West Nile virus detected in Fresno mosquitos

From YourCentralValley.com
June 14, 2019

FRESNO, California – Mosquitos in the city of Fresno tested positive for West Nile virus, the Fresno County Department of Public Health announced Friday.

The Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District notified the Department of Public Health of West Nile positive virus tests in adult mosquitoes collected from an area around portions of Fresno – specifically in the 93710 area code.

“This confirmation is a strong reminder that everyone should take this disease seriously and should take every precaution to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” says Leticia Berber, health educator for the Department of Public Health.

The health department recommends that residents contact their local mosquito control district regarding standing water or mosquito problems, as well as to report any neglected swimming pools.

Neglected pools are a major source of mosquito production in urban and suburban areas, the health department said.

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Ripon mosquito Found to have West Nile Virus

From the Manteca/Ripon Bulletin
June 14, 2019

West Nile Virus is here again. 

On Thursday, the San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District announced that mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus – which can be transmitted to humans and can be deadly in certain populations – have been discovered in San Joaquin County. 

The West Nile Virus positive mosquitoes were discovered in traps that were set in both Ripon and Tracy. 

The discovery and subsequent announcement of its arrival came less than a week before the disclosure that mosquitoes had tested positive for the virus last year on June 17. 

“This find serves as a reminder that mosquitoes carry disease that can harm humans. The District does its part in controlling mosquitoes; however, mosquito control is everyone’s responsibility,” said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer of the District. “Adult mosquito control activities will increase in accordance with our surveillance results.”

With last year being the worst year for concentration of the virus in and around San Joaquin County since 2014 – with a 125 percent spike in the number of confirmed cases of the virus in humans coming between August and September – spraying efforts continued well into the fall in order to eradicate the adult populations that transmit the virus. 

Is it Zika or dengue? New CDC guidance advises doctors to test patients for both.

From the Miami Herald
June 14, 2019

Summer in South Florida brings warm weather, high humidity and mosquitoes — an ideal environment for two closely related viruses, Zika and dengue fever.

Scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that they want clinicians to keep both diseases in mind whenever patients present with fever, rash, and joint and muscle pain.

Zika and dengue fever have surfaced in South Florida in the past. Both are transmitted primarily by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, though Zika can also be transmitted by sex and through blood transfusions. And both produce similar symptoms.

“Both of them can have some pretty bad consequences but in different populations,” said Tyler Sharp, a health scientist with the CDC’s dengue branch in Puerto Rico and author of a report advising doctors and nurses to be on the lookout for both diseases.


Wake-up call for vector-borne diseases that are on the uptick

From the American Medical Association
June 12, 2019

Diseases from mosquito and tick bites occur in every U.S. state and territory. The growing incidence of Lyme disease and recent outbreaks of Zika virus and chikungunya point to the need for comprehensive vector-borne disease (VBD) programs. Physicians, health care teams and patients should be much more aware of VBDs, says an AMA Council on Science and Public Health report whose recommendations were adopted at the 2019 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago. 

Sixteen VBDs “are reportable to state and territorial health departments and the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System,” says the council report. “The most common VBDs in the United States are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West Nile virus, dengue and Zika virus disease. As a group, VBDs in the United States are notable for their wide distribution and resistance to control.” 

Vector-control programs vary by jurisdiction, placing responsibilities on the local health department, mosquito control district or other local agencies. As a result, there are differing capabilities across the country.  

“Our country currently has limited capacity to properly control mosquitoes, ticks and other sources of vector-borne disease that are causing more and more people to become ill. In fact, approximately 80 percent of vector-control organizations lack the resources they need to prevent and control vector-borne diseases,” said AMA Board Member E. Scott Ferguson, MD.  

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29 More Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile in Coachella Valley

From MyNewsLA.com
June 12, 2019

The number of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus reached new heights in the Coachella Valley this week, vector control officials said Wednesday.

The Coachella Valley Vector Control District collected 29 samples of mosquitoes with the virus in the last week, bringing the total number of positive samples collected this year to 108, according to the district’s Tammy Gordon.

At this time last year, no West Nile-positive mosquitoes had been detected, Gordon said.

The most recent samples were collected from communities across the valley, including Coachella, Indio, Mecca, Thermal and La Quinta.

Gordon said the sample collected from La Quinta marked the first time West Nile virus has been detected in that city so far this year.

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Hundreds of thousands of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes to be released

From FOX 26 News
June 11, 2019

The amount of mosquitoes in Clovis is now expected to go up this summer but it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually, a technique to get rid of a particular species of mosquitoes that are capable of carrying multiple diseases.

You can swat them, smack them, or wear DEET repellant but that’s a temporary fix to get rid of these pesky bloodsuckers. The Consolidation Mosquito Abatement District Manager Steve McMullan says, the Aedes Aeypti Mosquito is a huge problem in our area and has the potential to carry Dengue, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, and West Nile Virus.

Which is scary for many of us to think about. “A female could potentially spread the disease locally. We have not had any locally transmitted disease in California but we have had imported cases,” said Steve McMullan.

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It’s Summer Time, and the Living Can Be Buggy

From WEHOville
June 11, 2019

It’s summer (finally).  And it’s not just the sunburn you have to worry about.  The Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Control District is warning residents of West Hollywood and other westside communities about the dangers of mosquitos.

Of the 50,000 varieties of mosquitos in the world, there are more than 50 in California and nine in the West Vector Control District, which covers 720 square miles and includes the cities of Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Culver City, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, the westerly portion of Los Angeles City, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Monica, Torrance, West Hollywood, Westlake Village, and  the unincorporated territory of the County of Los Angeles.

Perhaps the most worrisome form of mosquito in our area is the Aedes mosquito, a small insect with black and white stripes that is known as an aggressive biter during the day as well as night. According to the West Vector Control District, it typically breeds indoors and outdoors in plant saucers and other containers filled with as little as a teaspoon of water.

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Pesticide sprayings to start soon to fight West Nile in Sutter-Yuba area, officials say

From The Sacramento Bee
June 11, 2019

In an effort to target West Nile virus in the Sutter-Yuba area, “ultra low volume spraying” will begin June 27 and continue weekly until the fall, officials said.

The Sutter-Yuba Mosquito & Vector Control District will spray in the areas of Wheatland, Plumas Lake, Olivehurst, Linda, Marysville, south Yuba City, Live Oak, Sutter and Tierra Buena, usually on Thursday evenings, according to a news release. The Meridian and Robbins areas will be sprayed on Wednesday evenings.

The pesticide sprayings will depend on the volume of mosquitoes, disease activity and the weather, according to the release. Spraying by foggers on pickup trucks will begin at sunset and continue for two to three hours, officials said.

Ground fogging to combat adult mosquitoes in farmland will occur Monday through Thursday evenings, starting on June 11, the release said. Aerial spraying may occur in farmland north of Marysville, west of Yuba City, and east of Olivehurst/Plumas Lake.

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Genetically modified fungus provides new option for malaria vector control

From Healio
June 9, 2019

Through genetic modification, researchers have weaponized the fungus Metarhiziumpingshaense, which is a natural pathogen to mosquitos that carry malaria. Trials performed in a contained, near-natural environment demonstrated that the fungus successfully suppressed a malaria-carrying anopheline mosquito population.

Writing in ScienceBrian Lovett, a doctoral student in the department of entomology at the University of Maryland, and colleagues explained that M. pingshaenseeffectively delivers mosquito-eliminating toxins to Anopheles species mosquito populations that have developed resistance to insecticide.

“The application of Metarhizium spores inside traditional houses in Tanzania reduced the number of infectious bites, but complete protection was prevented by the pathogen’s low virulence (slow killing and high inoculum loads) and low persistence,” Lovett and colleagues wrote. “To remedy these deficiencies, we engineered a strain of Metarhizium pingshaense (Mp-Hybrid).”

In the laboratory, mosquitos were killed faster using lower spore doses with the Mp-Hybrid, as opposed to the wild-type M. pingshaense fungus. Following these experiments, the researchers conducted a trial in near-field conditions in Burkina Faso, a malaria-endemic country that reported more than 7.9 million cases of malaria in 2017. This was accomplished using what they called the “MosquitoSphere” — near-natural environment complete with animals, huts, plants, and breeding sites made of plastic sheets buried in soil — all enclosed in a greenhouse frame with walls of mosquito netting.

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Don’t Bring Zika Home This Summer

From Precision Vaccinations
June 8, 2019

Contrary to everyone’s hopes, the Zika virus has returned to the USA and its territories in 2019. 

As of June 7, 2019, the states of California (19), Florida (20), and Utah (1) have reported 40 travel-related Zika cases this year. 

Thus far, these states have documented Zika infections in people who were infected while traveling abroad. 

Additionally, Puerto Rico recently confirmed 18 Zika cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These new Zika cases were acquired through the presumed local, mosquito-borne transmission during 2019. 

These new Puerto Rico cases are in addition to the 146 Zika cases confirmed by the CDC during 2018

Unfortunately, there have been 9 pregnant women confirmed in Florida with Zika. 

This information is very concerning from a public health perspective. While many people with Zika virus infection experience no symptoms, the virus poses potentially serious risks to unborn children. 

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Kern Co. Health Dept. warns of rise in mosquito activity

From 23 ABC News Bakersfield
June 6, 2019

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County Public Health Department is warning residents of the dangers of a recent increase in mosquito activity in the county.

Public Health was alerted by the Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District that recent rainy weather “has created a lot of opportunities for mosquito breeding.”

Gene Abbott, the District Manager for Kern Mosquito and Vector Control, says an increase in activity has been detected.

“We have detected more mosquito activity earlier in the year than normal,” Abbott said. “We need everyone in our community to help keep mosquitoes to a minimum by removing standing water around their homes.”

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Mosquitos in Palm Springs, Indio, Coachella, Thermal, Mecca test positive for West Nile

From the Desert Sun
June 4, 2019

If you’re feeling itchy in the morning, here’s why: Mosquitoes are out in full force.

Thanks to warm temperatures now and previous rainfall creating the perfect breeding environment, the local mosquito population is on the rise. At least, it is among the types of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus.

Now, Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District officials are urging people to protect themselves from being bit and getting itchy or, much worse, sick from the virus.

“It can be life-changing,” lab manager Jennifer Henke said. “Everywhere that you are, you should be protecting yourself from being bit by mosquitoes.”

Thirty-seven mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley so far this year, whereas there had been no positive samples by this time last year. Seven positive samples came from Palm Springs, 10 were in Indio, and eight were in Coachella. The rest were from Thermal, Mecca and North Shore.

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Reno County Health Department working to prevent Zika and West Nile Virus

From KSN.com
June 4, 2019

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Mosquito season has begun and the recent rain has created more breeding grounds. 

The Reno County Health Department began working with Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Biological Survey to trap and actively monitor the mosquito population across the county from May to October.  Mosquitoes can spread diseases like West Nile virus and Zika to humans.

The Culex mosquitoes have been found in the traps and are known to transmit West Nile virus. Most people with West Nile virus infection do not have any symptoms. Mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting can occur. Less than 1 % of people develop severe illness that may require hospitalization. Severe symptoms include neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, muscle weakness, numbness, paralysis and even coma or death. If you develop severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Zika Aides mosquitoes have also been found in traps and are known to transmit the Zika virus. Common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. Symptoms can last for several days to a week.  Zika during pregnancy can cause birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, and other defects. If you develop symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

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San Antonio researchers working on Zika vaccine for pregnant women

From CBS Austin
June 4, 2019

Researchers at Texas Biomed say they are working on an effective vaccine to protect pregnant women against the Zika virus.

The Department of Defense awarded the Texas Biomedical Research Institute $2 million to study what the facility calls a “promising experimental Zika vaccine.”

“If there’s something we can do to intervene for a pregnant woman and her fetus who are at risk, it’s certainly something we want to be looking at. I think most of the work being done now is focused on how we intervene during pregnancy since that is where the risk is,” explained Professor Jean Patterson, Ph.D., a Principal Investigator (PI) on the study.

The Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn fetus, which can lead to serious birth defects, the CDC states.

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Butte Strong approves over $300,000 grant to combat mosquitoes

June 3, 2019

After the Camp Fire in 2018, and a particularly wet winter season, the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District sought approval for a grant to combat the public health threat of mosquitoes in the Camp Fire burn scar areas.

On Monday, the Butte Strong Fund approved a grant request of $310, 434 from the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District. The mosquito district asked for the financial help for increased labor costs and insecticides needed to suppress mosquito breeding sources in the Paradise area.

The Butte Strong Committee granted its unanimous approval of the proposal at a meeting Friday.

“We learned two weeks ago that state and federal funding was not readily available to support the massive increase of work in our Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District in the aftermath of the Camp Fire,” said Alexa Benson-Valavanis, President and CEO of the North Valley Community Foundation. “This is exactly the sort of gap in resources and time delays that can cause danger to not only the people already deeply impacted by the camp fire, but the entire region.

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CDC: Tick, Mosquito-Borne Illnesses On The Rise

From CBS Minnesota
June 3, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Enjoying the outdoors in the spring and summer also means protecting yourself from mosquitoes and ticks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the number of cases involving those pests has more than tripled since 2004.

“We had to watch him well because when we rescued him, he had Lyme disease,” Deb Thompson said.

Even on a beautiful evening at Como Lake in St. Paul, Roger and Deb Thompson are keeping a close eye on their dog, Axel. The 4-year-old German Shepherd mix had Lyme disease when they adopted him.

“We put the flea tick stuff on him. We use a little bottle that we spray it down like that,” said Roger, showing how he protects Axel from ticks while also giving him a flea and tick collar to wear.

The CDC wants families to keep an eye out for themselves, too.

Between 2004 and 2016, the number of disease cases stemming from mosquito, tick and flea bites more than tripled.

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First diagnostic test for Zika virus gets FDA’s OK to market

From CBS News
May 29, 2019

Four years after Zika fever began making alarming waves on the global stage, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrating is allowing the marketing of the first test to detect the Zika virus in human blood.

The FDA’s authorization involves a test dubbed the ZIKV Detect 2.0 IgM Capture ELISA, made by InBios, a Seattle-based developer of diagnostic kits for viruses including West Nile and dengue. The company has “a niche in tropical, or neglected diseases,” said a spokesperson.

Zika was the first mosquito-born virus viewed as capable of causing severe birth defects on a large scale, with microcephaly — a condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains — one of its more horrid outcomes. There have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an illness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika.

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Butte County officials on high alert for West Nile virus

From the Enterprise-Record
May 30, 2019

BUTTE COUNTY — Public health officials are on high alert over a possible significant increase in West Nile virus cases this summer.

Recent rains combined with challenges left over from the Camp Fire are creating a haven for mosquitoes. Officials warn that several factors may contribute to one of the worst summers for West Nile virus cases if residents don’t take precautions now.

“Right now, we are really on high alert,” said Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District Manager Matt Ball. “It only takes one bite from a mosquito.”

With the increased amount of rain, many breeding grounds and standing pools of water are still in the area which include: miscellaneous containers, rain gutters, septic tanks, debris material and stagnant pools are still in the area. The remaining water combined with increased temperatures creates quite the “perfect storm” for mosquitoes in the area, according to Ball.

Historically speaking, the West Nile virus becomes active every June and starts winding down in the cooler autumn months around October. Although Ball said some of the water sources mosquitoes breed in will disappear as the heat returns, homeowners should always remain vigilant.

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West Nile risk rising for horses in Camp Fire burn area. Butte officials urge vaccinations

From the Sacramento Bee
May 30, 2019

Horses owners in Butte County should vaccinate their animals against West Nile virus, health officials warn, as mosquitoes are expected to proliferate in the Camp Fire burn area after a particularly rainy season.

West Nile virus is a potentially serious, sometimes fatal disease that can be transmitted to animals and people through the bite of an infected mosquito, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Horses face increased risk for the virus because they generally are outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquito activity is highest, according to a news release Wednesday by the Butte County Public Health department.

In 2018, six of the 11 horses in California that tested positive for the virus died or were euthanized, the release said. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent West Nile virus in horses, officials said.

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Vector Control District To Spray For Mosquitos In Three Areas This Week

From MyNewsLA.com
May 29, 2019

Vector control officials announced Wednesday they are planning to spray for mosquitos in three separate areas of the Coachella Valley between Thursday and continuing into the weekend.

The Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District will continue to conduct what are known as “ultra-low volume applications” of pesticide spray beginning Thursday in parts of the cities of Coachella and Palm Springs, where West Nile virus was detected earlier this month. Officials also are planning to start conducting spray applications in a rural area near Thermal beginning on Friday.

“While control efforts have reduced adult and larval mosquitoes in those areas, the adult mosquito population continues to be above average,” according to an agency statement.

There have been no reported human cases of West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley.

The treatments near Thermal are set to be conducted by helicopter Friday through Sunday during the overnight hours between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., in an area bounded by Avenue 68, Johnson Street, Avenue 74 and state Route 86, according to the Vector Control District.

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South Pasadena Bites Back! | Mosquito Protection Workshop

From The South Pasadenan
May 24, 2019

The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District invites residents to the “South Pasadena Bites Back” workshop on Tuesday, June 11 at 7 p.m. to tackle mosquitos in the community.

The event will take place in the South Pasadena Library Community Room, 1115 El Centro Street.

Sponsored by the South Pasadena Animal Commission and the Natural Resources and Environmental Commission (NREC), the interactive hour will provide the public with information on how to effectively protect themselves from mosquitoes and to make this a community effort with their neighbors.

“The responsibility of controlling mosquitoes in our beautiful city is shared by everyone,” reads a flyer for the event. “Let’s work together to make South Pasadena more bite-free.”

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West Nile Virus found in Visalia mosquitos

From yourcentralvalley.com
May 23, 2019

VISALIA, California – Mosquitos in Visalia tested positive for West Nile Virus, the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency said Thursday.

Sampling from a mosquito trap in southwest Visalia tested positive.

Delta Vector Control District, the testing agency, and the Tulare County Health & Human Service Agency’s Public Health Branch are asking Visalia residents to be vigilant against mosquito bites.

West Nile Virus is an illness caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Symptoms can vary in severity, and though most individuals experience minimal to no effects, symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes, while severe symptoms include disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and paralysis, the agency said.

Anyone who experiences symptoms after being bitten should contact their doctor or local clinic.

Mosquitoes are infected with West Nile Virus by taking a blood meal from an infected bird.

It is imperative that community members take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes and report dead birds and incidences of high mosquito presence.

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FDA authorizes marketing of first diagnostic test for detecting Zika virus antibodies

From the FDA
May 23, 2019

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized marketing of a diagnostic test to detect Zika virus immunoglobulin (IgM) antibodies in human blood. The ZIKV Detect 2.0 IgM Capture ELISA is the first Zika diagnostic test the FDA has allowed to be marketed in the U.S.; previously, tests for detecting Zika virus IgM antibodies—including the ZIKV Detect 2.0 IgM Capture ELISA—had been authorized only for emergency use under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority.

“At the onset of the Zika virus outbreak, when little was known about the disease or how to diagnose it, the FDA worked quickly with manufacturers to encourage the development of diagnostic tests and ensure they were available using our emergency use authorities,” said FDA Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. “Today’s marketing authorization is a great demonstration of the FDA’s work to protect the public health in emergency response situations. We ensured there were tests made available quickly under EUA, but we continued to work with diagnostic manufacturers to take the next step of ensuring products were FDA reviewed for safety and effectiveness and authorized under our traditional premarket authorities.”

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Cases of microcephaly quadruple in Costa Rica due to Zika

From The Tico Times
May 23, 2019

Health authorities reported Wednesday that the births of children with microcephaly in Costa Rica have quadrupled since the appearance of the Zika virus in 2016.

According to data from the Costa Rican Nutrition and Health Research Institute (INCIENSA), between 2011 and 2015, an average of 30 cases of microcephaly were recorded in national territory. That figure increased to 163 in 2017.

Microcephaly is a neonatal malformation characterized by a head much smaller than that of other children of the same age and sex. It is caused by the Zika virus.

Children with microcephaly may have delayed speech and motor function development, visual and hearing impairments, or other problems associated with neurological abnormalities.

According to INCIENSA, the first imported cases of Zika in Costa Rica were detected in February 2016, before the confirmation of the first autochthonous cases and first outbreaks.

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

Given the increase in cases of microcephaly, the Health Ministry and the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja) are coordinating a strategy whereby all pregnant women from 31 priority cantons receive a preventive kit containing mosquito net, male and female condoms, and repellent.

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Watch out for mosquitoes – and West Nile risk – this Memorial Day weekend, officials warn

From The Sacramento Bee
May 23, 2019

The Sacramento region has logged record-breaking rainfall levels this May – and mosquitoes are sure to follow.

Mosquitoes love standing water, and with Memorial Day activities coming up this weekend, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District is reminding people to be wary of the blood-suckers, which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus.

“As you celebrate with a backyard barbecue, a camping trip or enjoy other outdoor activities, it’s important to protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing an effective mosquito repellent,” Gary Goodman, district manager, said in a press release.

In 2018, the Sacramento region experienced an “intense” mosquito and West Nile virus season, with 26 confirmed human cases in both Sacramento and Yolo counties, according to the press release.


Saint Lucia Records Decrease In Zika Cases

From the Saint Lucia Times
May 21, 2019

Press Release:– Thanks to a meaningful partnership between the government of St. Lucia and the United States Government, St. Lucia has seen a reduction in Zika cases.

Addressing a close-out ceremony for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported, Zika Maternal and Child Survival Program, the US Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS, Linda Taglialatela, lauded the important health partnership, which has supported clinical and non-clinical Zika services.

The Ambassador told the audience, which included Permanent Secretary, Mr. Felix St Hill and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks, that Zika cases have decreased in St. Lucia due to work done to curb the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses in several communities.

“The sudden decrease in cases, compared to the same period of April 2016, suggests that there has been a significant decrease to the risk of Zika infection in St. Lucia.”  The Ambassador also noted that tools, procedures, and systems have been developed to minimize the effects of Zika and ensure a strengthened response in the future.

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Insecticide spraying will be carried out in Palm Springs to prevent West Nile

From the Valley News
May 21, 2019

PALM SPRINGS – Palm Springs will be the third city in the Coachella Valley to be sprayed with insecticide following the netting of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus within the city limits, vector-control officials announced.

Neighborhoods in Indio and Coachella were sprayed with an “ultra-low” volume of insecticide last week to prevent the spread of mosquitoes infected with WNV found in those cities.

The same measures will be taken in Palm Springs between Thursday and Saturday, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, which trapped a new batch of WNV-infected mosquitoes in the city last week.

“What makes this year unlike others is the swiftness in which West Nile virus was detected in so many different areas of the Coachella Valley,” CVMVCD General Manager Jeremy Wittie said. “With the upcoming holiday weekend, people will want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.”

The insecticide is not toxic to humans, and will be sprayed in a mist in such amounts that it will not present harm to any animals larger than an insect, CVMVCD spokeswoman Jill Oviatt said. In addition to Palm Springs, Indio and Coachella will be misted again to prevent further transmission of the virus.

The sprays will be coordinated in 12-hour shifts starting at 8 each night in order to avoid killing off any bees, officials said.

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Cool, wet spring causes increase in mosquitoes around the Valley

From Fox 10 Phoenix
May 19, 2019

PHOENIX (FOX 10) – A soggy spring and cooler than normal temperatures have Maricopa County Vector Control working hard tracking an unusually busy and early mosquito season, which is causing concern over the growing number of West Nile Virus cases discovered. 

Traps have been set, and thousands of mosquitoes have already been collected by Maricopa County Vector Control. It’s only mid-May.

Division Manager, John Townsend, says the department is busier than usual. 

“Right now it’s a lot worse than it was last year,” said Townsend. 

This map is an indication of just how bad the mosquitoes are biting, and Townsend says there’s been a shift: more bugs are being trapped in central locations versus south of the Valley. 

“It’s kind of amplifying in nature in the birds and the mosquitos but for whatever reason, we are picking it up,” said Townsend. 

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West Nile mosquitoes discovered in Palm Springs

May 17, 2019

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.- – Residents urged to take precautions against mosquito bites after two samples of mosquitoes collected from a trap in Palm Springs tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

A statement issued Friday morning said these were the first samples of mosquitoes to test positive for the virus in Palm Springs this year. 

The trap was located near the intersection of Mesquite Avenue and Gene Autry Trail. The mosquito samples were tested at the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District laboratory.

District staff will post disease notification signs in neighboring communities and will intensify mosquito surveillance with an increase in traps. A statement said technicians would also carry out larval and adult control as necessary in the surrounding area in an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes and interrupt further virus transmission. 

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Early dengue virus infection could ‘defuse’ zika virus

From Science Daily
May 17, 2019

“We now know for sure that Zika virus infection during pregnancy can affect the unborn fetus in such a way that the child develops microcephaly and other severe symptoms,” explains Prof Felix Drexler, a virologist at the Charité who has been developing diagnostic tests for Zika and other viruses at the DZIF. Just a few years ago, pictures of affected new-borns were cause for worldwide dismay and perplexity. “However, what we did not understand then was that high incidence of microcephaly seemed to occur particularly in northeastern Brazil,” says Drexler. Why are expecting mothers in these regions at a higher risk of developing a severe Zika-associated disease than in other regions? The scientists consequently began to search for cofactors that have an influence on whether a Zika infection during pregnancy will develop fatal consequences or not.

A suspected cofactor

Dengue viruses, which are widespread in Latin America and cause dengue fever, were suspected cofactors. Initially, the scientists suspected that the antibodies humans produce against the dengue virus contribute to the fetal damage caused in later Zika infection. It has been known for a long time that these antibodies can enhance subsequent dengue infections under certain conditions.

However, in the case of Zika, the opposite seems to be the case. “Surprisingly, our study has shown that a previous dengue infection can protect against Zika-associated damage,” emphasizes Drexler.

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Despite lull in activity, area health officials say they will stay vigilant for Zika virus

From The Monitor
May 17, 2019

McALLEN — Health officials in the Rio Grande Valley and Tamaulipas on Thursday warned about the ongoing dangers of the Zika virus, which is still a serious threat in South Texas after setting off a global health crisis in 2015.

After 18 Zika virus cases in Hidalgo County in 2017 and eight in 2018, county investigators have identified only one Zika virus infection in 2019.

“You have to stay ready,” said Eddie Olivares, chief administrative officer for Hidalgo County Health and Human Services.

To help health officials stay ready this week was the annual State of Texas Active Response to Zika conference held at the McAllen Convention Center, with attendees in town from Texas and Northern Mexico. The conference is appropriately set in Hidalgo County, one of nine Texas counties identified to be at a higher risk of spreading Zika due to the warm climate and favorable landscape for year-round mosquito activity, officials said.

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2nd mosquito offensive planned as West Nile found in Coachella Valley again

May 14, 2019

Responding to a rising number of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes in the area, vector-control officials plan to spray insecticide from trucks in select Indio and Coachella neighborhoods later this week.

According to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, two batches of infected mosquitoes were trapped in the valley over the past four days. The number of infected mosquitoes trapped this spring is double the five-year average, and four times as many were caught in April compared to the same month last year, district officials said.

Two weeks ago, insecticide was sprayed from helicopters over select areas in response to the discovery of infected mosquitoes. But in light of the most recent discovery, vector-control officials plan to do another round of spraying nightly from Thursday through Saturday, this time from trucks.

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Long-term consequences of Zika virus infection

From EurekAlert!
May 13, 2019

Mice exposed to the Zika virus during later stages of gestation present behaviors reminiscent of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a study of genetically diverse animals. The findings, published in JNeurosci, suggest children exposed to the virus during the 2015-16 epidemic may harbor increased risk for developmental disorders.

Microcephaly — a smaller than normal head — is the most well-known and visible consequence of Zika virus exposure. Recent research, however, has found brain and behavior abnormalities in Zika-exposed infants without microcephaly.

Abigail Snyder-Keller and colleagues at the New York State Department of Health and the University of Albany School of Public Health examined these more subtle disruptions in male and female mice of four distinct genetic backgrounds. The public health researchers exposed mice to the virus during a period analogous to the third trimester in humans and report different effects depending on the sex and strain of the mouse. This research provides a first step toward studying the full range of possible outcomes in individuals exposed to the Zika virus in the womb.

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North Bay Mosquitoes Arriving Early

May 13, 2019

Mosquitoes are popping up across the North Bay a little early this year. The region’s mosquito season has arrived earlier than expected due to warmer spring temps and more precipitation than usual. The Marin-Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District have been seeing an uptick in calls, which started about two weeks ago. They’re urging people to check their outdoor areas to get rid of standing water that become a habitat for mosquitoes.

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Winter rain, spring heat bring a heavy mosquito season to the North Bay

From The Press Democrat
May 12, 2019

The North Bay is experiencing a heavier and earlier mosquito season this year, thanks to major winter rains and warmer spring temperatures.

The atmospheric rivers that passed through the region earlier this year resulted in large areas of stagnant water, providing the perfect environment for adult mosquitoes to flourish with the recent heat spikes, according to the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District.

The district has experienced a 119% increase in calls for service compared to this time last year — with one recent day registering almost 200 calls within the two counties, spokeswoman Nizza Sequeira said. The agency typically fields about 5,000 service calls a year on a range of pests from mosquitoes to yellow jackets to rodents.

The last time there was as large a call volume for the district was in 2016. The high season typically runs from mid-spring through October, Sequeira said.

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Florida’s High-Tech War Against Mosquitoes Involves Drones

From Medical Daily
May 11, 2019

Residents of South Florida may soon see small unmanned aerial vehicles flying over their communities. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District plans to launch a new project that aims to utilize drones to stop the spread of potentially harmful mosquitoes. 

Officials said the organization will spend the entire summer to spray or distribute larvicide over salt marshes and other remote areas using the drones. The project will mainly target the Aedes aegypti mosquito species, which is known for carrying deadly diseases, like zika and dengue fever.

Florida Keys hopes the project will eliminate the breeding grounds of the mosquitoes and reduce the population of such insects. Officials also said the high-tech effort will help the local government save a large amount of money, Futurism reported.

The drones will seek remote pools of standing water, a task previously assigned to large, manned helicopters, WLRN has learned.

“In order to dispatch a helicopter to treat those very small sites, it’s very expensive for the district,” Andrea Leal, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, said. Each drone could carry up to seven or eight pounds of larvicide. 

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Mosquito Season has Arrived. Beware of Standing Water.

From GVWire.com
May 11, 2019

As temperatures in the Fresno area heat up, agencies are ramping up their information offensives so residents can gird themselves against mosquitoes that can carry the deadly West Nile or Zika viruses.

Fourteen cases of people contracting the West Nile virus were reported by Fresno County officials in 2018. Symptoms include body aches, shortness of breath, headaches and fatigue.

There also were 119 cases of mosquito traps set by the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District that showed a presence of West Nile.

As for the Zika virus, infections thus far have been documented only in people who were infected while traveling outside the United States or through sexual contact with an infected traveler. But the Vector Control District urges residents to stay vigilant.

So you should ask yourself: Am I cooking up a breeding ground for mosquitoes? It only takes about a week for a mosquito to grow from an egg into an adult.

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From Coachella Valley MVCD
May 10, 2019

Press Release

Four samples of mosquitoes collected from traps in Coachella, Indio, and Thermal tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). They are the first mosquitoes in 2019 to test positive for the virus in the Coachella Valley. The positive samples contained mosquitoes from traps located near the following locations: Avenue 53 and Shady Lane in Coachella; Avenue 43 and Golf Center Parkway in Indio; and Avenue 60 and Tyler Street in Thermal. Virus testing was conducted in the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District lab.

District staff will post disease notification signs in communities located near the trap locations and will intensify mosquito surveillance with an increase in traps and inspections for mosquito breeding sites. Technicians will also carry out larval and adult control as necessary in the surrounding area in an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes and interrupt further transmission of the virus.

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West Nile virus found in east valley mosquitoes for first time in 2019, officials say

From the Desert Sun
May 10, 2019

West Nile virus has been detected for the first time this year in mosquitoes in the eastern Coachella Valley, officials said Friday. 

Four mosquito samples collected in Coachella, Indio and Thermal tested positive for the virus, which can be transmitted to humans through a bite, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Most infected with the virus won’t become sick, officials said. Some end up suffering flu-like symptoms while others will require hospitalization. It can also be fatal.

The positive samples were collected at three locations: Avenue 54 and Shady Lane in Coachella, Avenue 43 and Golf Center Parkway in Indio and Avenue 60 and Tyler Street in Thermal.

As a result of the virus being detected, officials will post signs in the areas near the traps and increase inspections.

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Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in Indio, Coachella, Thermal

May 10, 2019

INDIO, Calif.- – Mosquitoes in three desert cities have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (CVMVCD). 

This is the first instance of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus this year. 

Four samples which were gathered from traps that had been set up in Indio, Coachella, and Thermal tested positive.

The traps were set up in the following locations:

  • Avenue 53 and Shady Lane in Coachella
  • Avenue 43 and Golf Center Parkway in Indio
  • Avenue 60 and Tyler Street in Thermal

Testing was conducted in the CVMVCD lab.

“The wet winter and warm temperatures produced more mosquitoes than we usually have at this time of year, so it is not surprising to see virus activity,” said Jeremy Wittie, General Manager of the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. “We urge residents across the valley to be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites given we have detected the virus in three different locations spanning a wide area.” 

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Officials bracing for the mosquito invasion

From Sierra Wave Media
May 9, 2019

News release

(This is a joint communication from the Mono County Health Department and the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program (OVMAP):  Big snow years can mean big mosquito seasons and we are expecting some bugs!

Thank you to Rob Miller (OVAP), Anna Scott (Inyo County HHS), Joe Burns (CDPH), and our own Louis Molina (MCHD) for info and edits.)

Mosquitoes are annoying but can also carry diseases. Local authorities expect large numbers of mosquitoes in our area this spring due to lots of snowmelt and runoff. West Nile Virus has affected people in the Eastern Sierra in recent years, although to date it remains uncommon.

Currently public health experts are monitoring the spread of invasive Aedes mosquitoes such as the Aedes aegypti, and albopictus which have been introduced into the United States from other countries and established themselves from San Diego to the Central Valley. Invasive Aedes mosquitoes can also spread other viral diseases that we would rather not have in our region, including dengue, yellow fever, Zika and Chikungunya.

Fortunately, none of these viruses are currently known to be transmitted within California, but thousands of people are infected with these viruses in other parts of the world, including in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

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How Families Can Stay Safe and Healthy While Traveling This Summer

From U.S. News
May 8, 2019

AS THE WEATHER WARMS and the school year comes to a close, lots of families are planning to hit the road.

For many, it’s a great time to visit places and people near and far away. However, it’s also important during this busy travel season to take some precautions.

Here are some things to keep in mind – and ways to stay safe and healthy – if you’re planning to travel with your family this summer:

1. Airplanes are filthy.

We all know it. But, were you aware that research has been done to identify patterns of infectious disease transmission in the friendly skies? Although there are no comprehensive guidelines, we do know that airplane tray tables are infrequently cleaned. Given that, packing wipes to clean the areas your family will be touching – like the tray table, armrests and headrests – is not a bad idea.

Window seats are better protected from the constant aisle traffic, providing a slightly better position to avoid germs. Regardless of where you sit, however, remember the pockets on the backs of seats in airplanes are never cleaned. The pockets often hold trash, dirty Kleenex tissues, food and other nasty items. So keep your stuff out of there.

2. Flying with a baby? Get cozy.

I recommend my families “wear their infant” – using a baby carrier – through the airport. Not only will you be hands-free to carry all the packages and luggage, but it will also decrease the need to put the baby down in potentially dirty areas.

The best baby carriers hold your baby snugly and securely to your chest, allow you to easily see your child at all times and have a supportive back to keep your baby’s chin off his or her chest. Using a baby carrier also creates a natural barrier that discourages strangers from getting close enough to admire your little one and accidentally share some germs.

3. Zika is still a thing.

Just because the Zika virus isn’t in the headlines doesn’t mean it’s no longer a threat. If you’re traveling to the Caribbean, South America, Mexico, Africa, Asia or the Pacific Islands, Zika precautions still apply for pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant in the near future.

Talk with your health care provider about potential risks and precautions, including safer sex practices during the trip and after your return, if you do travel to an area where Zika has been transmitted.

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Where Are Californians Acquiring the Zika Virus?

From Vax Before Travel
May 8, 2019

May 8th, 2019 – The State of California Health and Human Services Agency reported 17 Zika virus disease cases during 2019. 

According to this May 1, 2019 report, all 17 of these Zika cases are ‘travel-associated.’ 

The State of California defines this term to mean ‘persons exposed through travel to an affected area or contact with a traveler.’ 

Since federal privacy laws prohibit the State of California from disclosing where or how these Californians were exposed to the Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes an extensive list of countries that have been associated with the Zika virus. 

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From Futurity
May 7, 2019

The timing of a hurricane is one of the primary factors affecting the spread of mosquito-borne infectious diseases such as West Nile virus, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, a new study shows.

Researchers developed a mathematical model to study the impact of heavy rainfall events (HREs) such as hurricanes on the transmission of vector-borne infectious diseases in temperate areas of the world, including the southern coastal United States.

In the aftermath of this type of extreme weather event, the mosquito population often booms in the presence of stagnant water. At the same time, the breakdown of public and private health infrastructure can put people at increased risk of infection.

The study, which appears in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, finds that the risk of a disease outbreak is highest if the HRE occurs early in the transmission season, or the period of time when mosquitoes are able to pass on the virus to humans.

According to the study, an HRE that occurs on July 1 results in 70 percent fewer disease cases compared to an HRE that occurs on June 1.

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New Camp Fire horror: Mosquitoes in droves

From the Chico Enterprise-Record
May 2, 2019

CHICO — It’s the time of year when the mosquito abatement office starts revving up with news about protection and prevention against the bugs.

But for the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District staff, it’s a spring like no other. The mosquito control district is reeling from the Camp Fire, but in a way that many may not realize.

“The Camp Fire has thrown us unforeseen challenges. We are overwhelmed,” said district manager Matt Ball.

Ball and his staff have been dealing with abandoned pools here and there throughout the county, but those numbers are rampant in Paradise.

“You’ll come up and there will be no house, but a pool in the back yard full of green water,” Ball said this week. No one is visiting the house site to deal with the pool, as one by one, the house debris is collected during clean-up.

Worse yet, the clean-up does not include pools, which are left as is, but fenced. The district is encouraging property owners to get mosquitofish for free for those pools. Switching on the pool recirculation system can help move the water and prevent egg laying, Ball said.

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Springtime marks the start of mosquito season. How to prepare

From ABC 30
May 1, 2019

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A cemetery may seem like an unlikely place to start the annual battle against mosquitos, but the flower pots and the water in them can be a primary breeding ground for these pests.

“We are finding an extreme amount of mosquito larvae in the usual places,” said Ryan McNeil. “Hot spots around town, the Fig Garden area, local cemeteries, the zoo, places of that nature.” 

Crews from the Mosquito Abatement team are placing insecticide pellets in pots with standing water in the cemetery. Elsewhere mosquito fish are placed in old swimming pools or unused fountains where the water is still. 

The best way to keep mosquitos away is to eliminate any standing water around your home.

“The main thing residents of the county and everywhere can do to reduce the risk of mosquitos and the diseases they carry is to get rid of standing water,” McNeil said. “Whether it’s a flower pot, tires, children’s toys, trash, anything that can hold water.” 

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Yellow fever, Asian tiger mosquitoes adept at transmitting Zika

From Clay Today
May 1, 2019

Yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes found in Florida – and infected with the Zika virus – are good at transmitting the virus, new University of Florida research shows. Zika can make people sick and in rare cases may cause paralysis (Guillain-Barré Syndrome) and birth defects.

Zika was in the news a lot in 2015 and 2016 after an outbreak of the virus in Brazil made its way via humans to people in Florida and other places. Scientists believe the yellow fever mosquito was the primary culprit behind that Zika outbreak.

Meanwhile, researchers at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and across the globe are keeping a close eye on the virus and how it goes from mosquito to human. By continuing to research Zika, UF/IFAS scientists hope to provide better information to mosquito control officials and health care practitioners.

“Despite the absence of current local transmission in Florida, Zika will remain a public health threat for the foreseeable future in the Americas,” said Barry Alto, an associate professor of entomology at the UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach. “This study and many others address gaps in our understanding of the epidemiology of Zika,”

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Mosquito season begins as Vector Control tries to keep it under control

From ABC 7
May 1, 2019

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) — It’s warming up, and that means more time outside for people in the Bay Area. It’s also the start of mosquito breeding season. 

Mosquitoes can do more than ruin your picnic — they can make you sick. In Concord, the fight against the pesky insect is already underway. 

Vector Control yechnician Chris Doll is on a search and destroy mission, crunching his way through the brush and negotiating a steep hillside to get down to Mt. Diablo Creek in Concord — still flowing because of all the rain this winter. 

Looking down at the narrow creek bed, he said, “Right here, this a really good example of a creek becoming a good mosquito source.” 

Tiny fish of the Guppy family who can eat 200 mosquito larvae each day will do the actual fighting. He brings them in clear plastic bags filled with water and releases them into the creek. 

The creek is not a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes — yet. 

“They like stagnant standing water with a lot of organics,” Doll said. 

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Building a Molecular Weapon in the Fight Against Zika

From SUM
April 30, 2019

The Zika virus, first identified in 1947, made headlines in 2015 with an outbreak in Brazil, followed by cases elsewhere in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. The virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects in the children of pregnant, infected mothers. No antiviral drug has been specifically approved to treat it.

Now, researchers from Hunter College and the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at The Graduate Center, CUNY, have developed a series of molecules that have strong anti-Zika activity while showing low toxicity toward animal cells.

The paper, authored by Ph.D. student Fernando Bravo, Hunter College undergraduates Milan Shlain and Yasir Naeem, and Professor Adam Braunschweig of Hunter College and the ASRC, appears in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

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What animal is leaving dirt mounds in the middle of sidewalks?

From The Lewiston Tribune
April 30, 2019

Dear Joan: After living here almost 40 years, we are suddenly seeing gopher or mole mounds popping up all over the seams of our front sidewalk and driveway.

From time to time, we and some neighbors have seen this happen on our lawns, but this is the first time I have seen it in the concrete areas. I’m unsure how to tackle this since there is little space between the concrete joints to place traps or drop some poison.

Am I going to need professional help or is there a way to do this yourself?

— Don Senger

Dear Don: I turned to the experts at the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District for an answer, and Terry Davis, vertebrate program supervisor for the district, says those mounds are the work of moles.

That’s actually good news because you really don’t need to do anything. Moles are mostly harmless. They eat insects, which they find by burrowing in the soil. They won’t eat your garden plants, and any damage they cause is accidental, disturbing roots around the plants.

They don’t chew on pipes or wires. They just tunnel and eat worms, beetles and other denizens of the deep.

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