Scientists reveal details of antibodies that work against Zika virus

From EurekAlert!
February 25, 2021

ROCKVILLE, MD – The Zika outbreak of 2015 and 2016 is having lasting impacts on children whose mothers became infected with the virus while they were pregnant. Though the numbers of Zika virus infections have dropped, which scientists speculate may be due to herd immunity in some areas, there is still potential for future outbreaks. To prevent such outbreaks, scientists want to understand how the immune system recognizes Zika virus, in hopes of developing vaccines against it. Shannon Esswein, a graduate student, and Pamela Bjorkman, a professor, at the California Institute of Technology, have new insights on how the body’s antibodies attach to Zika virus. Esswein will present the work, which was published in PNAS, on Thursday, February 25 at the 65th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting.

Zika virus is a kind of flavivirus, and other flavivirus family members include dengue, West Nile, and yellow fever virus. To protect against these and other pathogens, “we have the ability to make a huge diversity of antibodies, and if we get infected or vaccinated, those antibodies recognize the pathogen,” Esswein said. But sometimes when the body mounts an immune response against a flavivirus, there is concern that this response could make the person sicker if they get infected a second time. Called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), this happens when the antibodies stick to the outside of the virus without blocking its ability to infect cells, which can inadvertently help the virus infect more cells by allowing it enter cells that the antibodies stick to.

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Zika vaccine candidate shows promise in phase I trial

From MedicalXpress
February 16, 2021

The Zika virus candidate, Ad26.ZIKV.001, a replication-incompetent human adenovirus serotype 26 (ad26) vector showed promising safety and immunogenicity in a phase I clinical trial. Researchers say the vaccine warrants further development should the need reemerge. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Zika virus (ZIKV) infection is transmitted via mosquito or sexually and may cause severe congenital disease after maternal-fetal transmission. The incidence of Zika virus has declined since the 2015-2016 outbreak, but geographic expansion of the Aedes aegypti mosquito to areas where population-level immunity is low poses a substantial risk for future epidemics. Currently, no vaccine is available.

Researchers from Janssen Vaccines and Prevention and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center randomly assigned 100 healthy participants to either a 1- or 2-dose regimen of Ad26.ZIKV.001 or placebo to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the Zika vaccine candidate. They found that 2 doses of Ad26.ZIKV.001 were safe, caused mild to moderate reactogenicity, and induced persistent neutralizing .

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Researchers Unveil Detailed Genome of Invasive Malaria Mosquito

From UC San Diego
February 11, 2021

Despite the broad notoriety of sharks, snakes, scorpions and other formidable creatures, mosquitoes remain the deadliest animal on the planet… by far. Mosquito-transmitted malaria remains the number one worldwide killer among vector-borne diseases, claiming more than 400,000 human lives in 2019.

In order to engineer advanced forms of defense against malaria transmission, including targeted CRISPR and gene drive-based strategies, scientists require intricate knowledge of the genomes of vector mosquitoes.

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In vitro study helps explain how Zika virus passes from mother to fetus during pregnancy

From EurekAlert!
February 3, 2021

Tampa, FL (Feb. 3, 2021) — A preclinical study by a University of South Florida Health (USF Health) Morsani College of Medicine research team has discovered a new mechanism for how Zika virus can pass from mothers to their children during pregnancy – a process known as vertical transmission.

The researchers showed, for the first time, that specialized cells lining the uterus (maternal decidual cells) act as reservoirs for trimester-dependent transmission of the virus through the placenta – accounting for both the fetus’s greater susceptibility to first-trimester Zika infection and for the more serious congenital defects observed in early versus late pregnancy. They also report that the agent tizoxanide inhibits ZIKA virus in maternal decidual cells grown in the lab, offering promise for preventing perinatal transmission that can cause devastating malformations and brain damage in developing fetuses and infants.

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Student Scientist Searches for Therapeutics to Treat West Nile Virus

From Cal State Fullerton
February 2, 2021

With no treatment or cure for West Nile virus — spread through the bite of an infected mosquito — Cal State Fullerton undergraduate researcher Shaina Nguyen is working on creating new therapeutics to treat people infected with the disease.

“Hopefully, our research could provide possible drug therapeutics to stop West Nile virus,” Nguyen said.

Since her freshman year, Nguyen, a biochemistry major who is graduating in May, has worked in the lab of Nicholas T. Salzameda, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. The researchers are seeking treatments since there is no vaccine or medications available for the mosquito-borne disease. 

In the ongoing study, the faculty-student research team is studying a viral protein for the West Nile virus, known as the NS2B-NS3 protease, which is responsible for producing viral particles for replication and is a promising therapeutic target in stopping infection, Nguyen said.

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New malaria mosquito emerges in African cities, and experts are worried

From Business Ghana
January 31, 2021

A new malaria mosquito is emerging in African cities, with potentially devastating consequences for those living there, according to a new study.

The larvae of Anopheles stephensi — India’s main mosquito vector of malaria — are now “abundantly present” in locations across Africa, researchers from The Netherlands’ Radboud University Medical Center and Ethiopia’s Armauer Hansen Research Institute said. Vectors are living organisms that can transmit infectious pathogens between humans, or from animals to people.

This mosquito species only appeared in Africa a few years ago. Now, this invasive insect is “abundantly present” in water containers in cities in Ethiopia — and highly susceptible to local strains of malaria, researchers have said.

Most African mosquitoes that can transmit malaria are known to breed in rural areas. However, experts were already concerned this particular mosquito has found a foothold in urban areas, including cities in Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti, which researchers said could increase the malaria risk for urban populations.

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Genetically-modified mosquitoes key to stopping Zika virus spread

From EurekAlert!
January 26, 2021

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In 2016, the World Health Organization called the Zika virus epidemic a “public health emergency of international concern” due to the virus causing birth defects for pregnant women in addition to neurological problems. Since then, researchers have wrestled with different strategies for controlling the spread of Zika virus, which gets transmitted to humans from female mosquito bites.

One approach, which was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in May, will release more than 750 million genetically modified mosquitos into the Florida Keys in 2021 and 2022. These “suicide mosquitos” are genetically-altered to produce offspring that die before emerging into adults and therefore cannot bite humans and spread disease.

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Medical Moment: Zika virus for childhood cancer?

From 16 News Now
January 22, 2021

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – While the world is in a rush to find a way to kill off COVID-19, another virus is making a comeback in an unexpected way.

Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in kids under age one.

In two out of three cases, the cancer has already spread by the time of diagnosis.

Martie Salt has details on how researchers are using the zika virus to treat this devastating childhood cancer.

The team is now focused on perfecting dosages and identifying which tumors the zika virus will attack.

The researchers say this treatment could also be effective against brain tumors.

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Here’s what the first year of Zika looks like

From Yahoo News
January 7, 2021

 

The Zika virus came seemingly out of nowhere and broke all the rules. Here’s a look at the plot twists during the first year of the virus – and where it’s going next.

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New defense against dengue and emerging mosquito-borne viruses

From EurekAlert
January 7, 2021

New treatments to cut the global death rate from dengue, Zika and West Nile viruses could result from research led by The University of Queensland.

Associate Professor Daniel Watterson from UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences said the team identified an antibody that improved survival rates in laboratory trials and reduced the presence of virus in the blood.

“We made a discovery in 2015 in the wake of the Zika outbreak that identified a new target for flavivirus treatments, a viral protein called NS1,” Dr Watterson said.

“Now we’ve shown for the first time that a single NS1 antibody can be protective against multiple flaviviruses including dengue, Zika and West Nile.

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The Antimalarial Compound Atovaquone Inhibits Zika and Dengue Virus Infection by Blocking E Protein-Mediated Membrane Fusion.

From Physicians Weekly
December 31, 2020

Flaviviruses bear class II fusion proteins as their envelope (E) proteins. Here, we describe the development of an in vitro quantitative mosquito-cell-based membrane-fusion assay for the E protein using dual split proteins (DSPs). The assay does not involve the use of live viruses and allows the analysis of a membrane-fusion step independent of other events in the viral lifecycle, such as endocytosis. The progress of membrane fusion can be monitored continuously by measuring the activities of luciferase derived from the reassociation of DSPs during cell fusion. We optimized the assay to screen an FDA-approved drug library for a potential membrane fusion inhibitor using the E protein of Zika virus. Screening results identified atovaquone, which was previously described as an antimalarial agent. Atovaquone potently blocked the in vitro Zika virus infection of mammalian cells with an IC of 2.1 µM. Furthermore, four distinct serotypes of dengue virus were also inhibited by atovaquone with IC values of 1.6-2.5 µM, which is a range below the average blood concentration of atovaquone after its oral administration in humans. These findings make atovaquone a likely candidate drug to treat illnesses caused by Zika as well as dengue viruses. Additionally, the DSP assay is useful to study the mechanism of membrane fusion in Flaviviruses.

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NIH grant funds development of novel biosensor technology for diagnosing viral infections

From the UC Santa Cruz News Center
December 16, 2020

For over ten years, Ali Yanik has been working to develop novel biosensor technology to provide rapid, low-cost testing for disease diagnostics and precision medicine. Now, with a five-year, $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, he and his collaborators are poised to complete the development and validation of a prototype and begin testing it in the field for detection of dengue fever, yellow fever, and Zika virus infections.

“We’re confident in being able to do this and get it into the field for testing,” said Yanik, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. “It’s pretty revolutionary because this is a very simple tool, and yet it is also very sensitive.”

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New viral detection technique uses smartphone camera to diagnose various infections

From EurekAlert!
December 16, 2020

Scientists have developed a novel smartphone-based technique to diagnose viral infections that uses a deep learning algorithm to identify viruses in metal nanoparticle-labeled samples, enabling rapid virus detection without the need for skilled laboratory workers and expensive equipment. The system correctly identified clinically relevant concentrations of Zika, hepatitis B (HBV), or hepatitis C (HCV) in 134 patient samples with 98.97% sensitivity. Mobile phone subscribers are on the rise worldwide, including in sub-Saharan African populations that are heavily burdened by infection outbreaks. Since these widely available technologies also possess powerful new computing abilities and built-in sensors, scientists have identified mobile phones as a promising tool to help manage infectious diseases worldwide. 

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Persistence of Zika virus in the brain causes long-term problems in mice

From EurekAlert!
December 10, 2020

The Zika virus can remain in mouse brain for extended periods, leading to long-term neurological and behavioral consequences, according to a study published December 10 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Daniela Verthelyi of the US Food and Drug Administration, and colleagues.

Infections in the perinatal period are associated with lasting cognitive impairment and increased risk for psychological disorders. The congenital brain malformations associated with Zika virus infections early in pregnancy are well documented. But the potential defects and long-term consequences associated with milder infections in late pregnancy and the perinatal period are less well understood. To address this knowledge gap, Verthelyi and colleagues exposed one-day-old mice to the Zika virus and monitored the neurological and behavioral consequences up to one year later.

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$2 million NIH grant to develop Zika virus vaccine

From EurekAlert!
December 10, 2020

Flaviviruses — a group of viruses transmitted by ticks or mosquitoes — infect an estimated 400 million people annually with diseases like yellow fever, Dengue fever, West Nile virus, and, most recently, Zika virus.

Outbreaks of Zika virus, a flavivirus originating in Africa, were once rare and isolated events. But in 2015, it arrived in the Americas and rapidly spread to 27 countries within the span of a year.

Zika virus outbreaks have now been recorded throughout Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, South America, and Central America. To protect the health of billions of people at risk and prevent future outbreaks, a team of Virginia Tech researchers received a $2 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a safe, effective, single-dose vaccine candidate for Zika virus.

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People Previously Infected With Dengue Are Less Likely to Suffer From Zika Complications

From Gilmore Health News
December 6, 2020

A study of 3,000 children during an outbreak in Nicaragua showed that those previously infected with dengue were less likely to develop Zika symptoms. Both Zika and Dengue viruses are, transmitted by the same type of mosquitoes and cause similar symptoms.

The dengue virus has been present in the Americas for decades, while Zika did not appear in Brazil until 2015, before spreading rapidly. The dengue and Zika viruses are transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and cause similar symptoms to the flu: fever, muscle, and joint pain, etc. There may also be redness in the skin.

However, in pregnant women, a Zika infection can lead to serious disturbances in the development of the fetus, especially microcephaly. Neurological complications (Guillain-Barré syndrome) are also possible in infected women. However, Zika infection is often asymptomatic.

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Evolving malaria mosquitoes getting harder to control

From MedicalXpress
December 4, 2020

Anopheles malaria mosquitoes in Africa and Latin America are evolving in response to human activity, studies in both continents have found.

Anopheles gambiae, the most significant malaria vector in Africa, is developing increasing resistance to pyrethroid insecticides, a study published in Scientific Reports this month shows. Synthetic pyrethroids are the most commonly used insecticide for controlling  worldwide.

The team of researchers from Kenya, Ghana and the US say the indiscriminate use of pyrethroid insecticides in agriculture and public health programs could be responsible for the moderate and high-intensity resistance.

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Commonly used antibiotic shows promise for combating Zika infections

From the NIH
November 23, 2020

In 2015, hundreds of children were born with brain deformities resulting from a global outbreak of Zika virus infections. Recently, National Institutes of Health researchers used a variety of advanced drug screening techniques to test out more than 10,000 compounds in search of a cure. To their surprise, they found that the widely used antibiotic methacycline was effective at preventing brain infections and reducing neurological problems associated with the virus in mice. In addition, they found that drugs originally designed to combat Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation may also help fight infections.

“Around the world, the Zika outbreak produced devastating, long-term neurological problems for many children and their families. Although the infections are down, the threat remains,” said Avindra Nath, M.D., senior investigator at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and a senior author of the study published in PNAS(link is external). “We hope these promising results are a good first step to preparing the world for combating the next potential outbreak.”

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One Less Worry: Mosquitos Do Not Transmit COVID-19 – But They’re Still More Than Just Annoying

From Pasadena Now
November 23, 2020

he current surge in COVID-19 cases is renewing public anxiety about the virus, but experts say they want to put people’s minds at ease about one common concern: Mosquitos do not transmit COVID-19.

Since mosquitos are capable of transmitting other viruses, such as West Nile virus, Zika, dengue fever, yellow fever, and others, many concerned San Gabriel Valley residents have been posing the question, according to San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District spokesman Levy Sun.

Fortunately, all available research shows the annoying insects cannot transmit the virus between people they bite, he said.

“With the current surge in COVID-19 cases, also getting a renewed interest from the public regarding whether or not mosquitoes can transmit COVID-19. And so far, the evidence has been pointing to ‘no,’” Sun said.

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Fourth case of West Nile confirmed in Kern County this year

From KGET
November 19, 2020

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Health officials say they have diagnosed a fourth case of West Nile virus in Kern County.

California health officials announced the latest data Thursday showing 172 human cases of West Nile across the state. Twenty two counties in the state have reported human cases and seven people have died. There were no deaths from West Nile reported in Kern County.

Officials say more than 7,000 cases of West Nile and 300 deaths have been reported since 2003. And residents are urged to remove or drain any standing water where mosquitos that potentially carry the disease can breed.

West Nile is a disease spread by mosquitoes that most often spreads to people during the summer and early fall when the mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active.

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California Horse Confirmed With WNV

From The Horse
November 18, 2020

On Nov. 13, officials at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) confirmed a horse in Sacramento County with West Nile virus (WNV). The affected horse, an undervaccinated yearling Thoroughbred colt, began showing clinical signs on Nov. 3. Signs consisted of ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements) and hind-limb neurologic signs. The colt is recovering.

According to CDFA, this is California’s 19th confirmed equine case of WNV in 2020. Other counties with confirmed cases include: Amador (2), Butte (1), Glenn (1), Kinds (1), Merced (1), Modoc (1), Nevada (1), Riverside (2), San Bernardino (1), San Joaquin (4), and Stanislaus (3).

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New App Identifies Mosquitoes by Buzzing Sound

From VOA News
November 16, 2020

The high-pitched whine of a mosquito is annoying, but scientists have developed an app that uses that sound to detect dangerous mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes kill hundreds of thousands of people each year by spreading microbes that cause diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever. But researcher Haripriya Vaidehi Narayanan says anyone with a cellphone can help tackle these diseases by using the Abuzz app to identify mosquitoes. 

“If they see a mosquito around us, they just open the phone, open up the app, point their phone towards the mosquito and hit the record button,” said Narayanan, who started working on the project as a graduate student at Stanford University. She’s now in the Department of Immunology at the University of California Los Angeles. 

“So then, when the mosquito flaps its wings and starts flying around, it makes that noise, that annoying buzzing noise … that noise is what gets recorded by the Abuzz app,” she added. 

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O.C. residents urged to help fight new ankle-biting mosquito

From the Laguna Beach Independent
November 12, 2020

Laguna Beach residents are reporting an uptick in ravenous ankle-biting mosquitos following recent rainstorms, the Orange County Vector Control District shared this week.

It’s very possible the bites are attributable to a newcomer to Orange County—the Aedes mosquito. Laguna Woods and Laguna Hills residents had issues this summer with this species but OC Vector Control crews haven’t trapped one in Laguna Beach yet, agency spokesperson Heather Hyland said.

“Our district has not been able to collect and confirm an invasive Aedes sample, however, the calls we have received from Laguna Beach confirm that residents are reporting day time aggressive biting on lower legs is indicative of these mosquitoes,” she said.

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Wolbachia in mosquitoes from the Central Valley of California, USA

From Bio Med Central
November 10th, 2020

Background

Wolbachia bacteria are widely distributed throughout terrestrial arthropod species. These bacteria can manipulate reproduction and influence the vector competence of their hosts. Recently, Wolbachia have been integrated into vector control programmes for mosquito management. A number of supergroups and strains exist for Wolbachia, and they have yet to be characterized for many mosquito species. In this study, we examined Wolbachia prevalence and their phylogenetic relationship to other Wolbachia, using mosquitoes collected in Merced County in the Central Valley of California.

Methods

Adult mosquitoes were collected from 85 sites in Merced County, California in 2017 and 2018. Traditional and quantitative PCR were used to investigate the presence or absence and the density of Wolbachia, using Wolbachia-specific 16S rRNA and Wolbachia-surface protein (wsp) genes. The supergroup of Wolbachia was determined, and Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST) by sequencing five housekeeping genes (coxA, gatB, ftsZ, hcpA and fbpA) was also used to determine Wolbachia supergroup as well as strain.

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Combat The Bite In Coronado

From the Coronado Eagle Journal
November 9th, 2020

Recently, residents have noticed an increase in the number of mosquitoes in Coronado. There is a new invasive species of mosquito called the Aedes, that is spreading across California. The Aedes breeds in small areas of water and even some plants. The San Diego County Vector Control handles the inspection and treatment of mosquitoes in cities around the County. The City is working with County officials to treat storm drains, public parks and facilities to address mosquito concerns. Residents can do their part to “combat the bite” by eliminating standing water that can accumulate in pots, rain barrels, trashcans and outdoor toys and furniture. Vector control services are funded through a benefit assessment and are available to every property owner. Residents can contact the County directly to request property inspections and treatment, file complaints or ask questions. Residents and businesses can reach the County Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888 or at vector@sdcounty.ca.gov.

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Mosquitoes in Santa Barbara Test Positive for West Nile Virus

From the Daily Nexus
November 8, 2020

These mosquitoes, commonly known as southern house mosquitoes, were discovered in traps for a different invasive species of mosquitoes Aedes aegypti discovered in early October. These traps were set up in a house in Santa Barbara near the intersection of North La Cumbre Road and Foothill Road. 

Brian J. Cabrera, general manager of the Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County, said that the mosquitoes likely picked up West Nile virus from infected birds, which they tend to feed on. According to Cabrera, carrier mosquitoes have the potential to pass the virus on to humans — but it isn’t a reason for panic. 

“It’s not an imminent threat, but we should remain vigilant,” Cabrera said. “The disease caused, or the illnesses caused by West Nile virus, only affects a small percentage of the people who actually acquire the virus from a mosquito bite.”

Cabrera said that 80% of people infected don’t feel symptoms at all. Those that do get sick, he said, will experience fever, headaches, rashes and nausea. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1% of West Nile virus cases are fatal, with elderly and otherwise immunocompromised individuals particularly at risk. 

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Kern County reporting third human case of West Nile

From Bakersfield Now
November 6th, 2020

According to the State of California’s West Nile site, Kern County has had three confirmed human cases of West Nile so far this year.

West Nile virus is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes and most often spreads to people during the summer and early fall when the mosquitoes that carry WNV are most active.

While many mosquito-borne illnesses such as WNV cause only mild symptoms in most people, the infection can cause severe illness and even death in rare cases, according to public health.

Most people who contract WNV have symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, nausea, vomiting and sometimes a skin rash.

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Fighting Zika? Call in the T cells

From Medical Xpress
November 4, 2020

Where Aedes mosquitoes fly, Zika virus may not be far behind. Although the explosive 2015-2016 Zika epidemics in the Americas are behind us, Zika may re-emerge, and “in many countries, Zika may be spreading in silence,” says Sujan Shresta, Ph.D., a professor at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI). “We need to develop effective vaccines.”

In a new Science Advances study, Shresta and her colleagues at LJI report that the immune system’s T  have the power to prevent Zika infection in mice. This finding suggests that effective Zika vaccines need to activate T cells to work alongside antibodies.

“If we combine T cells and antibodies, we have even stronger protection and longer-term protection,” says Annie Elong Ngono, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at LJI and first author of the new study.

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UC researchers are pioneering a more effective way to block malaria…

From AlKhaleejToday
November 3, 2020

Using a strategy known as “population modification,” which involves using a CRISPR-Cas9 gene propulsion system to introduce genes that prevent parasite transmission into mosquito chromosomes, University of California researchers have made a great leap forward in the use of genetic technologies for the Control of the transmission of made malaria parasites.

Postdoctoral fellow Adriana Adolfi of the University of California at Irvine, working with colleagues from UCI, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, pursued the group’s pioneering efforts to develop CRISPR-based gene drive systems to make mosquito vectors resistant to the transmission of malaria parasites Genetic drive in female mosquito offspring.

“This work alleviates a major problem with the early gene propulsion systems, namely the buildup of propulsion-resistant mosquitoes that can still transmit malaria parasites,” said UCI vector biologist Anthony James, Donald Bren Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, who co -Primary Investigator was involved in the study.

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Exchanging potted plants is spreading mosquito population

From Winters Express
October 29, 2020

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District discourages the practice of exchanging potted plants as the invasive mosquito population in Winters remains widespread across town.

In mid-September an adult female Aedes aegypti mosquito was found in a trap placed near East and Main streets. The invasive container-breeding mosquito is an aggressive species that prefers to bite people during the day and has the potential to transmit serious diseases including Zika, dengue and chikungunya. The discovery in Winters was the first of its kind detected in Yolo County, ever. It has since been found in other communities including the neighboring City of Davis.

Winters continues to host the largest infestation in Yolo County.

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Invasive mosquito that can spread several diseases found in Oroville

From KRCR
October 28, 2020

An invasive mosquito that can spread several diseases has been found in Oroville.

The non-native species, known as the Yellow Fever Mosquito, can transmit viruses such as Zika, Dengue, and Yellow Fever as the name suggests.

Mosquitos that are native to the area don’t spread those diseases, county officials say.

There is now a rush to eradicate the invasive species and contain it to the area of Oroville Dam Boulevard and Feather River Boulevard.

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Mosquitoes Caught in Santa Barbara Test Positive for West Nile Virus

From Noozhawk
October 28, 2020

A sample of mosquitoes collected from a mosquito trap in Santa Barbara has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), according to the Mosquito & Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County.

The mosquitoes were trapped as part of ongoing surveillance for the recently discovered invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that were discovered earlier this month.

“This is not the first time West Nile virus has been found in Santa Barbara County, but it has been three years since it was last detected,” said Brian Cabrera, district general manager.

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Mosquitos captured in Santa Barbara test positive for West Nile

From KEYT
October 27, 2020

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Mosquitos that were caught in Santa Barbara tested positive for West Nile Virus on Tuesday.

The Mosquito & Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County caught a sample of mosquitoes from a mosquito trap and tested them after the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were discovered earlier this month.

The sample of mosquitoes that were caught tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

“This is not the first time West Nile virus has been found in Santa Barbara County,” says District General Manager Brian Cabrera, “but it has been three years since it was last detected.”

Officials say humans can contract the West Nile Virus after getting bitten by an infected mosquito.

Officials warn that most people who contract the virus don’t know they are infected and don’t develop any symptoms.

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Meet the Man Fighting an Ankle-Biting Mosquito Invasion with Fish

From Spectrum News 1
October 26, 2020

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Every morning Michael Saba heads out to feed his fish — all 75,000 of them.

Known as “The King Fish,” Saba is a marine biologist with the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, where he rules over an army of tiny silvery creatures.

“I think they’re the most beautiful organisms on the planet,” he said.

His fish are not all that different than the kind you’d buy at a pet store — except for one thing.

“This is one of that family of fishes that just happens to eat mosquito larvae in abundance when it’s present,” he said.

Called mosquitofish, they’re nature’s best weapon against pesky blood suckers. Once they reach adulthood, the fish are delivered to backyard fountains and ponds all over Orange County, where they’ll gobble up little mosquito larvae.

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Officials find first ‘murder hornet’ nest in the US

From KCRA 3
October 23, 2020

They’re here, and they’re apparently making themselves at home.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture on Friday confirmed they located the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S.

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The nest was inside a hole in a tree located on “private property near an area cleared for a residential home,” WSDA said in a news release.

WSDA said its team saw dozens of the so-called “murder hornets” exiting and entering the tree.

The department spent weeks trapping the giant hornets and have been actively searching for them since the first hornets were caught earlier this year. The hornets were first detected in Washington in December the first one was trapped in July.

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Dangerous Mosquito Species Spreading Throughout Northern California

From CBS Sacramento
October 23, 2020

ARDEN-ARCADE (CBS13) — A pandemic, a historic fire season and now disease-carrying mosquitoes that can spread the Zika virus. Mosquitos are becoming more than just a nuisance in the Arden-Arcade area.

In the last two weeks, Martie Nolan has discovered at least 14 bites that have left a mark.

“I started getting bites all over my legs just by going outside to take the trash out,” said Nolan. “I still get a little scared cause you never know.”

Nolan’s family is one of the dozens in her Arden-Arcade neighborhood that Sacramento-Yolo mosquito and vector control has visited to warn about an invasive mosquito in the area that is capable of carrying Zika and other dangerous diseases.

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Dangerous Mosquito Species Spreading Throughout Northern California

From CBS Sacramento
October 23, 2020

ARDEN-ARCADE (CBS13) — A pandemic, a historic fire season and now disease-carrying mosquitoes that can spread the Zika virus. Mosquitos are becoming more than just a nuisance in the Arden-Arcade area.

In the last two weeks, Martie Nolan has discovered at least 14 bites that have left a mark.

“I started getting bites all over my legs just by going outside to take the trash out,” said Nolan. “I still get a little scared cause you never know.”

Nolan’s family is one of the dozens in her Arden-Arcade neighborhood that Sacramento-Yolo mosquito and vector control has visited to warn about an invasive mosquito in the area that is capable of carrying Zika and other dangerous diseases.

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Aedes Aegypti Mosquito Found In Moorpark, Ventura County

From the Moorpark, CA Patch
October 22, 2020

The City of Moorpark Vector Control Division (Division) has detected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes within the City of Moorpark. The first detection was on October 13, 2020 at a residence in downtown Moorpark within a few blocks of Moorpark Avenue. This Division is working with the Ventura County Environmental Health Division and the California Department of Public Health to evaluate the extent of the infestation and will aggressively target problem areas to prevent its spread.

Aedes aegypti is not native to Ventura County. It is a small, aggressive day-biting mosquito that is now widespread in many California communities. While native mosquitoes typically bite at sundown or night, Aedes aegypti is most active during daylight, for approximately two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset. This mosquito is capable of transmitting several viruses, including dengue, Chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika. While these viruses are not currently transmitted in California, the importance of avoiding mosquito bites remains the same, just as they are with native species that carry West Nile virus.

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San Joaquin County reports first human case of uncommon mosquito-borne virus in nearly 40 years

From ABC 10
October 22, 2020

STOCKTON, Calif. — San Joaquin County Public Health Services (SJCPH) said it has received the first reported human case of the mosquito-borne disease St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) in the county in nearly 40 years. 

The health agency said that in August, the district’s mosquito-borne disease surveillance program discovered SLEV in a group of collected mosquitoes in roughly the Lodi/Lockeford area. It was the first environmental detection of SLEV in the county since 1973.

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Mosquito that can carry Zika virus turns up near Isleton, vector district officials say

From the Sacramento Bee
October 22, 2020

The mosquito that can carry the Zika virus has been spotted this week in yet another area of Sacramento County, this time in Isleton, according to a report Thursday from the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

The invasive Aedes aegypti bite during the day and lay eggs just above the water line in containers that hold relatively little water such as pet dishes, bird baths and the saucers beneath flower pots.

Locally, vector district officials also have reported detecting them in Arden Arcade and Winters.

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Artificial Light May Make Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes ‘Abnormally’ Active At Night, Study Shows

From the International Business Times
October 21, 2020

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are carriers of dengue and Zika viruses, are known to be active biters during the daytime, but a team of researchers has found that artificial lights can “abnormally” increase their biting behavior even at night.

Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes transmit various mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika fever. The species mostly bite in the early morning and in the afternoon hours when there is light, but what happens when they are exposed to artificial lights at night?

To find out, a team of researchers conducted an experiment wherein the study’s first author, Samuel S. C. Rund of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Biological Sciences, let mosquitoes bite him under certain conditions including during daytime, at night, and at nighttime while exposed to artificial light. They then measured the mosquitoes’ blood-feeding behavior.

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West Nile virus symptoms are similar to COVID-19 at first, experts say

From KXXV
October 12, 2020

According to the CDC, more than 30 states are reporting West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. Early symptoms of West Nile are similar to any virus or the common cold. These days, that means it’s hard to differentiate from COVID-19.

In Los Angeles, it’s a big job to mitigate mosquitoes. The Greater LA County Vector Control District serves nearly 6 million people in 35 cities. So far this year, more than 230 mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile.

“Every year, our mosquito season seems to get longer and longer and that goes into it being warmer and warmer,” said Anais Medina Diaz, the public information officer for the LA County Vector Control District. “Now we’re seeing mosquito season go from March to the end of October, sometimes into the beginning of November.”

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More mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in LA County

From the Antelope Valley Press
October 12, 2020

LOS ANGELES — Twenty-six more mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus this week in Los Angeles County, bringing to 264 the number of positive samples so far this year, vector control officials reported Friday.

The mosquito samples all were collected from areas previously identified as positive for the virus, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. The highest totals of mosquitoes that have tested positive this year were reported in: Encino and North Hollywood with 14 each, Valley Village with 13, Van Nuys and Pico Rivera with 12 each and Studio City and Toluca Lake with 10 each.

West Nile virus is endemic in Los Angeles County, and warm temperatures can increase virus activity and mosquito populations, according to the GLACVC. As of Oct. 2, 93 West Nile human cases have been reported in California this year, 27 of which were identified by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

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More Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in L.A. County

From NBC Los Angeles
October 9, 2020

Twenty-six more mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus this week in Los Angeles County, bringing to 264 the number of positive samples so far this year, vector control officials reported Friday.

The mosquito samples all were collected from areas previously identified as positive for WNV, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. The highest totals of mosquitoes that have tested positive this year were reported in: Encino and North Hollywood with 14 each, Valley Village with 13, Van Nuys and Pico Rivera with 12 each and Studio City and Toluca Lake with 10 each.

West Nile virus is endemic in Los Angeles County, and warm temperatures can increase virus activity and mosquito populations, according to the GLACVC. As of Oct. 2, 93 WNV human cases have been reported in California this year, 27 of which were identified by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

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West Nile Virus claims lives of two people in Merced County, abatement district says

From the Merced Sun-Star
October 8, 2020

West Nile Virus has led to the deaths of two individuals over age 50, a Merced County Mosquito Abatement District news release reported.

Each person had underlying health conditions prior to their death.

Although the fatalities were reported on Thursday, both occurred during September, the release said.

As of Oct. 2, a total of 93 known West Nile Virus cases have been reported in California this year. Four deaths have been traced to the virus, meaning half of fatalities statewide are Merced County residents.

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There are more mosquitoes in Tulare County, but not as many carrying disease

From YourCentralValley.com
October 8, 2020

VISALIA, California (KSEE) — October is usually when the number of mosquitoes declines – but in some parts of Tulare County the number is going up.

While the number of diseased mosquitoes is down from last year, mosquito-transmitted diseases like West Nile virus are still being found in humans.

Inside the lab at the Delta Vector Control District, one water sample contains an abundant amount of larvae. Petri dishes also line the counters, filled with hundreds of mosquitoes caught in traps.

General Manager Dr. Mustapha Debboun said the Central Valley’s prolonged heat has made ideal mosquito breeding conditions.

Recently, there’s been an uptick in neighborhoods in northwest Visalia. The district conducted targeted treatment in some of them Thursday morning. However, the number of mosquitoes found carrying viruses is down from 2019. So far, only 139 mosquitoes have been found with West Nile virus, while 39 have been found with St. Louis Encephalitis virus.

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Sacramento officials find mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus near Arden Arcade park

From the Sacramento Bee
October 7, 2020

Even as the Sacramento Valley cools down, the yellow fever mosquito is being discovered in traps in new areas. Some were found this week near Cresta Park in the Arden Arcade area, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District announced Wednesday.

This aggressive day-biting pest, more formally known as Aedis aegypti, can carry not only yellow fever, but also Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya. While mosquitoes breed more quickly during the heat of summer, these new reports show local residents shouldn’t let down their guard this autumn.

“Your assistance is critical! If you are being bitten throughout the day or notice more mosquitoes in your yard, please give the district a call to request a free inspection,” said Gary Goodman, the district manager, in a news release.

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Mosquito tests show no further signs of West Nile virus

From the Half Moon Bay Review
October 7, 2020

Mosquito tests for West Nile virus done last week came back negative on Thursday, after a dead American crow in South San Francisco was found to have the virus.

The bird signaled the first indication of West Nile virus in San Mateo County since 2018, according to a statement by the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Following the report, the district deployed mosquito traps in the neighborhood where the dead bird was collected.

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More mosquitoes, one human test positive for West Nile Virus in Valley

From the Antelope Valley Press
October 7, 2020

LANCASTER — More mosquitoes collected from mosquito traps in Palmdale have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). 

One trap was located near 25th Street West and Avenue P-8. The other trap was located near 30th Street East and Avenue R. To date, there have been 13 West Nile positive mosquito samples for the 2020 mosquito season. 

Public Health also reported another human case of West Nile virus within District boundaries, which brings the local human West Nile virus count to seven cases.

The District would like to reinforce the importance of keeping the mosquito population low. The lower the mosquito abundance, the less opportunity there is to have an issue with mosquito-borne disease transmission. Brenna Bates-Grubb, community outreach specialist for the AVMVCD said that “There is no vaccine or cure for West Nile virus, so the best way to stay safe is through prevention of mosquito bites. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your home by eliminating sources of standing water at least weekly and wear mosquito repellent when outdoors.”

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INVASIVE AEDES MOSQUITO FOUND IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FOR THE FIRST TIME

From Edhat Santa Barbara
October 3, 2020

Source: Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County

The Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County has confirmed the presence of the non-native Aedes aegypti mosquito in Santa Barbara County. Photos of a suspect mosquito caught at a home in the Hope neighborhood in Santa Barbara were submitted to the District’s website by an alert resident.  The suspect mosquito specimens were collected from the residence located near the intersection of N. La Cumbre Rd. and Foothill Rd. and tentatively identified as Aedes aegypti at the District laboratory. An additional specimen was collected from a trap set up at the residence where the mosquitoes were found and it was positively identified as Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. Mosquito district staff currently are setting up additional traps, conducting property inspections, and passing out informational brochures in the surrounding neighborhood. 

Aedes aegypti is native to Africa but has spread throughout many regions of the world. This mosquito was first detected in California in 2013 and since then has spread throughout southern California and the Central Valley. Aedes aegypti can transmit viruses such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya and the virus that causes yellow fever but, fortunately, these diseases are not locally transmitted in California. However, this mosquito can be extremely bothersome, biting both during the day and at night and can be found both indoors and outdoors. Residents in areas where the mosquito has become well established call them “ankle biters” due to their habit of biting around the ankles. Aedes aegypti prefer feeding on humans and stay close to human dwellings where they will lay their eggs in practically anything that contains stagnant water including buckets, tires, birdbaths, containers of all kinds, and plates under potted plants. They can even develop in water held in plants, such as bromeliads. Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae can complete their development in the amount of water that would fill a bottle cap. Residents are urged to remove all sources of stagnant water both inside and outside of the home and scrub the sides of the containers because the eggs can survive without water for many months.

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