Heavy rainfall brings concerns for large mosquito infestation

From the Daily Republic
April 18, 2019

FAIRFIELD — The late-winter storms brought nearly $800,000 in damage to Solano County infrastructure – and health officials are concerned they also will bring mosquitoes.

The state Legislature this week proclaimed April 21-27 as Mosquito Awareness Week.

“Warm weather coupled with large amounts of stagnant water from recent rain events create the perfect conditions for mosquito breeding,” Jeremy Wittie, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California, said in a statement released Wednesday.

“Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in sources of water as small as a bottle cap and can complete their life cycle, from egg to adult, in about a
week. California residents must do their part to help protect public health by dumping and draining all standing water to eliminate mosquitoes from their communities,” Wittie said.

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San Diego County asks residents to prepare for mosquito season

From ABC 10 News San Diego
April 16, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Mosquito season is officially here, and San Diego County health officials are asking all San Diegans to dump any standing water around their homes.

Health experts say West Nile virus still remains a threat in San Diego. Although, only one dead bird has tested positive for West Nile so far this year.

County Supervisor Greg Cox and County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten kicked off the county’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” mosquito-prevention campaign Tuesday.

They say invasive mosquitoes also exist in San Diego and they can potentially transmit tropical diseases if visitors return home ill after travels, like the Zika virus.

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WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO ERADICATE THE MOSQUITO?

From “blitzscaling” to “move fast and break things,” startups are focused on growth and speed – that’s change at scale. I see that focus in the startups in my accelerators and students in my classes at USC. But something related that we rarely talk seriously about is what happens when that growth, speed, and change affects other parts of an existing system. That’s deemed to be outside of our concern.

The business and social effects of change might be more commonly noticed, but today I want to talk about health effects, both positive and negative, that can come from a big and rapid change.

One of the preventable diseases that still kills a large number of people is malaria, spread by mosquitoes. Humans have dealt with this disease for centuries. Even in the US, malaria was only eradicated in 1951.

As high a toll as malaria takes, the number of annual deaths has decreased a lot. While in 2015 there were 212 million malaria cases and 429,000 deaths, just 20 years earlier the numbers were much higher, with estimates of 300 – 500 million cases with 3 million deaths.

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‘Fight the Bite’: How to Protect Against Mosquitoes in San Diego

From NBC San Diego
April 16, 2019

Warmer days across San Diego County mean mosquitos are starting to make their presence known and the insects may find your backyard – and any little pocket of stagnant water – an especially comfortable place to breed this season.

“Even the small little sources that show up in backyards can produce a lot of mosquitos when you add it all up,” Chris Conlan, Supervising Vector Ecologist for the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, said.

“The bottom line is anything that can hold water for a week or longer is a potential mosquito breeding source – whether it’s that saucer under your plants, an old bucket, kids toys that are getting filled up every time the sprinklers go off – the list is endless, really.”

Conlan, along with San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and other environmental health officials, held a news briefing Tuesday to remind locals to protect themselves against mosquitos and mosquito-borne illnesses.

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Mosquitoes: More expected, one disease ‘coming back with a vengeance’ in Valley

From the Fresno Bee
April 15, 2019

Heavy winter snowpack and more rain this spring likely means more mosquitoes are coming soon to the central San Joaquin Valley.

“We are expecting a fairly significant increase in mosquito activity,” said Michael Cavanagh, district manager of the Kings Mosquito Abatement District based in Hanford.

Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs, so more water means more places for the insects to breed.

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus remain a concern in the Valley, and an increasing number of mosquitoes have been found to be carrying Saint Louis encephalitis. That disease has been “coming back with a vengeance” over the past couple years, said Ryan McNeil, district manager of the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District.

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Brazilian Researchers Develop Faster Test to Detect Zika Virus

From The Rio Times
April 15, 2019

BRASILIA, BRAZIL – A cheaper and faster test for detecting the Zika virus is being developed by Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) in Pernambuco, Brazil. The researchers are hopeful that the new test will help save lives, especially outside big cities.

“Given that the current technique (PCR, or polymerase chain reaction) is extremely expensive and Brazil has few reference laboratories that can perform the Zika diagnosis, a small city in the countryside ends up being impaired by a lack of resources. The sample needs to be taken to the capital in order to be processed. The results can take fifteen days,” explains researcher Severino Jefferson Ribeiro.

In addition to costing forty times less, the new test provides results in twenty minutes. It is also more accurate, has a lower error rate, and detects disease in cases where the PCRmethod cannot, says Ribeiro.

Another advantage of the new test is that it can be done by any health professional since it doesn’t require complex training. A health agent needs simply to collect saliva and urine samples, mix with the supplied reagents in a small plastic tube, and then heat up the mixture in a water bath.

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Heavy rains, end of drought could help keep West Nile virus subdued — for now

From the Herald-Mail Media
April 13, 2019

The end of California’s drought, announced last month amid one of the rainiest winters in memory, could offer a surprising benefit: reduced transmission of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Longer term, however, more severe droughts associated with climate change could contribute to an increase in the number of infections in the state and nationally.

Drought is the most important weather-related factor that affects the rate of West Nile infection, researchers say. Even though mosquito eggs need water to hatch, dry conditions tend to spur greater transmission of the virus.

“Ironically, when we have drought conditions, that does seem to amplify the West Nile virus transmission cycle,” said Vicki Kramer, chief of the Vector-Borne Disease Section at the California Department of Public Health.

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Heavy Rains, End Of Drought Could Help Keep West Nile Virus Subdued — For Now

From Kaiser Health News
April 12, 2019

The end of California’s drought, announced last month amid one of the rainiest winters in memory, could offer a surprising benefit: reduced transmission of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Longer term, however, more severe droughts associated with climate change could contribute to an increase in the number of infections in the state and nationally.

Drought is the most important weather-related factor that affects the rate of West Nile infection, researchers say. Even though mosquito eggs need water to hatch, dry conditions tend to spur greater transmission of the virus.

“Ironically, when we have drought conditions, that does seem to amplify the West Nile virus transmission cycle,” said Vicki Kramer, chief of the Vector-Borne Disease Section at the California Department of Public Health.

West Nile is transmitted between mosquitoes and birds, and people can become infected if bitten by an infected mosquito. The illness is rarely transmitted from one person to another. According to one theory, when drought forces mosquitoes and birds into closer proximity around the few remaining sources of water, it increases the chance of infection.

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Mosquito Concerns Grow After Wet Bay Area Winter

From CBS SF Bay Area
April 12, 2019

BEL MARIN KEYS (KPIX 5) – The rain this year may have gotten us out of our drought but biologists are concerned about mosquitoes breeding in standing water in grassy swamps.

And while they haven’t seen the transmission of diseases yet, it’s a concern as temperatures are expected to warm up in the coming week.

In the waterfront community of Bel Marin Keys in Novato, residents have already started noticing the mosquitoes.

“Yes a lot of them swarms of mosquitoes,” Eileen told KPIX 5.

Biologists say blame the rain for the increase in the mosquito population this season

“This year we’re going to have little mosquito breeding sites where we didn’t have them before,” UC Berkeley horticulture adviser Steven Swain said.

The Marin-Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District says it has already identified more than 20,000 mosquito breeding sites in both counties.

But biologists are not just concerned about large areas. It’s the smaller puddles of water in people’s backyards. And as these mosquitoes breed, the potential for diseases increase.

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Zika Remains a Significant Risk For International Travelers

From Precision Vaccinations
April 12, 2019

April 12th, 2019 – The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a new Zika risk assessment saying that ‘while transmission has slowed in the Americas, the Zika virus is widespread in Asia.’ 

This new ECDC report published on March 20, 2019, says ‘the risk of Zika infection depends on the local risk of mosquito-borne transmission.’ 

And, the Zika virus remains a leading concern for pregnant women, the risk related to sexual transmission of Zika, and the risk of importation into Europian countries. 

During 2019, the ECDC has confirmed 3 travel-associated Zika cases in Denmark and Norway in travelers returning from Thailand. 

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New research suggests climate change could enable mosquitoes to evolve more rapidly

From Yale Climate Connections
April 10, 2019

hink of the world’s deadliest animal, and what comes foremost to mind? (For purposes of discussion and fear of losing readers, let’s exclude humans.)

Saltwater crocodiles get a lot of votes, and deservedly. So too do black mamba snakes – slithering at speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour, but perhaps not so well-known to many. Pufferfish and golden poison dart frogs also garner their share of votes.

But closer to home (at least for most of us), it’s actually mosquitoes that earn the “We’re No. 1” ranking. Adding to the fear factor, mosquitoes also find alluring our human body temperatures and the carbon dioxide we exhale.

The World Health Organization reports more than 700,000 people around the world die from vector-borne diseases each year, and 438,000 global malaria deaths in 2015 alone. It’s for sure that not all mosquitoes carry the makings of Chikungunya, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and yellow fever that contribute to that yearly bounty, and some diseases are carried by vectors other than mosquitoes.

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Las Vegas Valley mosquito monitoring operation begins

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal
April 10, 2019

With the arrival of warmer weather, the Southern Nevada Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance Program is once again taking wing.

The program monitors mosquito populations in the valley and sets traps in potential breeding areas. Different types of traps are used to target different species of mosquitoes, the district said in a news release.

Mosquitoes carrying viruses that cause West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis were first found in Southern Nevada in 2004. The health district also identified a species that spreads Zika and dengue fever, though no mosquitoes carrying those viruses have been found in the region.

Since 2004, the surveillance program has sent over 150,000 mosquitoes to the Nevada Department of Agriculture for testing, according to the health department. About 4,000 of those tested positive for the West Nile virus.

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Zika Virus Update for Summer 2019

From KMOV4
April 10, 2019

With summer just around the corner is St. Louis, many people are planning their BBQs, picnics, and relaxing days enjoying the sunshine. But as the weather warms up, pests will begin to emerge from their hiding places. Some of these pests, such as mosquitos, can carry dangerous viruses, such as the Zika virus, that can pose a risk to your family’s health.

There are a variety of ways you can protect yourself and your property from a mosquito invasion to keep yourself and your family safe this summer and make your outdoor activities more enjoyable, without the buzzing of mosquitos.

Warmer Weather Brings Sunshine and Disease-Carrying Mosquitos

Jeff Phillips, President of Blue Chip Pest Services said mosquitos begin to emerge once the weather warms up and freezing temperatures have subsided. “In St. Louis that is starting right now to some extent. We’ve already had some signs of breeding,” Phillips said.

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CDC Advice on Avoiding Bug Bites

From the Sierra Sun Times
April 9, 2019

Bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and some flies, can spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and Lyme, all of which have risk of severe and lasting consequences. Several diseases spread by bug bites cannot be prevented or treated with vaccines or medicine, such as Zika, dengue, and Lyme. Reduce your risk of getting these diseases by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What You Should Know Before You Go

Current Risks to Consider

  • Dengue viruses are spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of mild dengue include fever with any of the following: nausea, vomiting, rash, aches and pains (eye pain typically behind the eyes, muscle, joint, or bone pain).Mild dengue symptoms can become severe within a few hours. Severe dengue is a medical emergency. There is no vaccine to prevent dengue, and there is no treatment. Protect yourself by preventing mosquito bites.
  • Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms, which can include fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and muscle pain. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika, and there is no treatment. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects. Healthcare providers should discuss the risk of Zika to pregnant couples or couples trying to get pregnant who plan to travel to an area with risk of Zika.

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Reduction in mosquito breeding sites in Westmoreland

From the Jamaica Observer
April 9, 2019

ST JAMES, Jamaica — Vector Control Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Ryan Morris, is reporting a major reduction in breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the parish.

“We have seen a significant trending down, and we are heading back to normalcy,” he told JIS News.

He said that following the declaration of an outbreak of dengue fever in January, the department’s capacity was enhanced with the addition of 29 temporary vector control workers from the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme and the Ministry of Health Vector Support Programme, bringing the total to 60.

They worked along with the eight permanent workers to destroy mosquito breeding grounds in the parish.

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Machine Learning Helps Identify Primate Species Likely to Spread Zika

From Contagion Live
April 8, 2019

Machine learning may be an important tool in controlling and eradicating the Zika virus, according to a recent study that used machine learning to predict the virus among primates in Central and South America.

The study by investigators at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and IBM was published in the journal Epidemics. The machine learning model identified known flavivirus carriers with 82% accuracy and predicted the risk of Zika among primate species.

“We were surprised to find that very common primate species were predicted to have high risk of carrying mosquito-borne flaviviruses, including Zika virus,” lead author Barbara A. Han, PhD, disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, told Contagion®. “In Central and South America, the possibility of spill-back infection (from humans to wild primates) is alarming. If Zika virus establishes a sylvatic cycle it could be exceedingly difficult to control.”

Those species with more than 90% risk scores for the virus included species common in developed areas: tufted capuchin, the Venezuelan red howler, and the white-faced capuchin.

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Mosquitoes Pose Potential Health Threat at U.S.-Mexico Border

From U.S. News
April 5, 2019

ILLNESSES SUCH AS mumps, flu and chickenpox among migrants detained in America or sheltered at the U.S.-Mexico border have raised concerns surrounding their treatment and care. But as temperatures warm up, there’s another potential health threat looming for travelers into and out of the U.S., migrants or not: mosquitoes.

Kacey Ernst, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Arizona who primarily studies mosquito-borne illnesses as well as some vaccine-preventable diseases, says among her concerns is the possible transmission of tropical diseases such as dengue and Zika to highly susceptible populations.

“It’s really a two-way street. Infections don’t know a lot of boundaries – there’s not a border wall for the mosquitoes or flu – it’s very porous,” Ernst says. “We live in a really global world, so travel is a key risk factor for diseases spreading across multiple regions.”

Ernst recently spoke to U.S. News about real and potential health threats as spring brings warmer weather. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Springtime creepy-crawlies, and what you can do about them

From the Enterprise Record
April 4, 2019

So, you’ve just come home from a springtime walk with your four-legged friend, and you see something on her fur that looks like a piece of dirt. On closer inspection — and much to your disgust — you discover it’s not dirt, it’s a TICK!

Few insects generate the kind of universal revulsion as ticks. There’s just something about a critter that feeds off of blood that makes our skin crawl.

Strangely, most people aren’t as repulsed by another blood-sucking insect — in fact, we tend to view the lowly mosquito as more of an irritation than an object of distaste.

Yet in truth, both pests can be equally dangerous to our canine companions.

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1 billion people could be exposed to dengue, Zika as climate change intensifies: Study

From ABC 7
March 30, 2019

WASHINGTON — Up to a billion additional people could be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases like Zika by the year 2100 as climate change intensifies, according to a new study. 

Shifting global temperatures will make new parts of the world habitable for disease-ridden mosquitos, exposing new populations to the threat of infection, researchers from Georgetown University, the University of Florida and other universities write in a newly published study. In tropical climates, mosquitos could spread disease year-round, while seasonal infection risks will increase “almost everywhere else.” 

“Places like Europe, North America and high elevations in the tropics that used to be too cold for the viruses will face new diseases like dengue,” Colin J. Carlson, a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown, explained in a news release

In addition to Zika and dengue, scientists cite chikungunya and a dozen other viruses that are “notorious for explosive outbreaks” as increasing threats. 

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Heavy Rains, End Of Drought Could Help Keep West Nile Virus Subdued — For Now

From California Healthline
March 29, 2019

The end of California’s drought, announced earlier this month amid one of the rainiest winters in memory, could offer a surprising benefit: reduced transmission of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Longer term, however, more severe droughts associated with climate change could contribute to an increase in the number of infections in the state and nationally.

Drought is the most important weather-related factor that affects the rate of West Nile infection, researchers say. Even though mosquito eggs need water to hatch, dry conditions tend to spur greater transmission of the virus.

“Ironically, when we have drought conditions, that does seem to amplify the West Nile virus transmission cycle,” said Vicki Kramer, chief of the Vector-Borne Disease Section at the California Department of Public Health.

West Nile is transmitted between mosquitoes and birds, and people can become infected if bitten by an infected mosquito. The illness is rarely transmitted from one person to another. According to one theory, when drought forces mosquitoes and birds into closer proximity around the few remaining sources of water, it increases the chance of infection.

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Zika, dengue to threaten up to a billion more as climate warms

From Reuters
March 28, 2019

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Up to a billion additional people – including many in North America and Europe – could be exposed to mosquito-carried viruses including dengue fever and Zika virus by 2080 if the climate continues to warm at current rates, researchers said Thursday.

Preventing that expansion of potentially fatal diseases will require not just vigilance by health officials but quick action to curb climate change and limit warming, they said.

Expansion of mosquito-carried viruses can “cause a loss of productivity at work, things like that. Essentially, they will lead to economic decline in areas where they take off,” said Sadie Ryan, a lead author of the study, published Thursday in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The analysis tracked the expected movement of two of the most common disease-carrying mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, by looking at predicted future temperatures to estimate risks up to 2050 and up to 2080.

The moquitoes can carry viruses including dengue, chikungunya and Zika, which can in some cases be fatal or cause other debilitating impacts.

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County Officials Launch Zika Awareness Campaign

From KVEO.com
March 28, 2019

MCALLEN – County officials want you to “Fight to the Bite” this spring. The health department recently releasing a public service announcement reminding residents that the Zika virus is primarily spread through mosquito bites.

Eddie Olivarez, Hidalgo County Health Department, “There’s nine counties identified as high-risk counties. Over the last two years Hidalgo County being one of them.”

Zika has been an issue in the Rio Grande Valley since 2015 and health officials say it’s a year round problem.

“Hidalgo County is one of the few counties in the country where we work with our medical community. Where we have done over 35,000 Zika tested mommies and their partners, to assure that they’re ok to prevent any complications with Zika.”

As spring temperatures arrive more people are getting out doors to enjoy the weather. Interaction with mosquitos is almost inevitable. Director Olivarez says follow the four D’s.

Dress properly. Long sleeves could be light cotton clothing. I know it’s getting warm but long sleeve shirts and long pants. Dusk/Dawn, those times of day are best to stay indoors. Use DEET repellent. Drain all the standing waters from the yard and consult your physician. Go to the doctor if your concerned about you being yourself sick.”

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Using genetics to try to figure out how to get mosquitoes to stop biting us

From the Orlando Sentinel
March 28, 2019

mong all the beasts in the animal kingdom, perhaps none is more dangerous to humans than the mosquito.

The whiny insects aren’t just irritating — they can be deadly.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reckons that mosquitoes are responsible for at least 700,000 deaths worldwide each year, thanks to their ability to transmit diseases such as malaria and yellow fever with a single bite.

That makes the bugs 50,000 times more deadly to humans than sharks, according to the CDC.

“In order to figure out how to deal with mosquitoes, we first have to understand them,” said Matt DeGennaro, a mosquito neurobiologist at Florida International University in Miami.

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Get ready to itch: Mosquitoes are back! | GEEK LAB

From ABC 10
March 28, 2019

Get ready to itch when you read this because we’re talking mosquitoes. Recent rain means there is a lot of standing water for the female mosquito to lay her eggs. Once those eggs hatch, those babies become adults in less than 10 days.

Only female mosquitoes bite so when there is standing water around for them to lay their eggs, they are attracted to that area and it increases the chance we’ll get bit.

Unfortunately, there are many diseases that can be spread through mosquitoes. We’ve heard a lot about West Nile Virus because that’s the one mostly spread in the United States. Mosquitoes can also spread Dengue Fever, Malaria, Rift Valley Fever and Yellow Fever. Most of these diseases resemble symptoms of the flu and should be treated by a doctor.

Prevention is the key to staying healthy this mosquito season. The Sacramento/Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District (Sac/Yolo MVCD) has a seven “D” mosquito checklist: 

  • DRAIN any standing water. 
  • DAWN and DUSK are the times to avoid being outdoors because at these times mosquitoes are most active. 
  • DRESS appropriately in long sleeves when possible. 
  • DEFEND against mosquitoes by wearing repellent. 
  • DOOR and windows screen should be in good working condition. 
  • DISTRICT personnel are available to assist you with any questions.

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Mosquitoes expected to arrive early – and in droves

From the Daily Democrat
March 26, 2019

Yes, the rain is still falling, despite those occasional sunny days. Yes, it’s great we’re out of a drought. Yes, it’s tough dealing with all the water. Yes, our lawns and gardens are green again.

So, what’s the downside? Well, on the heels of all this rain, we can now expect an early and vicious mosquito season.

Spring is here and the swarms of mosquitoes — including the Aedes mosquitoes that caused so much grief in 2018 — are expected to return with a vengeance.

This past weekend people headed outdoors got a taste — just a taste — of what’s to come with more bugs emerging. And we’re sure mosquitoes got a taste as well.

Vector control officials across the state are bracing for what they expect will be a busy year, including those in Southern California where the tiny “ankle biter” Aedes insects have been multiplying every year since they arrived in 2011.

“Since then, we’ve seen a total of three new Aedes species and they are continuing to spread and expand their ranges,” said Kelly Middleton, director of community affairs for the Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District.

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Citywide Mosquito Management Effort in Puerto Rico During Zika Outbreak Offers Lessons for Future

From Entomology Today
March 25, 2019

A citywide integrated vector management effort led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016 and 2017 in Caguas City, Puerto Rico, found that placing mosquito traps known as autocidal gravid ovitraps at a density of three traps per home in the yards of most houses in a community could reduce the number of female adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes caught per trap to two to three per week—a number that was then associated with lower incidence of Zika and chikungunya in field-collected mosquitoes. (Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC Public Health Image Library)

The 2016 outbreak of Zika virus in the Americas pointed a spotlight at the state of the global public health community’s capacity to respond to vector-borne disease. Various government agencies, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders jumped into action, and lessons learned from their collective efforts are informing the development of new response plans for the next such event.

One of those efforts was an integrated vector management (IVM) program implemented across Caguas City, Puerto Rico, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the local population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and transmission of Zika virus (along with dengue and chikungunya). In a city of more than 140,000 people, it was one of the largest coordinated IVM programs ever undertaken, according to a retrospective examination of the results published in February in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

In a previous, smaller-scale studies, researchers had found that placing mosquito traps known as autocidal gravid ovitraps (AGOs) at a density of three traps per home in the yards of most houses in a community could reduce the number of female adult Ae. aegypti mosquitoes caught  per trap to two to three per week—a number that was then associated with lower incidence of Zika and chikungunya in field-collected mosquitoes.

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Here’s how to arm yourself as mosquito season lands early

From the Los Angeles Daily News
March 25, 2019

The Aedes mosquitoes are here to stay, arriving in Southern California from Asia, Central America, Australia, and the southern states of Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, arrived in Los Angeles County in 2011; Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, was recorded locally in 2014; and Aedes notoscriptus came in 2017.

The Aedes mosquito made its first Orange County appearance in 2015, in both Mission Viejo and the northern parts of the county, but they have since spread elsewhere in the county as well.

Experts think the pests often arrive  stateside plants being transported internationally, said Lora Young of the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District.

“We’re receiving calls from people who have brought their plants that have had dormant eggs on them indoors (over the winter),” Young said.

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Invader mosquitoes expected to arrive early – and in droves – this year in Los Angeles and Orange counties

From the Daily Breeze
March 23, 2019

On the heels of Southern California’s big rains, residents now can expect the downside: an early and vicious mosquito season.

Spring is here and the swarms of invasive Aedes mosquitoes that caused so much grief in 2018 are expected to return with a vengeance following this winter’s heavy rains.

Vector control officials in Los Angeles and Orange counties are bracing for what they expect will be a busy year. Since arriving in Southern California in 2011, the tiny “ankle biter” insects have been multiplying every year.

“Since then, we’ve seen a total of three new Aedes species and they are continuing to spread and expand their ranges,” said Kelly Middleton, director of community affairs for the Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District.

“The challenge of (Aedes) is growing,” Middleton said.

Last year’s spread of the tropical mosquito native to Asia had Middleton and her Vector control cohorts besieged with phone calls from the public.

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Spring is here. So are the bugs. What to expect during Sacramento’s early mosquito season

From The Sacramento Bee
March 21, 2019

Feeling itchy?

Recent weather patterns in Sacramento may lead to more mosquito activity than usual to start the spring, the region’s mosquito control district said.

Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District warned in a news release this month that recent weather conditions have brought about an increase of mosquitoes, which hibernate in the winter.

“Dry sunny days coupled with stagnant water left behind from significant rain this winter make the perfect combination for mosquitoes to breed,” the district explained.

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As Zika danger wanes, travel warnings are eased for pregnant women

From The Washington Post
March 20, 2019

ATLANTA — U.S. and international health officials are easing warnings against travel to regions with Zika virus because the threat has diminished markedly since the virus began to sweep across the globe four years ago.

The World Health Organization designated Zika a global health emergency in 2016, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told women who were pregnant or might become pregnant to stay away from nearly 100 countries or regions. The mosquito-borne virus can cause severe birth defects.

Last month, the CDC downgraded its warning; a spokeswoman said the WHO will soon follow with similar, less-restrictive travel recommendations. Officials said the disease has died down in most of the world — although they think it is still circulating at a much lower level.

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Ticks carrying diseases continue to be active throughout Butte County

From KRCR TV
March 18, 2019

According to the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District, ticks of medical concern continue to be active throughout Butte County.

Officials say residents need to be alert for ticks that may be carrying Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. The District’s recent surveillance activities on Chico’s Bidwell Park trails and the Lake Oroville Recreation Areas trails have identified increased populations of the western black-legged tick, sometimes referred to as the deer tick.

The District would like to remind residents to take precautions while hiking, camping, biking, and enjoying other outdoor activities. By taking measures to reduce exposure to ticks, residents can help protect themselves from tick-borne diseases.

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Wet weather followed by warm temperatures producing more mosquitoes

From the Davis Enterprise
March 17, 2019

While it’s not yet officially spring, the break in the rain and warm temperatures have brought an increase in mosquitoes to the area, according to the local vector-control district.

Dry sunny days coupled with stagnant water left behind from significant rain this winter make the perfect combination for mosquitoes to breed.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve definitely started to see more mosquitoes,” said Gary Goodman, manager for the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District.

“There are many areas with stagnant water creating a variety of mosquito breeding sites,” Goodman added.

While it’s too early to predict the severity of the mosquito season and the intensity of West Nile virus activity, one element is certain: Having more water can definitely create more areas for mosquitoes to grow and multiply.

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County confirms first instance of West Nile virus in 2019

From Fox 5
March 15, 2019

SAN DIEGO — County officials confirmed Friday that they’ve identified the year’s first instance of West Nile virus after a Cooper’s hawk tested positive.

Officials with the county’s Vector Control Program only found small amounts of the virus in the hawk’s tissues, leading them to believe it was an old infection. Last year, only one county resident contracted West Nile virus and ultimately survived, but the virus has spread to as many as 44 residents as recently as 2015. Six people died due to the virus that year.

The virus is usually carried by birds, but mosquitoes can transmit it to other animals, including humans, by biting them. Symptoms of West Nile can include headache, fever, nausea, skin rash or swollen glands, according to Vector Control officials. Native and invasive mosquito species can also carry viruses like dengue and Zika.

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Mosquitoes Return To Santa Clarita After Butterfly Migration

From KHTS
March 15, 2019

After a recent increase in rainfall and butterflies, vector control officials say there’s a potential for a surge of mosquitoes in Santa Clarita.

Vector control officials are advising residents to take extra precautions with green, unmaintained pools, rain barrels and other small containers that have collected rain water.

Since mosquitoes can complete their life cycles from egg to adult in about a week, collected water should be emptied or used within the week, according to officials with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD).

“Rain barrels and containers must be tightly sealed to prevent mosquito entry, and green, unmaintained pools should be cleaned,” said officials in a statement.

If residents need to store water in rain barrels, buckets, and other similar containers longer than a week, these steps should be taken to ensure they are mosquito-proof:

  • Cover all water-filled containers with tightly fitting lids.
  • Screen all openings such as downspouts from the roof gutters with a 1/16 inch fine mesh to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Check for holes in screens monthly to prevent mosquitoes from entering the container and laying hundreds of eggs.
  • Use and maintain natural mosquito control products containing Bti in water that must be kept for longer periods.

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18 infections you can get from mosquitoes

From Outbreak News Today
March 15, 2019

Five years ago, Bill Gates wrote in his blog that the deadliest animal in the world is the mosquito. When it comes to killing humans, no other animal even comes close.

According to the World Health Organization, about 725,000 people are killed every year by mosquito-borne diseases.

In an update of a post from 2015,  I will go over 18 parasitic and viral infections that humans can contract from a mosquito bite.

Additions:

Jamestown Canyon virus

Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that circulates widely in North America, primarily between deer and a variety of mosquito species, but can also infect humans. Since 2000, more than 50 human cases of JCV have been identified nationally.

Most infections caused by Jamestown Canyon Virus are either asymptomatic or result in a mild febrile illness, but more serious central nervous system complications, including meningitis and encephalitis, can also occur. There is no specific treatment for JCV, and care is supportive until symptoms resolve.

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Record Rainfall, Rising Temperatures Set Stage for Early Mosquito Season

From SCV News
March 14, 2019

Record rainfall provided relief to drought-thirsty Southern California but created havens for disease-spreading mosquitoes in people’s yards.

Vector control officials are advising that Los Angeles County residents must take extra precautions with green, unmaintained pools, rain barrels and other small containers that have collected rain water. Since mosquitoes can complete their life cycles from egg to adult in about a week, collected water should be emptied or used within the week, rain barrels and containers must be tightly sealed to prevent mosquito entry, and green, unmaintained pools should be cleaned.

If residents need to store water in rain barrels, buckets, and other similar containers longer than a week, these steps should be taken to ensure they are mosquito-proof:
– Cover all water-filled containers with tightly fitting lids.
– Screen all openings such as downspouts from the roof gutters with a 1/16 inch fine mesh to keep mosquitoes out.
– Check for holes in screens monthly to prevent mosquitoes from entering the container and laying hundreds of eggs.
– Use and maintain natural mosquito control products containing Bti in water that must be kept for longer periods.
– Take advantage of this rainfall to find and remove all unused containers from around the home that may collect water and contribute to mosquito problems. Other common sources include plant saucers, buckets, tires, pet water bowls, recycling bins, trash cans, and even trash hidden in nearby bushes.

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How to prevent mosquitoes from swarming in your yard

From KCRA 3
March 14, 2019

It’s the kind of buzz nobody likes to hear, the annoying sound of an opportunistic mosquito looking for a bite to eat.

As a waterlogged Sacramento emerges from a wet winter, mosquitoes are coming out of hibernation — and they’re hungry.

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Temperatures in the upper 60s and 70s draw the bugs out of their winter sleep. And as soon as we get a stretch of warm weather, they start laying their eggs.

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District said they are starting to get more calls for service as mosquito activity has increased over the last week.

“As soon as we see steady warm temperatures, we will definitely see an increase in mosquitoes. We are supposed to have warmer temperatures over the weekend and with all the rain and stagnant water, it’s very likely we will see mosquitoes in higher numbers,” Luz Robles said.

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Mosquito Attack! Record Rainfall Means You’re A Target

From MyNewsLA.com
March 14, 2019

This winter’s record rainfall has provided relief to drought-thirsty Southern California, but it has also created havens for disease-spreading mosquitoes in people’s yards, and health officials are urging people to take precautions against the insects.

“Los Angeles County residents must take extra precautions with green, unmaintained pools, rain barrels and other small containers that have collected rain water,” according to a statement Thursday from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

“Since mosquitoes can complete their life cycles from egg to adult in about a week, collected water should be emptied or used within the week, rain barrels and containers must be tightly sealed to prevent mosquito entry, and green, unmaintained pools should be cleaned.”

Mosquito Attack! Record Rainfall Means You’re A Target

From MyNewsLA.com
March 14, 2019

This winter’s record rainfall has provided relief to drought-thirsty Southern California, but it has also created havens for disease-spreading mosquitoes in people’s yards, and health officials are urging people to take precautions against the insects.

“Los Angeles County residents must take extra precautions with green, unmaintained pools, rain barrels and other small containers that have collected rain water,” according to a statement Thursday from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

“Since mosquitoes can complete their life cycles from egg to adult in about a week, collected water should be emptied or used within the week, rain barrels and containers must be tightly sealed to prevent mosquito entry, and green, unmaintained pools should be cleaned.”

Read more

 

Do Travelers Still Need to Worry About Zika?

From Fodor’s Travel
March 12, 2019

It’s been years since Zika dominated headlines, but there are still questions that have been left unanswered.

CBS News just brought Zika back to everyone’s attention with Zika: Children of the Outbreak. This new documentary focuses on “Generation Zika”: the children of the thousands of women infected by the 2016 Zika outbreak when they were pregnant—as well as the looming possibility of another epidemic. Should you still be protecting yourself against the virus in 2019? Here are the answers to a few common questions what do we know.

What is the Zika virus?

Zika fever is a virus that is mostly spread by the aedes species of mosquitos. In 2015 and 2016 there was an epidemic that originated in northeastern Brazil that rapidly spread throughout most of the Americas and parts of Southeast Asia.

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Warmer Temperatures Are Bringing Mosquitoes Out

From CBS 13
March 12, 2019

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Warmer temperatures have people and pests out and about. You probably saw some mosquitoes with this week’s 70-degree day.

With all this rain there is a lot of standing water. All it takes is a puddle for mosquitoes to populate.

Levi Williams likes to take his dogs to the park.

“Pena Adobe gets pretty bad. That’s where still water sits,” said Williams.

Warmer weather has caused an increase in mosquitoes. That’s why Solano Mosquito Abatement is already out.

Dave Murrietta stopped by an area where water is pooling by a residential area said, “We are doing a post-treatment sample to make sure the products are still taking effect.”

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GMO mosquitoes: Could genetic engineering protect us from the deadliest animal on the planet?

From CBSN Originals
March 11, 2019

To some people, the only good mosquito is a dead mosquito. And not just because they can ruin your backyard barbecue.

Mosquitoes have been called the deadliest animals on the planet, transmitting dangerous diseases like malaria, yellow fever and dengue. Millions of peopleworldwide die each year from mosquito-borne diseases, including half a millionfrom malaria alone.

In the last few years, Zika virus has emerged as the latest health threat carried by mosquitoes. Zika is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito — and more than half the world’s population lives in areas where the species thrives.

But what if we had the technology to eliminate the threat by tweaking the biology of the mosquitoes themselves? Would it be a safer, more effective solution than fumigation or other traditional mosquito control methods? A British company called Oxitec is betting that it will.

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Protection from Zika virus may lie in a protein derived from mosquitoes

From Yale News
March 11, 2019

By targeting a protein found in the saliva of mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus, Yale investigators reduced Zika infection in mice. The finding demonstrates how researchers might develop a vaccine against Zika and similar mosquito-borne viruses, the study authors said.

The research was published in Nature Microbiology.

There is no current vaccine or therapy for Zika virus infection, which caused substantial illness, including birth defects, during the 2015 outbreak that impacted over a million people in the Americas. One source of a potential vaccine strategy is the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries and transmits the virus. A Yale research team recently focused on proteins found in the saliva of these mosquitoes and how they might affect Zika transmission.

Led by the Section Chief for Infectious Diseases at Yale, Erol Fikrig, the team isolated antibodies from the blood of mice bitten by mosquitoes. They performed a genomic screen to identify mosquito proteins and tested the proteins for their effect in cell culture, as well as in infected mice models, against Zika virus. They pinpointed one protein, AgBR1, that exacerbated Zika infection in mice.

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Another Species May Carry Zika

From Pest Control Technology
March 11, 2019

Another mosquito may carry the Zika virus, but more research is needed to confirm the early lab tests, University of Florida scientists reported. UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers detected Zika in the saliva of southern house mosquitoes collected in Florida.

Chelsea Smartt, an associate professor at the UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Lab in Vero Beach, Fla., said her study’s finding supports that the mosquito species, known scientifically as Culex quinquefasciatus, can contain live Zika virus in saliva. To date the mosquito species Aedes aegypti is considered the primary carrier of Zika virus.

Smartt said researchers must perform more experiments to know whether and how much of a role Culex quinquefasciatus plays in spreading Zika.

In 2016, Zika caused cases of microcephaly — a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and gender — in some newborns in the United States, due in part to traveler-related global spread of Zika virus.

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Standing water from recent storms poses mosquito risk

From News Channel 3
March 10, 2019

PALM DESERT, Calif. — – With record-breaking rainfall it’s important for valley residents to take a proactive approach in preventing mosquitos and protecting from bites.

The best way to avoid mosquitos is to drain any sources of standing water in backyards.

Vector Control suggests changing water bowls, flower pots, bird baths and any sources of standing water weekly.  It’s advised for people to wear repellents and use swatters and wipes to protect your skin.

Mosquito bites can cause West Nile Virus — most times the illness is not severe and symptoms go undetected. Those include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes. 

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Pesticide-resistant mosquitoes found in southern NM

From Las Cruses Sun News
March 9, 2019

LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State University researchers collaborating with the New Mexico Department of Health recently published a paper that shows there is widespread resistance to insecticides in one type of mosquito found in southern New Mexico — Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. 

Researchers say insecticide resistance is a serious problem, which evolves in insect populations when they are repeatedly exposed to the same type of insecticide or insecticides. This resistance can undermine public health efforts. This study characterized for the first time insecticide resistance of the yellow fever mosquito across its range in New Mexico.

“With climate change, New Mexico will increasingly be seeing mosquito-borne disease,” said NMDOH State Epidemiologist Michael Landen. “This paper provides an important warning of how insecticide resistance in the state will complicate our ability to control these diseases and that we need to work on alternatives.”

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More People To Become At Risk Of Mosquito-Borne Diseases As Climate Change, Human Movements Allow For Wider Spread Of Insect Species

From the Kaiser Family Foundation
March 8, 2019

E&E News/Scientific American: Mosquito-Borne Disease Could Threaten Half the Globe by 2050
“By 2050, half the world’s population could be at risk of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever or the Zika virus, new research suggests. Climate change may put even more people at risk further into the future. A combination of environmental change, urbanization, and human movements around the world are helping mosquitoes spread into new areas, according to the findings, reported Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology…” (Harvey, 3/7).

Vox: Zika, dengue, and yellow fever are about to get much worse
“…Using statistical mapping techniques, they model how two disease-carrying mosquitos, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, have spread over the last 30 years, and predict how they’ll spread over the next 30. The results are alarming. These species of mosquito — which carry infectious diseases including Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever, though not malaria — are expected to spread throughout most of the United States and Europe, exposing hundreds of millions of people to these diseases. … It’s not clear that most countries are ready to address the public health challenge…” (Piper, 3/7).

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“Our children are forgotten”: Zika’s devastating impact lingers 3 years later

From CBS News
March 8, 2019

It was late 2015 when communities in northeast Brazil started noticing an alarming increase in babies born with an unusual and devastating type of birth defect: microcephaly. The condition is characterized by an abnormally small head, and often neurological impairment. At first, no one knew what was causing the uptick, and concern grew as dozens of cases soon became hundreds.

By 2016, experts had zeroed in on the cause: Zika virus, contracted during pregnancy, may harm an unborn child’s brain development. Panic swept through Brazil and much of the western hemisphere as health officials scrambled to understand the disease and looked for ways to stop it.

For many families, life has never been the same.

Gleyse da Silva’s daughter Gigi was born in October of 2015, the height of the outbreak. Gleyse, already the mother of three boys, said she’d always wanted a girl. She found out when she was seven months pregnant that Gigi would be born with a smaller head.

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Researchers: Potential ‘Mosquito Birth Control’ Could Curb Killer Diseases

From CBS SF Bay Area
March 7, 2019

TUCSON, Ariz. (CBS Local) — Scientists say they’ve taken a major step toward developing a “mosquito birth control” drug to curb the spread of Zika, malaria and other diseases blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year.

Researchers at the University of Arizona say they discovered a potential protein that exists only in female mosquitoes, which is critical for their young to hatch. When the scientists blocked the protein, the female laid eggs with defective shells causing the embryos inside to die.

The team said developing drugs that target the protein could provide a way to reduce mosquito populations without harming beneficial insects such as bees.

“It’s basically birth control because even though the mosquito doesn’t die, she won’t be able to lay viable eggs for the rest of her life,” Roger Miesfeld, head of the university’s department of chemistry and biochemistry, told the Arizona Daily Sun.

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Zika, dengue, and yellow fever are about to get much worse

From Vox
March 7, 2019

Climate change, urbanization, and changes in human populations have driven many beloved species to the brink of extinction. But one of the deadliest animals in the world — the mosquito — is thriving.

Around 700,000 people die every year from mosquito-borne disease. The biggest culprit is malaria, but other mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika, have proliferated wildly in recent years, and now make up a substantial share of the global burden of mosquito-borne disease. By some estimates, the number of dengue infections has increased 30-fold in the past 30 years.

The culprit? Climate change, plus urbanization and changes in where human populations are concentrated. And a new study in Nature Microbiology suggests that things will only get worse. Using statistical mapping techniques, they model how two disease-carrying mosquitos, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, have spread over the last 30 years, and predict how they’ll spread over the next 30.

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