From San Joaquin County MVCD
May 14, 2021

(STOCKTON, CA) – San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District’s (District) mosquito-borne disease surveillance program recently detected West Nile virus (WNV) in a dead bird (wild finch) collected in the Ripon area, zip code 95366. “This is the first find of WNV activity in San Joaquin County for 2021,” said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer of the District. “With warm weather, mosquito populations will continue to increase, leading to an elevated risk of WNV in humans,” said Devencenzi.

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Peak Mosquito Season is Coming. Here’s All You Need to Know

From NBC Los Angeles
May 6, 2021

It’s that time of year again: it’s time for swimming, basking in the sun, and of course, fending off annoying bites from mosquitoes. 

What’s worse, in Southern California, is the presence of an aggressive ankle-biter mosquito that will bite multiple times, and doesn’t wait for dusk — they’ll attack right in the middle of the day, or even inside your house. That’s atypical mosquito behavior, at least for the kinds that are native to Southern California. 

If you’ve noticed over the last few years that you’ve been bitten multiple times around your ankles, you were likely victim to the Aedes mosquito, which officials believe arrived on a container ship from Asia. It’s an invasive species, meaning not native to Southern California. And they have the potential to carry harmful diseases, including the Zika virus. 

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City Of Fountain Valley: Save Water And Stop Mosquitoes

From the Fountain Valley Patch
May 5, 2021

Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District and Irvine Ranch Water District have teamed up to remind residents that mosquito control is a shared responsibility that benefits everyone.

The best method to reduce mosquito breeding on your property is to limit the number of potential sources. Walk your yard and check to see how many of breeding sites you have on your property. If standing water is found, remove the water or remove the source. If the source is not removed, you must check weekly for standing water to prevent mosquito breeding.

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Invasive mosquito terrorizes some Visalia neighborhoods. Vector control urges community support

From the Visalia Times Delta
April 28, 2021

An invasive mosquito species that feasts on humans during the day has seen an uptick in Visalia neighborhoods.

The special district that manages the pests may seek a property tax assessment to help control the mosquito menaces, called Aedes aegypti or Yellow Fever Mosquito.

The species was rediscovered in Tulare County in 2017 and its population has exploded in the years since. The aggressive mosquito is a daytime biter — unlike most native California species — and can breed on any source of freshwater, including plant trays and pet water dishes. 

The mosquito can carry deadly diseases, such as Yellow Fever, Dengue, and Zika. None of these viruses have been transmitted within California, yet, according to the Department of Public Health, but have become widespread in other parts of the world where the mosquito is active.

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Residents urged to eliminate places where mosquito breed

From The Ceres Courier
April 28, 2021

As the temperatures increase, so do the number of mosquitoes which are responsible for spreading diseases such as West Nile Virus and Saint Louis encephalitis virus. The Turlock Mosquito Abatement District – which includes Ceres – reminds residents to take steps to prevent mosquitoes and mosquito‐borne diseases.

During 2020, mosquitoes were responsible for causing 231 human cases and 20 horse cases of West Nile Virus in California. In Stanislaus County, there were 36 human WNV cases along with three horse cases during 2020. There was also one human case of St. Louis encephalitis virus.

The district urges residents to “Dump and Drain” standing water around their properties.

“Preventing opportunities for mosquitoes to breed around your home can help protect you and your family,” said David Heft, general manager for Turlock Mosquito Abatement District.

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Mosquito district advises residents to use precautions as temperatures rise

From the Turlock Journal
April 28, 2021

As pleasant spring temperatures transition into sweltering summer days and nights, mosquitoes will be more active and looking to make a meal of any arm, leg, neck, etc. they can find. Along with their ravenous appetite comes a risk of contracting West Nile Virus and St. Louis encephalitis.

Both the Turlock and Eastside Mosquito Abatement Districts would like to remind residents to take steps like “Dump and Drain” to prevent mosquitoes and mosquito‐borne diseases.

In 2020, California recorded 231 cases of West Nile Virus in humans and 20 cases in horses. Of the 231 human cases, 11 were fatal, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Stanislaus County saw 36 cases of West Nile Virus in humans and three in horses. The county also recorded one human case of St. Louis encephalitis.

As of April 23, there have been no cases of West Nile Virus reported in California.

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Kern Mosquito and Vector Control to provide update on this year’s mosquito season

From KGET.com
April 27, 2021

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County Mosquito and Vector Control will provide an update on this year’s mosquito season on Wednesday.

This time last year Kern County saw an uptick of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are also known as ankle-biters. This breed of mosquito can bite multiple times, and transmit dangerous viruses such as Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever and more. None of these viruses have been detected in the county.

Kern County Mosquito and Vector Control will also provide tips to avoid being bitten.

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County to host mosquito fish giveaways

From The Union
April 22, 2021

The Nevada County Environmental Health Department Vector Control Program will be holding Mosquito Fish Giveaways at the Eric Rood Administrative Building, 950 Maidu Ave, Nevada City. All giveaways will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Drive-thru pick-ups only; please remain in your car. Containers will be provided to safely take the fish home.

This year’s dates will be May 6 and 20; June 3 and 17; and July 1.

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Fight the bite this mosquito season in the Sacramento area

From KCRA3
April 21, 2021

It’s Mosquito and West Nile Virus Awareness Week in California.

As the weather gets warmer, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District is urging families to do their part to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.


Experts said we need to be extra vigilant for the next six months.

More mosquitoes are out, and they aren’t just a nuisance — they carry diseases like West Nile virus.

It’s important to do weekly checks of our homes, draining any standing water that may produce mosquitoes outside.

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District Reminds Residents To Be Aware Of Mosquitoes

From The Escalon Times
April 21, 2021

As outdoor activity increases and temperatures rise, local residents are being encouraged to prevent mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. The focus is especially on that topic now, during California Mosquito Awareness Week, being observed April 18 through 24.

The San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) also requests residents to remove standing water on their properties.

“As daily temperatures increase, the District’s staff is working to keep mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease under control,” said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer of the District. “Mosquito prevention is everyone’s responsibility, so dump and drain standing water and tip and toss containers.”

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As Outdoor Activity Increases and Temperatures Rise, People are Encouraged to Prevent Mosquitoes & Mosquito-Borne Diseases

From the San Joaquin County MVCD
April 19, 2021

(STOCKTON, CA) – San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) requests residents to remove standing water on their properties. As daily temperatures increase, the District’s staff is working to keep mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease under control”, said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer of the District. “Mosquito prevention is everyone’s responsibility, so dump and drain standing water and tip and toss containers,” said Devencenzi.

We encourage people to use our mosquitofish for neglected swimming pools, animal water troughs, water features, and ornamental ponds.  Mosquitofish can be obtained by calling the District’s main office for delivery, with no charge, throughout San Joaquin County. Also, follow these tips to prevent mosquito-borne disease:

  • Apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients, including DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535, according to label instructions, when outdoors. Repellents keep mosquitoes from biting.
  • Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk, especially for the first two hours after sunset.
  • When outdoors, wear long pants, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, and other protective clothing.

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Tropical species are moving northward as winters warm

From the Lake County News
April 18, 2021

Notwithstanding February’s cold snap in Texas and Louisiana, climate change is leading to warmer winter weather throughout the southern U.S., creating a golden opportunity for many tropical plants and animals to move north, according to a new study in the journal Global Change Biology.

Some of these species may be welcomed, such as sea turtles and the Florida manatee, which are expanding their ranges northward along the Atlantic Coast.

Others, like the invasive Burmese python — in the Florida Everglades, the largest measured 18 feet, end-to-end – maybe less so.

Equally unwelcome, and among the quickest to spread into warming areas, are the insects, including mosquitoes that carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika, dengue and yellow fever, and beetles that destroy native trees.

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It’s time to start thinking about mosquito protection

From The Daily Republic
April 16, 2021

FAIRFIELD — Nicer weather draws more people outside, and that draws mosquitoes.

“As the weather warms up and residents head outside, it’s important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites,” said Truc Dever, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California, in a statement. “Doing a weekly check around your yard and dumping and draining all standing water is an easy way to eliminate mosquitoes in your community.”

At the top of concerns about mosquito bites is the West Nile virus.

There is no human vaccine for the virus, a disease that can cause debilitating cases of meningitis, encephalitis and even death.

“In 2020, there were 231 human West Nile virus disease cases from 26 counties in California, including 11 human deaths. Since 2003, more than 7,000 human disease cases were reported including more than 300 deaths,” the association reported.

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UConn professor works on developing Zika virus vaccine

From The Daily Campus
April 8, 2021

A University of Connecticut associate professor recently had successful results in animal trials and is moving onto the next steps to produce a Zika virus vaccine.  

Paulo Verardi, associate professor of virology and vaccinology, with help from then Ph.D. student Brittany Jasperse, were among the first researchers to file for a grant with the National Institutes of Health and receive a federal grant to work on a Zika vaccine.  

In the pre-clinical animal trials, the mice that were given a single dose Zika virus vaccine showed no sign of the disease in their bodies or blood. For the ones in the placebo group who did not receive the vaccination, they did allow replication of the virus.  

“The animals that were vaccinated did not show evidence of virus replication,” Verardi said. “We could not detect the virus in them.”  

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Officials Urge Pasadenans to Help Take the Bite out of Mosquito Season

From Pasadena Now
April 6, 2021

The San Gabriel Valley saw no deaths from West Nile virus during the pandemic lockdown, and vector control officials say they are hoping to continue the trend by reminding residents to get rid of standing water on their properties to prevent the mosquitoes that transmit the illness, and others, from breeding.

The region generally sees several deaths from West Nile virus each year, San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District spokesman Levy Sun said.

“But in 2020, we didn’t see that at all. And we were really, really grateful for everyone’s participation in mosquito control. Because we always say mosquito control is a shared responsibility. And 2020, despite all the odds, proves that to be true.

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Vector Control: mosquito and tick season is fast approaching

April 5, 2021

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — As the weather gets warmer, Jackson County Vector Control wants to remind you to protect yourself and your pets.

Mosquitoes and ticks come out as the seasons change, they can carry diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease.

Biologists at the vector control center said there are ways to stay safe this spring and summer.

If they can look for any kind of sources that might be in their backyard or close to them,” said Jeoff Taylor with Jackson Co. Vector Control,” uncovered boats that the plug may still be in, or the leaves are up against it and create a big pool or pocket of water.”

People are encouraged to vaccinate their pets, wear repellent or long sleeves and pants. Officials said you can protect your home by using screens on windows and doors.

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Successful Zika vaccine in preclinical studies

From Science Daily
April 1, 2021

UConn researcher Paulo Verardi, associate professor of pathobiology and veterinary science in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, has demonstrated the success of a vaccine against Zika virus and recently published his findings in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research publication. He has also filed provisional patent for the novel vaccine platform technology used to generate the vaccine, as well as genetic modifications made to the vaccine that significantly enhance expression of the vaccine antigen.

Verardi, a Brazilian native, was in Brazil visiting family in the summer of 2015 when the Zika outbreak first began to make waves and soon reached epidemic status.

Back in the United States, Verardi kept tabs on the Zika epidemic and its emerging connection to microcephaly, a serious birth defect that causes babies to be born with small heads and underdeveloped brains.

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Cal Poly Study Finds Light Pollution Drives Increased Risk of West Nile Virus

From Cal Poly News
March 2021

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A new study from Cal Poly and the University of South Florida (USF) is the first to provide direct evidence that light pollution is driving infectious disease patterns in nature.

The research team previously determined mosquitoes and birds are attracted to artificial light at night, greatly enhancing the likelihood that the insects will spread West Nile virus to animals and humans.

Their new findings published this week in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” are in contrast to previous studies that have blamed urbanization due to its human population density and breeding hotspots, such as drainage systems.

“Research from our team members at USF had shown in lab-based studies that light pollution could potentially influence West Nile virus risk,” said Clinton Francis, a Cal Poly biology professor and corresponding study author, “but our study is the first to show how light pollution can affect risk of West Nile virus in the real world, and better explains patterns of risk than environmental variables previously thought important.”

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Zika virus helps destroy deadly brain cancer in mice

From Washington University in St. Louis
March 24, 2021

The Zika virus that ravaged the Americas, leaving many babies with permanent brain damage, may have a silver lining. The virus can activate immune cells to destroy an aggressive brain cancer in mice, giving a powerful boost to an immunotherapy drug and sparking long-lasting immunological memory that can ward off tumor recurrence for at least 18 months, according to a study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The findings, available online in the journal JCI Insight, suggest Zika virus might be a key to unlocking the power of immunotherapy for glioblastoma, a lethal brain cancer that typically results in death within two years. Immunotherapy aims to turn the body’s own immune system into a weapon to eliminate cancer cells. The approach has proven effective for blood, skin and some other cancers, but it has so far shown limited benefit for glioblastoma patients.

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Vector Control Offers Tips on Mosquito-Proofing Rain Barrels, Water Conservation

From SCVNews.com
March 22, 2021

As Southern California residents, water conservation is part of our lifestyle and rain barrels are an easy way to capture rainwater for future use.

However, if not properly maintained, rain barrels can become an ideal breeding source for mosquitoes.

Learn how to mosquito-proof your rain barrel and continue to conserve water throughout the year while still controlling mosquitoes.

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

– Cover all water-filled containers with tightly fitting lids.

– Screen all openings (overflows, openings in the lid), including roof and floor gutters with a 1/16-inch fine mesh to keep mosquitoes out.

– Use collected water right away and empty barrels completely between rain events.

– Check the screens for tears/holes monthly to prevent mosquitoes from entering the container and
– laying hundreds of eggs.

– Use mosquito bits if you must keep stagnant water for more than five days.

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Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus could be resistant to insecticides, study finds

March 17, 2021

FLORIDA, USA — A new study from the University of Florida found that mosquitoes that carry and transmit the Zika virus have shown resistance to insecticides designed specifically to prevent the spread of the disease. Researchers are calling the findings a threat to public health.

The chemicals found in the insecticide, known as pyrethroids, have been in use since the early 1960s. In Florida, researchers say they make up 90 percent of the insecticides used for mosquito control in the state. 

Using a species of mosquito widely found throughout Florida, commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito, researchers found the insects who were resistant to pyrethoids were more likely to have an advanced infection of the Zika virus as well. 

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USU biologist using innovative research to track mosquitos

From the Cache Valley Daily
March 17, 2021

LOGAN —  While most people consider mosquitos an annoying pest, Utah State University Assistant Biology Professor Norah Saarman wanted to examine how they can spread infectious diseases.

“Our goal was to use images from space to see if we could predict how distant genetic mosquitos were or are across the landscape,” Saarman said. “What’s new about this is that we combined several approaches, one of those is called machine learning and it’s a really flexible way to ask if you can predict data.”

Saarman was also working to study the genetic connectivity of Aedes aegypti, an invasive species to North America that’s become widespread in the United States.

With Evlyn Pless of the University of California, Davis and Jeffrey Powell, Andalgisa Caccone and Giuseppe Amatulli of Yale University, Saarman published findings from a machine-learning approach to mapping landscape connectivity in the February 22, 2021 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The team’s research was also supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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Study of mosquito protein could lead to treatments against life-threatening viruses

From the National Institutes of Health
March 10, 2021

The mosquito protein AEG12 strongly inhibits the family of viruses that cause yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Zika and weakly inhibits coronaviruses, according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and their collaborators. The researchers found that AEG12 works by destabilizing the viral envelope, breaking its protective covering. Although the protein does not affect viruses that do not have an envelope, such as those that cause pink eye and bladder infections, the findings could lead to therapeutics against viruses that affect millions of people around the world. The research was published online in PNAS.

Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of NIH, used X-ray crystallography to solve the structure of AEG12. Senior author Geoffrey Mueller, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Group, said at the molecular level, AEG12 rips out the lipids, or the fat-like portions of the membrane that hold the virus together.

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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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Santa Clara County to combat mosquito breeding season in marshlands

From Palo Alto Online
February 25, 2021

On Friday, Santa Clara County plans to hover over the Palo Alto Flood Basin — an area known to be a mosquito breeding ground around this time of the year — to release a specific bacteria found in soil to stunt mosquitoes from maturing.

The county’s Vector Control District, which was formed to combat diseases transferred to humans from parasites and other wildlife, is scheduled to fly low in a helicopter on Friday around 7:30 a.m. to spray the area. The process is expected to last a few hours, according to the county.

“We follow the mosquito management best practices recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency,” Vector Control District Manager Dr. Nayer Zahiri said in a county press release Wednesday. “These efforts have been proven to be safe and effective for more than 25 years.”

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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

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


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.


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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