 cases have been documented in Los Angeles County this year (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena as cases identified in those cities are reported by their local health departments).

“Our thoughts and prayers are with this person’s family and friends during this sad time,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer.

“This should remind all of us that West Nile virus is a serious disease,” he said. “Everyone should take precautions by using Environmental Protection Agency-registered mosquito repellent when outside and checking weekly for items that collect standing water in their homes or yards where mosquitoes can breed. Items that can hold water, even as small as a bottle cap, should be cleaned, covered or cleared out to stop mosquito breeding.”

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Longtime LA Public Defender, Father Dies From Apparent West Nile Virus

From CBS Los Angeles
October 8, 2018

SHADOW HILLS (CBSLA) – A longtime Los Angeles County Public Defender and father of two died over the weekend after contracting what was suspected to be West Nile Virus.

Fifty-three-year-old Robert Johnson of Shadow Hills passed away Saturday following a month-long fight with the viral infection, according to his husband Scott Montgomery.

Montgomery told CBS2 by phone Monday that Johnson started suffering flu-like symptoms over Labor Day weekend. About four days later, his fever spiked and he was hospitalized.

“I thought he had a stroke, that’s why I took him to the hospital,” Montgomery said. “Within a week of that he was on life support in a hospital.”

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Southern California city fights mosquitoes bearing West Nile

From The Sacramento Bee
October 5, 2018

A Southern California city is being sprayed with pesticide after an increase in mosquitoes testing positive for the West Nile virus.

The Orange County Register reports vector control workers began spraying pesticide from trucks in Fullerton early Thursday and were to continue into Saturday.

Between Aug. 24 and Sept. 28, there were 29 mosquito samples that tested positive for the virus, including 27 from the area being sprayed. One of two human cases in Fullerton this year occurred in that area.

The pesticide is being applied at the rate of under an ounce per acre.

The Centers for Disease Control says most people infected with West Nile don’t have symptoms but about one in five develop a fever or other symptoms, and one in 150 develop a serious and sometimes fatal illness.

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Pesticide spraying in Fullerton to combat spread of West Nile virus through mosquitoes

From The Orange County Register
October 4, 2018

This week, workers for Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District have been spraying pesticides from trucks, covering nearly 4,000 properties, said Lora Young, an agency spokeswoman. One spraying will cover Gilbert and Euclid streets north of Orangethorpe Avenue up to West Valencia Drive, she said. Another spraying will include West Commonwealth and West Malvern avenues, west of North Woods Avenue.

Young said between Aug. 24 and Sept.28, the agency collected 29 mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile virus, of which 27 were found in the area scheduled to be sprayed Thursday, Oct. 4, through Saturday, Oct. 6. One of two human cases in the city this year is also from this part of Fullerton, she said.

Pesticide applications to curb mosquitoes have caused controversy over the years. In 2015, the district called off aerial spraying efforts after it failed to get a permit to fly over Disneyland. The proposal to spray from the skies caused an uproar among some county residents.

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BBC Looks Back On Epidemic With Documentary: ‘Zika Love Stories’

From NPR
October 4, 2018

It’s been three years since the Zika epidemic swept across Brazil. Rachel Martin talks to BBC producer William Kremer about the thousands of babies born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads.


Three years ago, the Zika epidemic swept across Brazil. As a result, thousands of babies were born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads, among other impairments that come with that. Around the same time, BBC producer William Kremer had a child of his own who was also born with microcephaly, although not because of Zika.

Kremer wanted to know how Brazil’s so-called Zika babies were developing, so we went there and produced a radio documentary called “Zika Love Stories.” Among the people he met there were Germana Soares. She’s the head of a support group for parents called the United Mothers of Angels.

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New species of disease-carrying mosquito have ‘exploded’ in Long Beach

From The Long Beach Post
October 3, 2018

They’re tiny. They’re hungry. And they’re invading the city.

An invasive mosquito species called the Aedes is spreading at an alarming rate throughout Long Beach and Southern California, causing concern over possible disease outbreaks in the near future.

Known as the “ankle biter,” the Aedes has been making its home in Southern California over the last several years.

In Long Beach, the non-native species was first detected last year in the northwest corner of the city. This season they’re everywhere.

“They’ve colonized all the ZIP codes,” said Lamar Rush, a supervisor for the Long Beach Health Department’s Vector Control Program. “It started with a few calls last year, and this year it’s just exploded.”

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Fullerton Neighborhoods To Get Sprayed Due To Uptick In West Nile Virus

From Los Angeles CBS Local
October 2, 2018

FULLERTON (CBSLA) – Due to an increase in West Nile Virus activity, several Fullerton neighborhoods will be sprayed with pesticides this week.

The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District reported Tuesday that two people have recently tested positive for West Nile Virus in the Fullerton area, along with 29 mosquito samples which have also tested positive.

Officials have not been able to pinpoint a specific reason for the increase in the West Nile virus activity.

“It could be a number of small backyard sources contributing to that,” said Lora Young with OCMVCD.

This has prompted OCMVCD to spray two areas with a pesticide known as DeltaGard, a water-based mosquito control product. Those areas contain nearly 4,000 properties, the district reported.

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$2.3 Million Grant To UC Riverside To Stop Mosquito-Borne Diseases

October 2, 2018

Riverside, Calif. — A UC Riverside scientist has been awarded $2.3 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s ‘High-Risk, High-Reward’ program to study the role of steroid hormone transporters in insect development and reproduction. Naoki Yamanaka, an assistant professor of entomology, will translate that knowledge into new ways to combat the spread of mosquitoes, which are among the deadliest animals on the planet.

“This award recognizes the critical importance of Dr. Yamanaka’s research in fighting one of the world’s most lethal disease carriers,” said Kathryn Uhrich, dean of UCR’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

Steroid hormones mediate many biological processes, including growth and development in insects, and sexual maturation, immunity and cancer progression in humans. After they are produced by glands of the endocrine system, steroid hormones must enter cells to exert their biological effects. For decades, the assumption has been that these hormones enter cells by simple diffusion, but preliminary work in Yamanaka’s lab suggests a defined passageway controlled by proteins called membrane transporters.

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First Human Case of Saint Louis Encephalitis in L.A. County Since 1997

From My News LA
October 1, 2018

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Monday reported the first human case of Saint Louis encephalitis in the region since 1997, and the first case of the disease in the state this year.

The patient, whose name was withheld, is an elderly resident of San Fernando Valley who became ill in late August, according to the DPH. Environmental monitoring for SLEV in Los Angeles County began in early spring, and, to date, one mosquito sample from Playa Vista has tested positive for the virus, according to the health department.

“Since Saint Louis encephalitis is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, the best way to prevent getting infected is to prevent mosquito bites,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County’s health officer. “Residents should protect themselves by using EPA-registered repellent to keep mosquitoes from biting you, and checking for items that collect standing water in their homes or yards where mosquitoes can breed to tip out the water.”

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Lots of rain means lots of mosquitoes in the Midstate

From the Cumberland County Sentinel
September 30, 2018

They buzz, they bite and they make you itch. Now, thanks to an abundance of rain this summer and early fall, the little blood suckers are back with a vengeance.

Periods of excessive rain beginning in the spring have caused the mosquito population to explode in the Midstate, according to John Bitner, chief of the Vector Control/Weights & Measures Office for Cumberland County.

“We’ve been pretty inundated with people calling with mosquito complaints,” Bitner said.

The heavy rains experienced in the Midstate have created two problems that result in more mosquitoes, Bitner said. More standing water provides more breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which creates more opportunities to increase the mosquito population, he said.

The other problem is the rains have limited the ability of Vector Control to reduce the mosquito population.

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Mosquito activity uptick in Los Angeles County increases risk of West Nile and other viral infections

From the Daily News
September 28, 2018

The Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District is warning residents that mosquito season in the area is not over just yet.

Ongoing mosquito activity is continuing to bring additional human West Nile infections, along with the threat of other illnesses transmitted by new invasive populations of Aedes mosquitoes.

The district collected 49 West Nile-positive mosquito samples this year compared to 309 from the same period last year. However, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Department has reported 28 human infections this year, and that the number is expected to increase.

West Nile virus is transmitted by the native Culex mosquitoes that are most active and bite between dusk and dawn. Residents are urged to use mosquito repellents with DEET in them if they are spending time outdoors during the early morning and evening hours.

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Editing mosquito DNA could help wipe out malaria and Zika — here’s how

From Digital Trends
September 28, 2018

“If this genetic modification can have the ability to incapacitate the female mosquito’s ability to reproduce it could be an incredibly powerful tool to suppress the mosquito population which transmits diseases, such as malaria, Zika, yellow fever, and so on,” Andrea Crisanti, professor of Molecular Parasitology at Imperial, told Digital Trends.

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1 dead from West Nile virus complications in Yolo County

From KCRA 3
September 27, 2018

A person living in Yolo County has died from complications of West Nile virus, health officials say.

As of Monday, there have been four human deaths in California this year linked to the virus, which is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito.


The deaths have been in Butte, Glenn, Yolo and Yuba counties, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The health department declined to say where the person died in Yolo County, saying the death was disclosed through a confidential report that protects patient information.

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West Nile Virus Confirmed in Sonora

From the Sierra Sun Times
September 26, 2018

SONORA—On July 30, 2018, the Tuolumne County Public Health Department announced the first confirmed human illness in Tuolumne County due to West Nile virus (WNV).

On September 4, 2018, a dead California Scrub Jay bird was found in Sonora, and the dead bird was tested for WNV infection – the result was positive as reported on September 21, 2018. The detection of WNV in a dead bird provides an early signal that mosquitos carrying the WNV are present in our environment, and an early warning that it is important to take protection against mosquito bites:

Test Result Submitting Agency City County Zip Code Species Date Reported Date Tested Positive Tuolumne Co Dept of Env Health Sonora Tuolumne 95370 California Scrub-Jay 9/4/2018 9/21/2018

As pointed out by CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith in our previous Press Release, “West Nile virus activity throughout the state is increasing,” so once again we urge residents and visitors to Tuolumne County to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites (see below).

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Understanding mosquitoes’ mating behavior is key for developing vector control strategies

September 26, 2018

The ears of male mosquitoes amplify the sound of an approaching female using a self-generated phantom tone that mimics the female’s wingbeats, which increases the ear’s acoustic input by a factor of up to 45,000, finds a new UCL-led study.

The researchers were studying disease-carrying mosquitoes, and hope their findings, published in Nature Communications, could help design acoustic lures to control the spread of deadly diseases.

“Hearing is a crucial sense for mosquitoes as acoustic communication plays a key role in their mating behavior. Understanding how mosquitoes communicate in swarms to find mates is important in the development of vector control strategies,” said the study’s lead, Dr Joerg Albert (UCL Ear Institute).

The researchers studied three mosquito species: the malaria-carrying Anopheles gambiae, the Zika virus and dengue carrying Aedes aegypti, and the West Nile virus carrying Culex quinquefasciatus.

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Dead bird in Sonora tests positive for West Nile virus following human case

From the Union Democrat
September 26, 2018

Testing has confirmed that a dead California scrub jay found on Sept. 4 in Sonora was infected with West Nile virus, according to the Tuolumne County Public Health Department.

This comes nearly two months after a human in the county tested positive for the sometimes deadly mosquito-borne illness for the first time in more than 10 years, prompting health officials to urge people to take precautions.

“The detection of WNV in a dead bird provides an early signal that mosquitoes carrying WNV are present in our environment, and an early warning that it is important to take protection against mosquito bites,” the county Public Health Department stated in a news release this week.

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Building A Better Mosquito Trap — One Scientist Thinks He’s Done It

From NPR
September 25, 2018

A scientist in Australia has come up with an insecticide-free way to control a particularly pesky species of mosquito.

The approach involves two things: deploying a decidedly low-tech mosquito trap called a GAT and getting to know your neighbors.

GAT stands for Gravid Aedes Trap. Aedes is short for Aedes albopictusknown colloquially as the Asian tiger mosquito, which bites aggressively night and day.

The trap doesn’t look particularly impressive — it’s basically three plastic buckets stacked together. The top and bottom buckets are black. The mosquitoes fly into the trap through a hole in the top bucket, but they seem to have a hard time flying back out through the hole. To make matters worse (for the mosquito) you can dangle a piece of sticky paper inside the top bucket to catch a wayward pest that happens to land there.

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NIH funds UNC study to investigate maternal-fetal transmission of Zika

From EurekAlert!
September 25, 2018

Chapel Hill, NC – Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and collaborators in Nicaragua have been given a five-year, $2.7 million R01 award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to better understand the epidemiology of Zika virus in pregnancy and the impact the virus has on infant neurodevelopment.

Zika, a mosquito-borne infection, is also transmitted in utero from mother to child. Zika is the only flavivirus known to cause birth defects, including microcephaly. More than 1,000 cases of Zika infection have been documented in Nicaragua in the past year.

“We do not have a lot of data about Zika virus because it is an emerging infection,” said Elizabeth Stringer, M.D., M.Sc., the study’s principal investigator and an associate professor of maternal and fetal medicine in the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “During this study, we will follow up with infants exposed to Zika in Léon and Managua, Nicaragua.”

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From Action News Now
September 24, 2018

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – The Butte County Public Health Department has confirmed the first human death due to West Nile Virus in Butte County. 

The infection was confirmed last Friday, Sept. 21 as the most severe form of West Nile Virus.

The individual who died was between 50-70 years old and lived in south Butte County. 

As of Sept 24, 100 human cases have been reported in 25 of California’s 58 counties. 

Four deaths have been confirmed in the following counties. 

  • Butte County 

  • Glenn County 

  • Yolo County 

  • Yuba County 

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25% of infants exposed to Zika have eye abnormalities

From Healio
September 24, 2018

Recent findings suggest that approximately one-quarter of infants with suspected or confirmed Zika virus exposure during the 2015-2016 Rio de Janeiro outbreak developed eye abnormalities. Researchers said that regardless of laboratory confirmation, all infants born during Zika outbreaks “should be universally screened for eye abnormalities.”

Irena Tsui, MD, an ophthalmologist at UCLA, and colleagues wrote that lab confirmation of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in neonates may be difficult for several reasons, including the observation that many cases of ZIKV infection are asymptomatic. These cases, according to the researchers, tend not to get tested for the infection. Additionally, a negative test result cannot rule out infection because the virus is detectable through testing for only 3 to 16 days after symptom onset.

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West Nile Virus Persists – More Mosquitoes, A Bird, Chickens Test Positive

Press Release from Contra Costa MVCD
September 21, 2018

Dump Standing Water and Avoid Mosqito Bites as Temperatures Rise 
CONCORD, CALIFORNIA – The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District is reporting mosquitoes from Quimby Island and Bethel Island, a dead bird from Oakley, and chickens from Martinez and Oakley have tested positive for West Nile virus.  This is the first West Nile virus activity from Bethel Island this year. 
So far in 2018, 17 groups of mosquitoes, 12 dead birds, and 15 chickens  from Contra Costa County have tested positive for the virus.  
According to the District’s Scientific Programs Manager Steve Schutz, Ph.D., “Even though today is technically the last day of summer, there is warm weather in the forecast which means West Nile virus season is not over. West Nile virus replicates faster in warm weather, so county residents should continue to dump standing water to prevent mosquitoes and wear repellent to prevent mosquito bites.”    
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents can also avoid mosquito bites by  staying indoors when mosquitoes can be present. Mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus are most active at dawn and dusk.

Most mosquitoes can’t start their lives without water, and so dumping out standing water prevents mosquitoes from having a place to develop.

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8-year-old girl relearning to walk, talk after getting West Nile virus

From KRON4
September 21, 2018

FARGO, North Dakota (KRON/CNN) – Over the past few weeks, KRON4 has told you about the West Nile virus showing up in the Bay Area.

Most recently, a mosquito tested positive in Solano County.

On Friday night, we’re seeing just how serious it can be when a person becomes infected.

A once-energetic third grader in Nebraska is slowly getting her strength back after getting the diagnosis.

Seemingly simple tasks like playing catch are slowly getting easier for Vivi Lee.

The 8-year-old has been at Sanford’s Children’s Hospital the last several days.

It started with basic kid stuff–a headache and vomiting.

But then, it got worse. Much worse.

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West Nile virus: 1st local human case since 2013 reported in the High Desert

From The Sun
September 20, 2018

Public health officials have confirmed San Bernardino County’s first locally acquired human case of West Nile virus in the High Desert.

According to a statement issued by the county’s Department of Public Health, this is the first human case of the virus acquired in the county since 2013. In previous cases, officials suspected that the infection was contracted outside of the region.

West Nile virus can cause serious illnesses in humans, said Maxwell Ohikhuare, the county’s health officer. “I urge residents to take precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” he said.

According to the California Department of Public Health, this year, Los Angeles County has reported nine human West Nile virus cases. Orange and Riverside counties have reported five cases each.

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Our babies are ‘little warriors’: how love is transforming tragedy in the wake of Brazil’s Zika outbreak

From The Telegraph
September 18, 2018

he birth of thousands of babies born with physical and mental disabilities as a result of the Zika virus may be heralding changing attitudes towards disabilities in Brazil.

In 2015 to 2016 Zika swept through Latin America and, while the virus usually produces fairly mild symptoms, this epidemic was linked to a spike in the number of babies born with birth defects to women who contracted the disease while pregnant.

Around 2,000 babies in Brazil were born with microcephaly – where the head circumference is smaller than normal – leading to developmental delay and physical problems. An unknown number of other children were born with other less severe impairments, also linked to the virus.

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Zika vaccine shows promise for treating deadly brain cancer

From Science Daily
September 18, 2018

Glioblastoma kills about 15,000 adults in the US each year and is currently incurable because patients experience a high recurrence rate of their cancer even after the standard treatments of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Scientists suspect this recurrence is due to cancer stem cells, called glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs), which hide out in nearby brain tissue even after the combination of therapies.

“During the Zika epidemic, we learned that the virus preferentially infects neural progenitor cells in the fetus, and causes the devastating microcephaly seen in babies born to infected mothers,” says Pei-Yong Shi, a virologist at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He co-led the current study with tumor biologist Jianghong Man of the National Center of Biomedical Analysis in Beijing and virologist Cheng-Feng Qin of the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing.

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West Nile Virus activity detected in Vacaville

From The Report News
September 17, 2018

A mosquito sample collected in Vacaville has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), according to the Solano County Department of Health and Social Services, Public Health Division and the Solano County Mosquito Abatement District (SCMAD).

The county confirmed the sample was collected in mid-August.

As of Sept. 13, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that WNV activity has been detected in 21 counties. This year, there have been 56 reported human cases of WNV infection throughout the state. Two WNV-related deaths have been reported to CDPH this year, from Glenn and Yuba counties.

“This serves as a reminder to the community to protect themselves and their families by avoiding mosquito bites,” cautioned Dr. Michael Stacey, deputy health officer for Solano County. “Residents need to be aware that we are still in the peak period for West Nile virus transmission.”

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West Nile Virus returns: Health officials say first ‘locally acquired’ case of virus reported in High Desert

From the Victorville Daily Press
September 16, 2018

APPLE VALLEY — The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has announced the first “locally acquired” human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) reported in the High Desert.

The recent local reported case of the virus is unlike the one encountered in 2013, when it was suspected the WNV infection was “acquired outside” of the region, health department officials announced Friday.

“West Nile Virus can cause a serious illness in humans, therefore I urge residents to take precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites” said County Health Officer Doctor Maxwell Ohikhuare.

Area hospitals were aware of the county’s announcement, with St. Joseph Health, St. Mary spokesman Randy Bevilacqua telling the Daily Press that the Apple Valley medical facility is informing its staff and physicians about the health threat and preparing to take further action if directed to by the health department.

The WNV is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, with signs and symptoms including fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. The most effective way to avoid WNV infection is to prevent mosquito bites, officials said.

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Ohio State researchers progress toward Zika vaccine

From The Lantern
September 14, 2018

A Zika virus vaccine developed at Ohio State has shown to be an encouraging prospect for human trial.

If proven safe and effective, it could be the first known human Zika vaccine developed. Ohio State researchers published their findings in the Natural Communications journal in early August.

According to a news release from Ohio State, Jianrong Li, associate professor at Ohio State and lead researcher of this study, said the vaccine is extremely effective and has proven to be provisionally successful.

While the vaccine still needs to be tested on humans, it showed positive responses in mice. In the study, the vaccine transmitted up to three Zika proteins that activate the mouse immune system. By doing so, it was able to prevent the mouse from later contracting the virus.

“In this study, the vaccine was potent, safe and highly effective, at least in the short term,” Li said in the news release. “There’s a long way to go, but we think this is a promising candidate for a human vaccine.”

Though the Center for Disease Control reported the Zika virus was first discovered in 1947, there were no major outbreaks until 2007 in the Federated States of Micronesia. In 2015, a major outbreak struck the globe again, putting at least 170 million people at risk of contracting the virus.

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Threat of Zika Virus Still Significant in California

From the Infectious Disease Advisor
September 14, 2018

Since 2015, California has seen many travel-related Zika virus cases, and as the population of mosquitos that spread the virus continue to expand across the state, there is a significant risk for new Zika cases, according to results published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The Zika outbreak was first reported in Brazil in 2015, and numerous travel-related cases have since been reported in the United States.

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From Roseville Today
September 14, 2018

Placer County’s public health officer, along with the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District, are reminding residents to continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, after several human cases of West Nile virus and one death linked to the disease.

While West Nile activity typically begins in early summer, it can continue to peak into the fall.

Across the state, human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in 21 counties this year, with deaths in Glenn and Yuba counties. There have been seven cases in Placer so far this season, including one death.

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How the immune system protects against Zika-induced neurological symptoms

From Science Daily
September 13, 2018

A type of immune cell that produces a protein called CD4 plays an important role in protecting mice infected with the Zika virus against severe neurological disease, according to a study published September 6 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Amelia Kahler Pinto of Saint Louis University, and colleagues. Based on the findings, vaccines that induce strong responses from these immune cells, known as CD4+T cells, should be developed to prevent invasion of the Zika virus into the brain and spinal cord.

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that has recently spread throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. In some cases, Zika infection during pregnancy causes severe birth defects such as microencephaly — a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected. Infection with the virus can also cause neurological disease in adults. With growing awareness of the increased risk of severe neurological problems associated with Zika virus infection, focus has shifted toward detection, defining correlates of protection, and the development of a vaccine or antiviral to protect against disease progression. However, efforts focused on prevention and treatment have been limited by the lack of knowledge about how to generate a protective immune response against this emerging pathogen.

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State confirms first two human West Nile virus deaths of 2018; cases in Glenn, Yuba counties

From the Lake County News
September 11, 2018

The California Department of Public Health reported that there are two confirmed deaths in California due to West Nile virus.

The deceased persons were residents of Glenn and Yuba counties.

“We are still in a peak period of West Nile virus transmission in the state so we urge everyone to take every possible precaution to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

As of September 7, CDPH has reported 56 human cases of WNV from 21 California counties this year. 

Additionally, 422 dead birds from 18 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2018, and 1,606 mosquito samples from 28 counties have also tested positive for WNV this year.

The only WNV detected in Lake County so far this year have been four mosquito samples and one sentinel chicken, state officials reported.

West Nile virus is influenced by many factors, including climate, the number and types of birds and mosquitoes in an area, and the level of WNV immunity in birds. 

It virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, some individuals – less than 1 percent – can develop serious neurologic illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis.

People 60 years of age and older and individuals with diabetes or hypertension have a higher chance of getting sick, and are more likely to develop complications.

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Zika Virus Strips Immune Cells of their Identity

From UC San Diego Health
September 10, 2018

acrophages are immune cells that are supposed to protect the body from infection by viruses and bacteria. Yet Zika virus preferentially infects these cells. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have now unraveled how the virus shuts down the genes that make macrophages function as immune cells.

The study is published the week of September 10 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

In pregnant women, Zika virus can stunt neonatal brain development, leading to babies born with abnormally small heads, a condition known as microcephaly. Adult brain cells may also be vulnerable to the virus.

“We know Zika virus destroys a number of cell types, particularly in the brain, but we don’t yet understand how it causes cells to die or malfunction,” said first author Aaron Carlin, MD, PhD, associate physician at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “So this loss of general gene transcription and identity we saw in macrophages could also be crucial when a neural stem cell is trying to develop into a new neuron.”

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2 die in California from West Nile virus

September 10, 2018

Two people in California have died from the West Nile virus, public health officials said Monday.

One person died in Glenn County and the other lived in Yuba County, according to the California Department of Public Health.


The virus — which is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito — is in a peak period, the health department said.

“We are still in a peak period of West Nile virus transmission in the state, so we urge everyone to take every possible precaution to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

As of Friday, the department said it had reported 56 human cases of the virus in 21 California counties this year.

While the risk of serious illness from the virus is low, people over the age of 60 have a higher chance of getting sick, the health department said. People with diabetes or hypertension are also more likely to suffer complications.

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Mosquito Spraying to Continue in Mecca Due to “Persistent Virus Activity”

September 10, 2018

A mosquito capable of transmitting deadly diseases has made its home in an area around about 900 Mecca homes since first being discovered in the city last fall, local vector control officials said today.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can transmit diseases like Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever, was first detected in the city last October, prompting several rounds of spraying applications so far to try and stem the species’ spread, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector 
Control District.

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Mosquito Problem Grows in San Diego’s North County

From NBC San Diego
September 6, 2018

During warmer weather and high tides, San Diego County does experience an increase of mosquitos, but a specific type of mosquito is growing in population along North County coastal communities.

This is the black salt marsh mosquito, formally known as: aedes taeniorhynchus.

San Diego County Vector Control is responsible for mosquito abatement, by aerial and on the ground treatment. Vector control said they have noted the increase in these types of mosquitos.

“This mosquito makes its living by breeding in the salt water pools that are left behind after we get an excessive high tide like the king tide,” said Chris Conlan an ecologist with San Diego County Vector Control. “Once the water recedes it can leave pools of standing salt water and this mosquito can breed in those pools of salt water.”

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Mosquito Spraying Due In Mecca Due To ‘Persistent Virus Activity’

From the Palm Desert Patch
September 5, 2018

MECCA, CA — An increase in mosquito-borne viruses in Mecca has prompted officials to increase efforts to control the Eastern Coachella Valley mosquito population to reduce transmission of West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis in the region, beginning with a round of helicopter spraying in the city starting Wednesday.

From Wednesday through Friday, from 8 p.m. to midnight each night, helicopter aerial applications will be conducted in the area bordered by the Salton Sea, Hayes Street, Buchanan Street and Avenue 69, excluding organic properties and fish farms, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

St. Louis encephalitis has been detected in Mecca and North Shore this year, while West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes found in Thermal, Palm Desert and Indian Wells.

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Mosquitoes Carrying West Nile Virus Detected in San Gabriel Valley

From Pasadena Now
September 5, 2018

A mosquito sample collected this past week in the city of Arcadia has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (SGVMVCD) announced Tuesday.

The SGVMVCD has been routinely monitoring populations of adult mosquitoes using traps and tests groups of adult female mosquitoes for the presence of the virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. It also tests wild birds, such as crows, which can provide insight into the spread of the virus.

Recently, the District adopted the City of Pasadena under its vector control jurisdiction, adding strength to the Pasadena Public Health Department’s efforts to eradicate disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Year-to-date, SGMVCD has confirmed the presence of West Nile virus in one dead bird and one mosquito sample in its jurisdiction.

“Autumn may be around the corner, but don’t let that fool you into thinking mosquitoes are gone,” Levy Sun, SGVMVCD’s public information officer, said. “Mosquitoes are opportunistic and, as long as the weather is warm, they will bite anyone who is not wearing repellent.”

Sun said their staff will continue to monitor mosquito sources in Pasadena and surrounding areas, and expand outreach activities to alert residents to the detection of the virus.

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Feeling itchy? Stealthy mosquito biting people in the Central Valley

From ABC 30
September 5, 2018

The small, striped Aedes aegypti mosquito has established itself in all areas of the Valley, and many of you have mosquito bites to prove it.

Sanger has become the latest battleground in the fight against a mosquito which can carry diseases such as Zika and Dengue Fever.

Everyone had a mosquito story to tell inside Emilio’s Barbershop. Luis Delgadillo explained, “Daytime, nighttime, anytime. Especially in the ankles man, especially ankles for sure.”

Sound familiar? It could be the same mosquito biting you over and over again.

Steve Mulligan of the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District said, “She doesn’t take a full blood meal at once so she’ll bite, get a little blood, buzz off, fly around. Maybe bite your other leg.”

Debug Fresno has been releasing male mosquitoes in Sanger neighborhoods as well as southeast Fresno and three areas of Clovis. The latest being south of Community Hospital.

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Mosquito storm hammered Ventura County, dangerous Aedes invaders not found

From VC Star
September 5, 2018

Invasive, potentially dangerous species of mosquitoes biting ankles and spreading concern across Southern California have not been identified in Ventura County. Yet.

Traps for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes have been set in areas including Westlake Village, Newbury Park and CSU Channel Islands near Camarillo, said Cary Svoboda, vector ecologist with Ventura County Environmental Health Department.

But the efforts have not brought confirmation of the species known for aggressive day-biting on lower extremities and a potential to carry imported diseases ranging from Zika to yellow fever, he said.

A torrent of day-biting mosquito activity in August is attributed to a different species — salt marsh mosquitoes from the Point Mugu area that were carried by the wind as far as Newbury Park. Now tapering off at least temporarily, the mosquitoes are aggressive biters but don’t transmit disease, Svoboda said.

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