Why do suicidal beetles invade my basement each spring?

From The Mercury News
June 20, 2018

DEAR JOAN: Every year around this time, a herd of suicidal beetles appears in our basement, which is built into a hill. There is sandy ground in some areas, and one wall faces the outside. The beetles appear out of nowhere and I cannot find any opening to the outside they could have used to enter the basement.

Most of them are dead when I find them, but sometimes they are still alive. When I capture them to bring them outside, they make a deep humming sound. They are about 1 to 1½ inches long. I find them until about August or September, then they are gone again.

How can I prevent these beautiful beetles from continuing to commit suicide, and what are they?  Help please.

Annette Scheibner, Scotts Valley

DEAR ANNETTE: Your suicidal beetles are ten-lined June beetles (Polyphylla decemlineata), also known as watermelon or scarab beetles. How or why they’re in your basement is a mystery, although I’m pretty certain they aren’t going there deliberately to die.

Steve Schutz, scientific programs manager for Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control, identified the beetles from your photos, but he’s just as perplexed as you are about why they’re in your basement.

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Press Release: CDC Report Finds California Has Highest Number of Mosquito- Transmitted Disease Cases in the Nation

Sacramento, June 20, 2018 – California leads the nation in mosquito-borne disease cases over the last decade, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The State reported 9,254 cases of mosquito-transmitted diseases between 2004 and 2016, followed by New York with 7,167 and Texas with 6,648. California had 100 times more mosquito-transmitted disease cases than Alaska (87), which reported the lowest number of cases in the country during the same period. The report included the total number of local and travel-associated disease transmission cases per state and did not adjust for population.

“These numbers are startling as they only represent mosquito-transmitted diseases that were reported to health officials said,” David Heft, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California. “Also not reflected in the data are the emerging disease threats the state faces due to the rise of invasive mosquitoes now present in 12 counties in Southern and Central California.”

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Insect-Related Risks to Outdoor Workers

From CDPH
June 2018

A new fact sheet and investigation report from the California Department of Public Health’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program details the death of a date palm tree worker after he was attacked by multiple bees at an organic orchard in Southern California. Aggressive Africanized honey bees now account for the majority of feral honey bees in this region. Employers can post the fact sheet – also available in Spanish –  at work sites.

Outdoor workers in agriculture, landscaping, construction, and other industries are at risk for insect-related illnesses and injuries, including fatal anaphylactic shock and mosquito-borne and tickborne diseases.

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Protect yourself from the dangers of Zika

From Corsicana Daily Sun
June 19, 2018

The time is here and so are the mosquitoes. And with mosquitoes comes mosquito-borne viruses such as the Zika virus. It is crucial to take preventative measures when spending time outdoors to protect yourself from the dangers of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.

We’ve all been victim of mosquitoes and the red, itchy bumps they leave behind. Unfortunately, mosquito bites can also become dangerous as the Zika virus has made its way into the United States.

The Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an Aedes mosquito. The mosquitoes become infected after biting a human who has the virus, which then allows the virus to be spread to other humans with each bite that the mosquito makes. According to the Center for Disease Control, 662 Zika virus cases were reported in 2017, with Texas being one of the hardest hit states.

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Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Indian Wells

From News Channel 3
June 18, 2018

The first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley this year were recently discovered in Indian Wells, officials said today.

The two positive samples were found among mosquitoes collected in a trap near Fairway Drive and Cook Street, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

District officials say that surveillance and testing will be increased in communities near the trap location.

“This is a bit late in the season to see our first West Nile virus-positive mosquito sample,” district spokeswoman Jill Oviatt said. “But now that it’s here, we want to make sure residents know what they need to do to prevent getting infected with potentially serious viruses.”

Officials advised residents to inspect their yards for any standing water sources, which can serve as mosquito breeding sites.

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Two mosquitoes found in Stockton have tested positive for West Nile

From Recordnet.com
June 18, 2018

Two mosquitoes found in Stockton’s 95219 ZIP code area tested positive for West Nile virus in testing done by the San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District.

“This is the first find of WNV in San Joaquin County for 2018,” said Aaron Devencenzi, public information officer of the district. “With warm weather, mosquito populations will continue to increase, leading to an elevated risk of WNV in humans.”

In addition to work by the mosquito and vector control district, reduction of West Nile virus and other mosquito-transmitted diseases is dependent on all residents. The district recommends:

• Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding.

• Apply insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET or Picaridin when outdoors, according to label instructions.

• Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk, and especially for the first two hours after sunset.

• When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing.

• Exclude mosquitoes from your home with tight fitting screens on doors and windows.

• Contact your veterinarian for information on vaccinating equine against WNV.

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Infected Mosquitoes Found, Spraying Planned For Tuesday

From The San Francisco Gate
June 17, 2018

SANTA CLARA (BCN) 

Mosquitoes caught in a limited area near the Santa Clara-Sunnyvale border have tested positive for the West Nile virus, prompting a planned Tuesday spraying in portions of four ZIP code areas. 

The Santa Clara County Vector Control District is scheduled to spray the mosquito control treatment from truck-based tanks beginning at 11 p.m. Tuesday in the affected areas, Santa Clara County officials said Friday. 

The spraying is expected to last a few hours. 

The affected area is bordered on the south by El Camino Real, East Arques Avenue on the north and South Fair Oaks Avenue on the west. The eastern boundary is far more jagged, with its easternmost point where the Caltrain tracks cross over Bowers Avenue. 

Door hangers with notice of the planned spraying are being distributed and notice is being made both through Nextdoor online networks and through AlertSCC notifications via cell phone, email or landline phone. 

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CDPH Confirms First Human West Nile Virus Illnesses of 2018

From CDPH
June 15, 2018

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today the first confirmed illnesses in California due to West Nile virus (WNV). The four illnesses occurred in Los Angeles, Kern and Riverside Counties. “West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. 

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. As of June 8, 2018, WNV has been detected in 14 dead birds from seven counties and four mosquito samples from three counties. Hot temperatures this month are contributing to increasing numbers of mosquitoes and the increased risk of virus transmission to humans. So far this season, activity is within expected levels. The risk of disease due to WNV usually increases at this time of year and is highest throughout the summer and early fall. 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. The risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, some individuals – less than one percent – can develop serious neurologic illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis. In 2017, there were 553 reported WNV cases in California, including 44 deaths. People 50 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 from WNV infection. 

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County sprays for mosquitoes with recent larvacide dumps

From The Coast News Group
June 14, 2018

REGION — Last month, San Diego County began its annual larvicide dumps throughout the county to combat mosquitoes and diseases.

Chris Conlan, supervising vector ecologist, said the county is hopeful this year will show a decrease in West Nile, Zika, Dengue fever and other diseases spread by mosquitoes.

The county also conducts aerial drops from helicopters at 48 waterway sites throughout the county. The total 1,004 acres and will be done monthly for the rest of summer including on June 27.

The largest site is the Buena Vista Lagoon on the Carlsbad-Oceanside border, which covers 120 acres, followed by the San Elijo Lagoon (west and east) on the Encinitas-Solana Beach border spanning 80 acres.

“Those sites are chosen because they can’t be easily done any other way,” Conlan said. “There’s not good access or just too massive … whereas a helicopter can just cruise over and get done in a few minutes in what would take us an awfully long time.”

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LOCAL AREA MOSQUITOES TEST WEST NILE VIRUS POSITIVE

From San Joaquin County MVCD
June 14, 2018

(STOCKTON, CA) – San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District’s (District) mosquito-borne disease surveillance program confirmed two West Nile virus (WNV) positive mosquito samples found in zip code 95219. “This is the first find of WNV in San Joaquin County for 2018 said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer of the District. “With warm weather, mosquito populations will continue to increase, leading to an elevated risk of WNV in humans, said Devencenzi.

Adult mosquito control activities will increase in accordance with the District’s surveillance results. The District does its part in controlling mosquitoes; however mosquito control is everyone’s responsibility. It is important that people protect themselves from mosquito bites.

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Whatever happened to Zika?

From Yahoo Finance
June 13, 2018

Three years ago, the Zika virus was making nearly daily headlines — its devastating effects on babies born to mothers who were infected by the virus triggered global public emergencies and thousands of canceled trips to Latin America and the Caribbean. Even some Olympians decided against participating in the 2016 Games because of the risk of getting bitten by a mosquito and becoming infected by Zika in Rio de Janeiro.

Now the infection has all but disappeared from the media landscape and conversation.

The Zika virus was first reported in the Western Hemisphere in 2015, just as the West African Ebola virus epidemic was declining. Though it was initially believed to be the result of a well-known related pathogen, the dengue virus, or possible exposure to a toxic insecticide, it soon became clear to clinicians and researchers that it was in fact a newly emergent virus.

Zika spread rapidly from northeastern Brazil to other South American countries, through Central America and up to the Caribbean, leaving a large number of people infected. The symptoms typically were mild and nonspecific — rash, fever and joint pain. Many of those infected had no symptoms at all.

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Crow tests positive for West Nile Virus in Humboldt County

From the Times-Standard
June 13, 2018

The following is a press release issued by the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services:

An American Crow in Humboldt County has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This is the first WNV-positive bird reported in the county this year.

Statewide, a total of 15 birds have tested positive for WNV already this year, according to the California Department of Public Health. No human cases have been reported.

“It’s early in the season to be seeing positive birds,” said Melissa Martel, Director of the Department of Health & Human Services’ Division of Environmental Health. “It takes several weeks of warm temperatures for the virus to intensify and several cycles of disease transmission for the virus to cause illness.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people get infected with WNV after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Mosquitos become infected when they feed on infected birds and can then spread the virus to other animals.

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Platform uses artificial intelligence to diagnose Zika and other pathogens

From EurekAlert
June 12, 2018

A platform that can diagnose several diseases with a high degree of precision using metabolic markers found in patients’ blood has been developed by scientists at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil.

The method combines mass spectrometry, which can identify tens of thousands of molecules present in blood serum, with an artificial intelligence algorithm capable of finding patterns associated with diseases of viral, bacterial, fungal and even genetic origin.

The research was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP and conducted as part of Carlos Fernando Odir Rodrigues Melo’s PhD. The results have been published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.

“We used infection by Zika virus as a model to develop the platform and showed that in this case, diagnostic accuracy exceeded 95%. One of the main advantages is that the method doesn’t lose sensitivity even if the virus mutates,” said Melo’s supervisor Rodrigo Ramos Catharino, principal investigator for the project. Catharino is a professor at UNICAMP’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCF) and head of its Innovare Biomarker Laboratory.

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Could A Single Vaccine Prevent Multiple Diseases Spread By Mosquitoes?

From The American Council on Science and Health
June 12, 2018

The reason there is no universal flu vaccine is because the influenza virus constantly changes. That’s why we get jabbed with a new vaccine every season; the vaccine from the previous year is unlikely to work against the strains of flu circulating this year.

The hunt for a universal influenza vaccine is based on targeting parts of the virus that don’t change. In theory, antibodies generated against these portions of the virus should confer protection against all influenza viruses. Whoever develops and successfully demonstrates such a vaccine should win a Nobel Prize.

But this may not be the only strategy for the creation of universal vaccines. Indeed, a team of researchers who are concerned by mosquito-borne illnesses has described a very clever idea for the development of universal vaccines in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Tick, mosquito and flea borne illness cases triple in 15 years

From WXOW
June 11, 2018

La Crosse County, WI (WXOW) –

They are an unfortunate part of summer – crawling, biting, flying, irritating hordes – and because of weather patterns, we may be seeing more of them.

“Winter kind of lasted until the middle of April for much of Wisconsin,” Gundersen Infection Preventionist Megan Meller said. “That’s a perfect condition for some of these insects like ticks and mosquitoes.”

The CDC says illnesses from ticks, mosquitoes and fleas have tripled since 2004, with tick-borne illnesses accounting for 60 percent of all those cases. Wisconsin and Minnesota are in the top 20 percent of reported cases.

“There’s other types of Lyme disease that are out there,” Meller said. “So it’s really best that we just be prepared for that.”

It takes more than 24 hours for a tick to transmit disease. Thorough body checks after a day in the woods or tall grass is key to prevention.

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West Nile Virus Found In Union City

From Union City Patch
June 11, 2018

UNION CITY, CA — Mosquitoes and birds infected with West Nile virus have been found in Union City, according to the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District. All of them were found near Ponderosa Cove Park.

“The presence of multiple West Nile virus infected mosquitoes and birds in this area are a threat to the health of people living in nearby neighborhoods,” said General manager Ryan Clausnitzer. “The District is dedicated to protecting the health of Alameda County residents.”

The virus, which can be deadly, is passed to people through a mosquito bite. It was found in two dead birds and two groups of mosquitoes. There have been no human cases reported in the county.

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State starts awareness campaign for mosquito-borne diseases

From The San Francisco Chronicle
June 10, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state has launched a plan to help boost awareness of mosquito-borne diseases and how to avoid them this summer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the goal is to protect New Yorkers against diseases carried by mosquitoes with statewide public education and outreach programs. The governor says the effort will help families stay safe when spending time outdoors during the warm weather.

The awareness campaign includes the state Department of Health issuing a seasonal mosquito-borne disease health advisory to all local health departments and health care providers. The advisory includes information on symptoms of West Nile virus, the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus and the Zika virus.

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Health experts warn Utahns to protect themselves from West Nile virus this mosquito season

From Desert News Utah
June 9, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s mosquito season has begun, and the Utah Department of Health is advising people to take extra precaution after last summer’s increase in West Nile virus cases.

Dallin Peterson, an epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health, said human West Nile virus cases last year reached Utah’s highest number in a decade, with 62 people who tested positive and five who died from the virus. Peterson said Utah usually only records about 10 cases of the virus a year.

Though there’s no clear factor causing an increase in mosquitoes and West Nile virus cases, Peterson said, wet springs and hot summers play a significant role in mosquito populations.

The state Department of Health oversees mosquito research with laboratory work and coordination with zoos, blood donation centers and other departments to track signs of West Nile virus in animals and people.

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Take precautions against ticks and mosquitoes this summer, urge health officials

From The Oakland Press
June 8, 2018

Officials aren’t sure whether this summer will be worse for biting insects such as mosquitos and ticks. It depends whether where you live has high humidity or standing water available.

But experts agree that whether there is an infestation or not, Oakland County residents need to take precautions to prevent the diseases insects may carry.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas tripled in the U.S. from 2004 to 2016.

The report said Lyme disease from ticks is an increasing concern for Michigan, though no cases have been reported in Oakland County the past two years, according to the Oakland County Health Department. West Nile virus from mosquitoes is also on the rise, with five county cases reported in 2017.

Michigan State University entomologist Howard Russell said it’s difficult to say definitively if it will be a bad summer for mosquitos.

“Future generations of mosquitos depend on how much standing water there is,” he said about the necessary habitat needed for mosquitoes to lay eggs.

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County health officials put out West Nile warning

From the Thousand Oaks Acorn
June 7, 2018

With warmer summer weather and increased outdoor activities, a higher risk of exposure to mosquitoes is expected.

Since mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus or Western equine encephalitis virus, the Ventura County Environmental Health Division advises the public to take precautions to protect against mosquito bites and assist with the effort to control mosquitoes.

To minimize exposure to mosquitoes, eliminate standing water from property and make sure doors and windows have tightfitting screens without holes.

When outdoors, wear protective clothing and apply an EPA-approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

If water is stored in rain barrels or other containers for longer than a week, cover all openings with tight-fitting lids or 1/16-inch fine mesh screen.

The division monitors and controls mosquitoes at approximately 2,400 mosquito breeding sources throughout Ventura County.

The public is asked to report mosquito activity or potential mosquito breeding sites by calling the complaint hotline at (805) 658-4310.

Mosquito-eating fish are available to the public for use in ornamental ponds and water features. To request the fish, call (805) 662-6582.

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Thank you for helping make us more aware of threat from mosquitoes

From The Modesto Bee
June 7, 2018

Letter to the Editor

I appreciated reading Richard Pan and Bill Quirk article “Handling risks of mosquito-borne diseases” (Page 8A, May 25) and agree it’s important to remember how to stay safe and avoid misquotes while enjoying the summer – which means for many families swimming, going to lakes and being outdoors. So, our chances for encountering misquotes is high. Also, it was interesting they mentioned the number of deaths in California from West Nile in the last 15 years and how it’s continuing to grow. It’s very important for people in California to understand how serious this, is and to take precautions.

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The bloodsuckers are back: Local officials warn of mosquito, tick activity

From Los Altos Town Crier
June 6, 2018

Recent temperature fluctuations notwithstanding, warm weather has returned to the Bay Area, and with it comes the annual onslaught of disease carriers like mosquitoes and ticks, county officials warned last week.

Locally, May and June are considered the start of the active West Nile virus season, and Lyme disease peaks in ticks in July, according to Russell Parman, Santa Clara County Vector Control District assistant manager.

“As things heat up, most of the processes that go on inside the bug also run faster,” Parman said.

FLYING FOES

Culex tarsalis (Western encephalitis mosquito) and Culex pipiens (Northern house mosquito) are the two local mosquito species that transmit West Nile, a viral infection that can lead to flu-like symptoms and even death.

Vector Control has yet to trap any mosquitoes infected with the virus so far this season. Last year’s season marked the first time the agency did not detect West Nile-positive mosquitoes since 2004, when the virus appeared in Santa Clara County.

“We’re hoping for the same this year, but it’s not likely,” Parman said.

Officials also hope to keep Zika, the birth-defect-causing virus, at bay. Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito), the species capable of transmitting Zika, are not native to California and are not currently active in the Bay Area, but they have been in the past. Aedes aegypti was discovered in Menlo Park in 2013 and Aedes albopictus made an appearance in Mountain View in 2003, according to Vector Control.

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7 Scary Diseases You Can Get from a Mosquito Bite

From Reader’s Digest
June 5, 2018

Skeeters can spread deadly disease. Malaria, dengue, and yellow fever kill several million people every year, according to the World Health Organization. Here’s what you need on your radar—and how worried you should be.

When mosquitoes bite a person or animal infected with a virus, like Zika, dengue, or St. Louis encephalitis, the skeeter can go on and transmit when they bite another person. That’s scary, considering that these are stealth little buggers that bite you on the sly. However, time for a deep breath: “While these diseases are in the news, there’s relatively little risk to either people living in the U.S. or traveling abroad,” says Jared Aldstadt, PhD, a medical geographer and expert in the transmission of mosquito-borne illnesses at the University of Buffalo. That said, while the likelihood is low, the risk is real, so having these diseases on your radar is smart. Learn about 10 things that attract mosquitoes.

You might not have heard of Zika until 2016, when the CDC issued a travel alert for places known to have the virus. Particularly concerning was the fact that the Zika virus was linked to microcephaly, a birth defect in which the baby’s head is smaller than normal. The virus is transmitted by a bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Despite the outbreaks, it’s quieted down significantly in 2018. Why? There’s one Zika virus, and you can only get it once. That means people who have already been bitten by infected Aedes mosquitoes are immune, limiting its spread, says Aldstadt. As of May 2018, only 21 cases had been reported in the United States all year, and none were from U.S. mosquitoes—all of those infected had been traveling to affected areas, according to CDC data. Learn why one company decided to release 20 million mosquitoes in California.

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Newcastle Disease found in backyard flock in San Bernardino County

From CDFA
June 4, 2018

There has been a discovery of Newcastle Disease in San Bernardino County. 

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian-influenza-disease/vnd

https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Animal_Health/Newcastle_Disease_Info.html

CDFA is asking vector control agencies in Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties to institute additional biosecurity measures, including a 72 hour downtime between poultry farm visits and the wearing of protective booties. Additionally, they would like vector control agencies to notify the farmers before visiting so any additional biosecurity measures (e.g. disinfectant for shoes).

Mosquito Season is here on the Central Coast

From KEYT
June 4, 2018

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. – With summer weather and longer days does the increase in outdoor activity which means a higher risk of exposure to mosquitoes.

The Ventura County Health Division says that mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as the West Nile Virus and the St. Louis Encephalitis Virus or Western Equine Encephalitis Virus.

The Ventura Health Division monitors and controls about 2,400 mosquito breeding sources in Ventura County.

Health Officials advise people to eliminate standing water from their property, no matter how small, and to make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens without holes.

When going outside, make sure to wear protective clothing and apply an EPA approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. If you have rain barrels, you can mosquito proof them by covering the opening with a tight-fitting lid or a 1/16-inch mesh screen.

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Protect horses from West Nile virus now

From the Chico Enterprise-Record
June 4, 2018

Butte County Public Health is urging all horse owners to get their trusty steeds vaccinated for West Nile virus, the mosquito-borne illness transmitted to animals and people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Horses are at high risk for the virus because they spend most of their time outdoors, including dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes capable of transmitting the disease are most active. West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes breed in standing water, including ponds, water troughs and irrigation run-off, increasing the risk for horses.

While the last reported West Nile virus horse death in Butte County occurred in 2012, 21 horses statewide including some in Sacramento, Tehama and Glenn counties were confirmed positive for WNV in 2017.“We issue this reminder to get horses vaccinated every year in May or early June before the active WNV season really begins,” said Lisa Almaguer, Health Department communications manager. “It’s a precautionary measure because one-third of the horses affected with WNV die or have to be euthanized.”

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Potential cure for Zika virus in fetuses

From upmatters.com
June 4, 2018

Researchers believe they’ve found something to stop the Zika virus from attacking fetuses. It’s a common drug that’s been around for years. 

Professor Alysson Muotri never thought he’d find a potential cure for Zika in his stem cell lab at UCSD. He started searching for a virus like Zika and he found one in early 2016. 

Muotri, Phd, Stem Cell Program Director, UC San Diego School of Medicine, says, “When we aligned the genome or the genetic material from the hepatitis c virus and the Zika virus, we noticed that they are from the same family and they share a region that is very similar between these two.”  

It’s the region the viruses use to replicate. Muotri tested the hepatitis c drug Sofosbuvir on brain stem cell models he calls “mini brains.”

Muotri continues, “The moms got very clean from the virus. There is no circulating virus in the body, and as a consequence, the fetuses are protected.”  

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INVASIVE “AUSSIE MOZZIE” FOUND IN LA MESA

From East County Magazine
June 1, 2018

June 1, 2018 (La Mesa) — San Diego County residents now have one more reason to find and dump out standing water in and around their homes to fight mosquitoes.

County environmental health officials have found a new type of invasive, aggressive, day-biting mosquito in La Mesa — the Australian backyard mosquito, Aedes notoscriptus, also known as the “Aussie Mozzie.”

County officials said they believe the mosquito is more nuisance than human health risk. However, it is aggressive and prefers to live and breed near people; in yards and even inside homes.

“One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from mosquitoes is to get rid of all standing water so they can’t lay eggs and breed near you,” said Chris Conlan, a supervising vector ecologist with the County’s Vector Control Program. “That means dumping water out of the saucers under flowerpots and toys laying in the yard. These mosquitoes are called the ‘backyard mosquito’ for a reason.”

County Vector Control found three adult female Australian backyard mosquitoes last week in a trap they placed in La Mesa in response to a complaint about mosquito bites. The mosquito had previously been found in Los Angeles about three years ago.

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Zika virus researcher says conditions are right for another outbreak

From ABC 7 Fort Myers
May 31, 2018

This year there have already been more than 40 travel related Zika cases in Florida – 15 of those were found in Southwest Florida.

On top of that, local researchers say conditions are right for another outbreak.

“You don’t have to wait many years in between these outbreaks,” said biology professor, Scott Michael. “Sometimes they [the outbreaks] catch us by surprise.”

Michael teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and is also one of the leading researchers in the fight against Zika.

“Studying viruses is my way of helping,” Michael said. “These things are global as well as local.”

The work being done in his lab will go beyond Florida – it is going to reach parts of the world that need it.

Michael said the Zika virus is still a big issue for people in the Caribbean.

He said it not only takes an economic toll but also an enormous amount of human suffering, especially with children.

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Mosquito season hits Bay Area

From KRON 4
May 31, 2018

SAN JOSE (KRON) – Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, a pair of dead birds has tested positive for West Nile Virus on the Peninsula–and that means mosquito season is here and vector control is taking action. 

Dead crows found in Mountain View and Palo Alto have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

It means that mosquito season has arrived and with it the potential for the spread of the virus to humans.

“Once the mosquitoes are flying, and we know a certain proportion of them have the virus in them, they’re like little hypodermic needles and anyone who gets bitten by one of those mosquitoes is going to acquire an infection,” Santa Clara County Vector Control Assistant Manager Russ Parman said.

That’s why vector control is hunting for mosquitoes breeding. Trapping and testing are underway.

So far, no human cases of West Nile have been reported, but the virus is out there and the threat is real.

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How Can I Keep Infectious Diseases From Ruining My Summer Travel?

From U.S. News
May 30, 2018

THE THRILL OF TRAVELING is one of life’s most exciting delights. But it can also have a downside. Some travelers, particularly those headed to remote or exotic foreign destinations, may end up dealing with an infectious disease during or after a trip. These illnesses can range from just a nuisance to life-threatening, so it’s important to be prepared before you travel and know what to look for when you return to keep an infectious disease from ruining your travel buzz.

Dr. Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at the Johns Hopkins Health System in Baltimore, says the term infectious disease refers to “any disease caused by a pathogen.” These pathogens may include viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. “Any of these kinds of microorganisms that can cause disease in humans – we would term that disease an infectious disease,” she says.

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Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Illinois

From KWQC
May 30, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) — The Illinois Department of Public Health has identified that mosquitoes from Glenview and Morton Grove, Illinois have tested positive for West Nile virus.

North Shore Mosquito Abatement District staff collected the positive mosquitoes on May 25, 2018. No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year.

Monitoring for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches, dead perching birds, as well as testing sick horses and humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms.

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Why It’s Difficult For Viruses To Turn In To Deadly Pandemics

From NPR
May 29, 2018

Zika, bird flu, West Nile virus, Nipah: The world is constantly being warned of a new disease that threatens to wipe out humanity, and then it doesn’t. Why?

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The World Health Organization is in the midst of an experimental campaign to vaccinate tens of thousands of people in Congo against Ebola. The country is battling a new outbreak of the disease there. Also in the news – an outbreak of a deadly disease called Nipah in India. These are just some of the latest viruses to raise alarms around the world. Two years ago, it was Zika – before that, bird flu. Health officials say all these viruses have the potential to kill millions, and yet they haven’t. NPR’s Michaeleen Doucleff is here to explain why.

Hi, Michaeleen.

MICHAELEEN DOUCLEFF, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: So what’s going on? Why are there so many false alarms, if we can call them that?

DOUCLEFF: Yeah, so first off, I don’t want to minimize the power of these diseases. These are incredibly destructive outbreaks, even when they’re small or just restricted to a small area. For instance, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people. But for viruses to turn into pandemics that wipe out millions of people, they need two things – a high mortality rate, and they need to spread very easily. And it turns out, for viruses, this is really hard. For instance, Ebola – it’s very deadly but doesn’t actually spread very quickly or well. Same goes for Nipah, the virus that just cropped up in southern India. It kills up to 70 percent of people infected, but it also doesn’t spread very well.

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It’s time to start thinking about mosquito deterrents

From The Chicago Tribune
May 29, 2018

The hot weather likely drew a few pesky and uninvited guests to holiday picnics this past weekend.

Mosquito season has returned and so has the annual reminder for folks to do their part in helping keep the mosquito population at bay.

Kane County Health Department spokesman Tom Schlueter said what most people are experiencing is a nuisance mosquito, which is not known for carrying disease.

The real threat, he said, comes from the Culex mosquito because it carries the dangerous West Nile virus. Last year 90 people tested positive for West Nile in Illinois, and eight people in the state died from the disease, according to Illinois Department of Public Health figures.

Because this mosquito species prefers hot, dry weather and its females lay their eggs in stagnant, still water, Schlueter said it’s critical to drain any liquid that’s accumulated in containers, flower pots, old tires and gutters and to change the water in bird baths weekly.

So far this year, no mosquitoes trapped in Kane or DuPage counties have tested positive for West Nile.

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Fewer babies born in Brazil amid Zika outbreak, study says

From KXLY.com
May 29, 2018

(CNN) – An increase in birth defects associated with a 2015-2016 epidemic of Zika virus in Brazil caused widespread concern, fear and in some cases hysteria throughout the Americas. Now, research suggests that broadcasts of the epidemic coupled with dire health warnings inspired a very real response from the population.

About 120,000 fewer babies than expected were born from late 2015 through 2016, after the Zika outbreak began in Brazil, according to a study published this week in the scientific journal PNAS. The findings suggest that, due to fears of potential effects of a Zika virus infection during pregnancy, Brazilians postponed pregnancy or possibly had an increased number of abortions, the authors say.

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San Diego County Prepares For Mosquito Season By Offering Free Home Inspections

From KPBS
May 28, 2018

The number of diseases from mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

San Diego County health officials say the populations of the invasive Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes — which can carry diseases including Zika, dengue and yellow fever — are increasing.

To safeguard your home, county inspectors will come to your property to look for mosquito breeding grounds for free.

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Warmer Weather Increases Risk Of Mosquito, Tick Infestation

From San Francisco Gate
May 28, 2018

Warmer temperatures in Santa Clara County may soon bug residents – literally, county officials said. 

The warming trend could result in increased mosquito and tick activity, so residents need to be diligent in inspecting and maintaining their properties, not to mention themselves and their pets, according to the city’s Vector Control District. 

To keep mosquitoes from reproducing and spreading West Nile Virus, the public is urged to eliminate standing water. This includes pet water bowls, which should be replaced frequently; birdbaths, which should be refilled weekly; and water in potted plant saucers. 

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Zika vaccine could eliminate prenatal infections

From the Digital Journal
May 27, 2018

According to research from Yale School of Public Health, and supported by the American College of Physicians, a Zika vaccine would have a significant effect on mitigating and preventing future Zika virus outbreaks. The researchers postulate that via a mix of direct protection measures, with a vaccine, and an indirect practices designed reduce of transmissions, then the virtual elimination of the virus is achievable.

The researchers indicate that their computer model demonstrates the near elimination of Zika even with an imperfect vaccine and coverage that does not reach 100 percent. Zika vaccines are currently being developed, led by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO has launched several initiatives which maintain dialogue between vaccine developers, regulators and public health, aimed at identifying how best to achieve a rapid, robust, safe, and evidence-based licensing of Zika virus vaccines.

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University of Wisconsin studies bats to find West Nile Virus

From WAOW.com
May 27, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — –

A recently published study by University of Wisconsin researchers found the bats they studied ate 17 different types of mosquitoes, including nine that are potential carriers of the West Nile Virus.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that researchers studied two species of bats; the little brown bat and the big brown bat.

Researchers analyzed the bats’ fecal material from samples collected at more than 20 Wisconsin sites in 2014.

Amy Wray is the study’s author and a UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology PhD student.

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El Dorado County Reports West Nile Virus Found In Bird

From KTVN
May 23, 2018

Health officials in El Dorado County are reporting that a bird found in the South Lake Tahoe area has tested positive for West Nile Virus.

This is the first case found in the area for 2018.

The animal in question was collected on May 7. 

Three counties reported West Nile in dead birds this year, including San Mateo and Santa Clara.

Health officials say West Nile positive birds can heighten the risk of infection in humans. West Nile is transferred to humans through mosquitoes that carry the virus after they’ve fed on infected birds. The illness cannot spread from person-to-person but they’re saying it’s important to take precautions.

Symptoms of West Nile vary, with some showing no signs at all to high fever, severe headache, fatigue or a stiff neck that can last up to several weeks. The most serious cases can lead to encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain and can be fatal.

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How mosquito saliva could help scientists make a vaccine

From Michigan Radio
May 22, 2018

It’s not just the mosquito bite that’s a problem. When a mosquito bites you, it also drools on you.

Silke Paust is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.

“During this poking around phase, basically, and during the feeding, it automatically secretes saliva proteins,” she says.

She says there are more than 100 proteins in mosquito saliva. Paust and her team found those proteins trigger a complex immune response.

“If we can identify proteins in mosquito saliva that are required for pathogen transmission generally, then we can perhaps develop vaccines for them,” she says.

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Mosquitoes are out

From Plumas County News
May 21, 2018

People encouraged to protect themselves

Mosquito season is in full swing and the insects aren’t just nuisances, they can be dangerous.

There’s a whole list of diseases they carry depending on the insect — Zika, West Nile, Malaria and others. Of course it can depend on what part of the United States or which foreign country someone visits for some, but other disease opportunities are right here in Plumas County and the state.

Mosquitoes

It seems there is a scientific reason why mosquitoes like some people and almost never bite others — it’s all in the blood. Or rather close to it.

Actually there are two main reasons why mosquitoes are attracted to some people and not others.

Sight and smell seem to have a lot to do with why a mosquito is attracted to particular humans.

Mosquitoes use their eyes to find a target, according to Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida in Vero Beach. Especially in the late afternoon, mosquitoes are more apt to be out scouting for food.

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Great Lakes States to Collaborate on West Nile Virus Monitoring in Ruffed Grouse

From KXRA
May 21, 2018

A region-wide effort to better understand West Nile virus in ruffed grouse is getting underway in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

“In the Great Lakes region, West Nile virus has been found in a small number of grouse with no known population-level effects at this point,” said Charlotte Roy, grouse project leader with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Still, we want to let hunters know we’re in the first steps of monitoring the virus, and we’re planning to do some limited testing of birds this fall.”

In 2017, West Nile virus was identified in more ruffed grouse in the Great Lakes states than in the past. The virus has been present in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin for about 17 years.

West Nile virus has been documented in more than 250 species of birds; however, not all birds develop clinical disease from the virus. Corvids (including blue jays and crows) are very prone to illness and death from the virus, while other species may be less so or may not develop symptoms at all.

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Ticks and mosquitoes bringing more diseases – what can we do?

From WTOP
May 21, 2018

Joyce Sakamoto, Pennsylvania State University and Shelley Whitehead, Pennsylvania State University

(THE CONVERSATION) Cases of vector-borne disease have more than doubled in the U.S. since 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported, with mosquitoes and ticks bearing most of the blame.

Mosquitoes, long spreaders of malaria and yellow fever, have more recently spread dengue, Zika and Chikungunya viruses, and caused epidemic outbreaks, mainly in U.S. territories. The insects are also largely responsible for making West Nile virus endemic in the continental U.S.

Ticks, which are not insects but parasitic arthropods, actually cause more disease in the U.S. than mosquitoes do, accounting for 76.51 percent of total U.S. vector-borne disease cases. These include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and newer diseases as well.

Why the uptick in vector-borne disease, and more importantly, how can we protect ourselves from potentially serious diseases? As researchers of these types of diseases, we have some answers.

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Mosquito-borne diseases are a real threat in California. Let’s manage the risk

From The Sacramento Bee
May 18, 2018

Since 2004, cases of disease spread by pests such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes have tripled nationwide. According to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, these vector-borne diseases increased in the U.S. from 27,388 in 2004 to 97,075 in 2016.

Around the world, diseases spread by mosquitoes alone kill hundreds of thousands of people each year. Here at home, we are working hard to track and control the spread of West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika. Vaccines simply do not exist for most of these illnesses. Vector control is the best and only preventative defense against the health threats they pose.

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Ticks carrying Lyme disease are not a major threat in Southern California – yet

From Redlands Daily Facts
May 17, 2018

With summer approaching and more people hiking or simply enjoying the Southern California sunshine, concerns about blood-sucking ticks spreading Lyme disease are real.

However, while the disease infiltrated California nearly 30 years ago, the number of cases are way below those reported in the Northeast and Midwest. Vector-borne disease experts say Lyme disease is simply not a serious problem in Southern California.  The more prevalent problems come from mosquitoes carrying Zika, West Nile, dengue fever and chikungunya which afflict hundreds of people every year, experts say.

Still, that doesn’t mean Lyme disease never will be a problem.

Prevention and early detection are part of the safety protocol extended by the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as vector control and county health departments.  Experts recommend wearing bug repellent before going outside, and performing a post-hike body check for the black, spider-like creatures that can burrow deep in the skin.

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Lab-confirmed prenatal exposure to Zika is linked to cardiac defects in infants

From UCLA
May 16, 2018

For the first time, researchers have found evidence that infants with laboratory confirmation of Zika exposure before birth have a higher prevalence of major cardiac defects compared to infants who were not exposed to the mosquito-borne virus.

Researchers confirmed in utero exposure to the Zika virus in 97 children through tests that detected the virus while their mothers were pregnant or when the infants tested positive for the virus after birth. In 23 other infants, the mothers tested positive for Zika while pregnant and the infants were found to have the virus after birth.

The researchers found that 48 babies (or 40 percent) had cardiac abnormalities. Of those, 13 infants (10.8 percent) had major cardiac defects that impacted the heart structure. None of the defects, however, required immediate surgical or medical treatment.

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Houston named one of the worst cities in the U.S. for mosquitoes

From Houston Business Journal
May 16, 2018

Houston ranked No. 7 on a recent list of the 50 U.S. cities with the most mosquitoes. Houston ranked behind Dallas, which ranked No. 2.

The list is compiled by Orkin, an Atlanta-based pest control company and subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL), which ranks metro areas by the number of new residential and commercial mosquito customers it has served from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.

Atlanta ranked No. 1. Other Texas cities to make the list include Austin at No. 20, San Antonio at No. 37, the Abilene area at No. 39, Waco at No. 41 and the Harlingen area at No. 50. Click here to see the full list.

Mosquito season most often comes alongside Spring temperatures, and are most active in temperatures above 80 degrees. Breeding season usually runs July through September, while peak West Nile virus season is usually not until late August through September, or even October in some areas.

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Officials show off new technology used to fight mosquitoes with Zika, West Nile

From KHOU11
May 15, 2018

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Now that the warm weather is here, Harris County officials say the perfect breeding conditions for mosquitos have arrived.

Harris County is home to 56 different kinds of mosquitoes.

At a press conference, the Harris County Office of Emergency Management showed off new technology and traps they’re using. They’ve placed nearly 500 traps at 268 sites around the county.

The county is continuing to partner with Microsoft research, using high-tech traps that can determine with infrared technology, when a a Zika mosquito has been caught or a West Nile mosquito has been caught, based on the flap of its wing. These traps can also determine the precise time the mosquitoes have been captured in the traps.

There is also a new interactive Mobile Mosquito and Vector Control Unit, which will help inform the community about mosquito born illnesses, such as Zika and West Nile virus. Dr. Umair Shah with the Harris County Health Department says the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus bite during the day. The mosquitoes that carry West Nile are considered nighttime mosquitoes.

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Bees attack 4 in CA neighborhood. One person pulled from pool in critical condition

From The Tribune
May 15, 2018

One person was severely hurt and three others have minor injuries after they were attacked by a swarm of bees in a California neighborhood on Tuesday.

When Cal Fire firefighters arrived on scene in Palm Desert just before 9 a.m., they found “multiple bees in the area,” according to a release. Two of the victims were able to safely reach medics, while another victim had to shelter in place in their home, Cal Fire said.

Firefighters pulled the fourth person out of a pool, according to Cal Fire. They were taken by ground ambulance to a hospital in critical condition. The other three bee victims declined treatment.

As of about noon, Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District staff were able to get the bees under control, Cal Fire said. Palm Desert is about 125 miles east of Los Angeles.

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