Zika Vaccine may be modified from the Dengue Vaccine

Researchers have decided to use the Dengue Virus vaccine as a basis for the Zika virus vaccine. In a recent study, the dengue virus vaccine was shown to be 100% effective in volunteers. The Dengue Virus, like the Zika Virus, causes mild symptoms and affects millions of people globally. However, there is a particular risk to pregnant mothers and their unborn baby when it comes to Zika Virus.

Research suggests that many mothers infected with Zika Virus will go on to give birth to infants with microcephaly, smaller than normal skull and brain. The consequences of this are still not widely known and more research will surely be done in the coming months.

A new Dengue Vaccine is going to be deployed in Brazil and tested on 17,000 volunteers and if it works as predicted, then the idea is to tack on the Zika component to this new dengue vaccine. This will be very useful since both Dengue and Zika are spread by mosquitoes in the same environment. The only way we will know the effectiveness of this approach to the Zika Vaccine is when it will be put to test on volunteers – however, we are still quite far from this becoming a reality.

See more at NBC News.

Zika Virus expected in most US Cities

There is concern that with summer approaching, the number of Zika cases are expected to rise in the USA.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is known to spread the Zika virus,  is common in southern and eastern USA during the warmer months. While this particular mosquito does not thrive in the cooler temperatures, the warm wet weather which usually occurs annually in the USA is expected to increase the number of these insects. There is a particular concern this year due to an increase in rainfall as a result of the

There is a particular concern this year due to an increase in rainfall as a result of the El Niño weather system. Stagnant water, including blocked drain pipes and marshland, is prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Experts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado predict that cities in Southern Florida  and Southeastern Texas are the most vulnerable to local Zika virus transmission. However, the researchers do indicate that even if Zika virus cases do  increase in the summer, its spread will be much less than what has been seen in Latin America and the Caribbean. The chief reason for this is that a higher number of Americans live and work under air conditioned environments and the homes and offices are well sealed.

However, the researchers do indicate that even if Zika virus cases do increase in the summer, its spread will be much less than what has been seen in Latin America and the Caribbean. The chief reason for this is that a higher number of Americans live and work under air conditioned environments and their homes and offices are well sealed.

The majority of cases expected are in U.S. Americans and Canadians that have been infected abroad before returning home. It is still not fully known whether the Zika Virus will become endemic (prevalent in the local mosquito populations).

Read more at the National Science Foundation

Shoo’s hatching! #PupaLaunch

Shoo’s Pupa is hatching! Just 8 days to go. Enter the giveaway now below.

If you’ve already entered, you can gain additional entries for completing alternative actions, including signing up to Shoo’s Buzz.

Why not sign-up to Shoo’s Buzz?

Shoo will share with you some of the following:

  • Mosquito news round-ups and the latest developments on Zika Virus.
  • Interesting Mosquito facts and trivia.
  • How-to guides on ways of protecting yourself from mosquito bites.
  • The inner thoughts of a mosquito affectionately named ‘Shoo’.

Shoo’s Big Reveal – #PupaLaunch

MNR: 03/23 – Pregnant women with malaria should be treated, urges study

Throughout the week, Shoo will post important Mosquito Awareness, Zika and other Mosquito-borne disease news updates. This blog post is part of a series: Mosquito News Roundup (MNR).

Pregnant women with malaria should be treated, urges study

While the recent news has been all about the Zika virus and microcephaly, it is important not to forget that malaria was responsible for over half a million deaths in 2015.

Further, malaria has significant implications for the fetus and the pregnant mother. If left untreated, malaria can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight and stillbirths.

Despite an absence of clinical trials in pregnant women, experts warn that the consequences of no treatment are even worse. So now the WHO has recommended that pregnant  women living in areas where malaria is endemic should sleep under pesticide-treated nets and also be treated with two doses of malaria preventive medications during the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

Studies from Africa where pregnant women have been treated using the WHO protocol with antimalarial drugs reveal cure rates over 95% with few side effects. These studies will perhaps encourage other countries to start treating pregnant

Read more at NPR.org

MNR: 03/21 – How Mosquitoes are attracted to warm bodies

Throughout the week, Shoo will post important Mosquito Awareness, Zika and other Mosquito-borne disease news updates. This blog post is part of a series: Mosquito News Roundup (MNR).

Mosquitoes are attracted to warm bodies

For many years, the question has been asked, “How do mosquitoes seek out humans?

Now there is interesting research suggesting that mosquitoes track down something that they want to bite by following a sequence of cues which include 1) smell 2) sight and 3) heat.

The team at the California Institute of Technology discovered that mosquitoes employ the following hunting strategy when seeking a blood meal:

  • From distances up to 150 feet they use smell, particularly CO2 – but also body odor.
  • If a mosquito is already stimulated by a smell, they go for something visually appealing, such as a body – this has a range of around 50 feet.
  • Once a mosquito is within 5 feet of a potential target, they sense body heat and use that to determine where specifically they will feast.

Researchers followed the movement of hungry mosquitoes in a wind tunnel and observed that they were first attracted to a plume of CO2 (much like human breath). After sniffing the gas, they homed in on a dark spot. Over shorter distances, mosquitoes were attached towards heat.

Other features that may play a role in why mosquito bite one person and not others, may be body odor. However, the strongest attraction for mosquitoes is carbon dioxide.

Read more at BBC News.

MNR: 03/19 – Microcephaly linked to Zika Virus in new study

Throughout the week, Shoo will post important Mosquito Awareness, Zika and other Mosquito-borne disease news updates. This blog post is part of a series: Mosquito News Roundup (MNR).

Microcephaly linked to Zika virus in new study:

When the Brazilian health care workers first reported the presence of microcephaly in pregnant women exposed to the Zika virus, it was initially felt that this was just a coincidence. Now, a  study in French Polynesia reveals that about 1% of pregnant women infected with the Zika virus during early pregnancy may be at risk for having an infant with microcephaly. The latest study published in the journal Lancet suggests that perhaps there is a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly.

Infectious disease experts agree that microcephaly is biologically plausible if the infection occurs during the first trimester but more data are needed. Fortunately, more data will soon be available from Colombia and Argentina where the Zika virus and its association with microcephaly are being studied. However, what concerns researchers are the long terms effects of the Zika virus on the brain beyond microcephaly, which may not be visible right now but may appear as learning difficulties.

Read more at The Guardian.

MNR: 03/18 – Zika Pregnant women travel advice update

Throughout the week, Shoo will post important Mosquito Awareness, Zika and other Mosquito-borne disease news updates. This blog post is part of a series: Mosquito News Roundup (MNR).

CDC Makes Notable Exception to Zika Travel Warning:

A few days ago the US government amended the Zika travel warnings. In January 2016, the CDC had urged all pregnant women to avoid travel to Zika endemic areas in Central and South America.

Now the US government has stated that it is fine for pregnant women to travel to Mexico city and other cities which are at higher elevations. According to the CDC, the Zika virus has not been found at higher altitudes because of lack of humidity and heat. So before you book your ticket, find out if the city is at an elevation of above 6,500 feet, or 2,000 meters. This does, unfortunately, still exclude beach holidays.

The US government has acknowledged that making broad travel restrictions may hamper tourism and trade. Just last year, more than 40 million Americans including half a million pregnant women traveled to destinations where Zika is currently endemic.

Read more at CBS News

Dengue Outbreak increased link to El Nino

Each week we will feature a number of the best #MosquitoAwareness articles from the web. Today’s comes from SciDev.net.

El Nino favourable to dengue outbreaks

By Gilbert Felongco

[MANILA] As countries in South-East Asia battle anew rising dengue outbreaks, scientists say they have found a link between El Niño and the increasing incidents of dengue which could help health authorities to map out counter strategies.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tracked cases of the mosquito-borne disease across eight countries in South-East Asia and linked the high incidence of dengue transmission to episodes of El Niño, when temperatures reach higher than normal levels.

“Dengue epidemics during El Niño can be avoided through interventions that are safe as well as through environmental management measures.”

By Lilian Delas Llagas, dengue control specialist

Continue reading at SciDev.Net. Read the original article

Visit SciDev.Net

Shoo’s Big Reveal – Pupa Launch Giveaway – Pupa Stage 2

To celebrate the launch of ShooMosquito.com, Shoo is hosting a #Pupa Launch Giveaway. Enter now for your chance to win! Shoo is now at his second stage of Pupa! The more you enter, the quicker he grows.

Prizes:

5 Winners: Mosquito Repellent Bracelets x 10 from Evergreen Research
1 Winner: $25 Amazon.com Giftcard

It’s easy to enter the competition; follow the instructions below. The more entries into the competition, the faster the Pupa will grow. Shoo, the mosquito, will be fully revealed at the end of the giveaway. #WhosShoo #PupaLaunch

Continue reading Shoo’s Big Reveal – Pupa Launch Giveaway – Pupa Stage 2

[TED] Re-engineering Mosquitoes To Fight Disease – Hadyn Parry

Each year around the world, about 400 million people are newly affected by mosquitoes, and this is only when considering Malaria (200-300 million) and Dengue Fever (50-100 million). This doesn’t even include those already infected with these diseases or other vector diseases that mosquitoes carry e.g. Zika Virus & Yellow Fever.

In this TED talk, Hadyn Parry presents a fascinating solution to the mosquito problem – genetic engineering.

Male mosquitoes are genetically engineered to make them sterile, meaning they are unable to bear offspring. Releasing large numbers of these sterile male mosquitoes in to the wild can have drastic effects on female mosquitoes abilities to lay viable eggs, thus preventing future generations of mosquitoes, and therefore future generations of vector diseases carrying mosquitoes.

This TED talk is from November 2012, and since then scientists have worked with governments in endemic areas to put this method in to practice further. (We’ll blog about this soon!!)

To learn more about this quite clever technique at reducing mosquito numbers, find Parry’s TED talk presentation below:

 

 

Buzzing about Mosquito Awareness and Protection. #WhosShoo