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A New Dawn for Fighting Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Posted by The VDCI Team on Aug 20, 2018 10:39:38 AM

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Over recent decades many mosquito-borne diseases have resurfaced or emerged and spread rapidly. From Zika, dengue to West Nile fever and chikungunya. Even malaria, which has had long-term global efforts to eradicate it has recently shown signs of increasing.

Many of these diseases have no specific treatment and the limited medicines available for some are facing resistance. Insecticides used to control mosquitoes are also facing resistance. On many fronts, innovations are urgently needed to control old diseases and prevent new ones from spreading.

Scientists in fields as diverse as biochemistry, genomics, entomology, computing, remote sensing, avionics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and aerospace engineering are combining their resources to develop new ways to fight diseases.

Here are a few examples of some recent scientific developments that are bringing a new dawn in the fight against the global threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Public Education

Public Health: U.S. Mosquito-Borne Diseases [Quick Overview]

Posted by The VDCI Team on Aug 14, 2018 1:04:32 PM

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There are really only two reasons to control mosquitoes; to avoid nuisance biting, and to preclude the spread of mosquito-borne disease. Everyone recognizes that mosquitoes can be a terrible blood feeding nuisance, but many people do not realize the magnitude of the health threat that they represent globally. Some of the world's most deadly diseases are carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. It is estimated that up to a million people die every year from mosquito-borne illness with many countries around the world ravaged by malaria, yellow fever, and dengue-hemorrhagic fever. What is the history and what are the current local cases of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S.? 
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Public Education

Vector-Borne Disease Spotlight: Jamestown Canyon Virus

Posted by The VDCI Team on Jul 12, 2018 11:48:37 AM

Written By Kris New, Regional Director for VDCI
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What? There is another virus that can be transmitted by mosquitoes?!

Yes. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world, and Jamestown Canyon virus is another virus on the long list of diseases vectored by these arthropods.

What is interesting about Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), is that it behaves a little differently than a few of the viruses the public may be more familiar with. West Nile virus (WNV) and Zika virus rely on a reservoir host to perpetuate the virus, as the mosquito cannot pass it on to their offspring. With JCV, in addition to having reservoir hosts, such as deer, this virus can also have transovarian transmission, which means the parent arthropod (in this case a mosquito) can pass the disease pathogen to their offspring. This is not completely uncommon. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a vector-borne disease that is transmitted through an infected tick carrying the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. The bacterium can be transmitted to offspring in this way as well.

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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Public Education

2017 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Posted by The VDCI Team on Feb 13, 2018 4:36:30 PM

Written By The VDCI Team

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In 2017, the scientific community, the public, and the press maintained their interest in the Zika virus outbreak of 2016. Articles surfaced on the potential long-term health complications attributed to contracting the virus. The public received extra education on personal protective measures to reduce the spread of Zika. And the scientific community reviewed trusted and experimental methods to prevent future outbreaks. In addition to Mother Nature bringing new mosquito-related problems to Texas and Florida last year, in the floodwaters left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, both states reported the only locally-acquired U.S. cases of Zika virus for the second year in a row. 

There were several mosquito-borne diseases reported in the United States in 2017. In this blog, we will focus on: West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and Zika. WNV remains the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes to humans in the U.S. as well as responsible for taking the highest number of human lives. 
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Public Education

2016 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Posted by The VDCI Team on Jan 12, 2017 10:25:33 AM

Written By VDCI Team

2016 was a year of intense scrutiny over vector-borne diseases due to the outbreak of Zika virus. The media coverage of Zika has overshadowed several other mosquito-borne diseases that remain a threat within the U.S. In this blog, we will cover three of the many diseases that were transmitted by mosquitoes in 2016: West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and Zika. All of the information in this post was taken from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s data points and website as of 01/17/2017.

west-nile-virus-wnv-2016-incidence-cdc-map-united-states-01032017.jpgWest Nile Virus (WNV): WNV is the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes to humans in the United States. WNV is typically transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have previously fed upon an infected bird. While over 150 species of mosquitoes have been known to carry WNV, the main vector species in the U.S. are Culex pipiens, Culex tarsalis, and Culex quinquefasciatus. These mosquitoes are all active at night, and most cases of infection occur during the summer months. Approximately 20% of people affected by WNV will experience flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, nausea, muscle pain, and swollen lymph glands. Other symptoms may include a stiff neck, rash, sleepiness or disorientation. Less than 1% of those infected will develop West Nile Encephalitis or Meningitis, which can lead to coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and even death.

As of January 17, 2017, 47 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2016. Overall, 2,038 cases of WNV were reported in humans, and there were 94 confirmed deaths (4.61%) in 2016. The total is a slight improvement from 2015, where there were 2,060 human cases and 119 confirmed deaths (5.8%). To learn more about the symptoms, treatment, and mosquito species that vector this virus, visit our educational page on West Nile virus.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM)

Zika-Carrying Aedes Aegypti: Municipal Mosquito Control Solutions

Posted by The VDCI Team on Dec 29, 2016 4:21:57 PM

Written By Jason Williams, Texas Regional Director

Based on the spread of Zika virus in 2016, many municipalities are revisiting how they prepare for the 2017 mosquito season.

markets-served-vdci-municipal-mosquito-aedes-aegypti.jpgWe previously provided an overview on why Aedes aegypti is a species that is challenging the mosquito control industry. Because of these challenges, mosquito management experts continue to explore new methodologies to manage Aedes aegypti populations, with the goal always being to protect public health by providing the best solutions to the unique needs of communities.

Understanding If A Threat Exists: Surveillance, Monitoring, and Disease Testing

As discussed in our recent blogsurveillance and monitoring of Aedes aegypti require specialized trapping methods, and there are some proven models as well as novel trap designs that provide great insight into the presence and population density of a species within a given area. The discovery of Aedes aegypti in a community does not mean Zika is soon to follow. After identifying captured mosquitoes, the next step should be to conduct disease testing to determine if a threat exists within the community.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM)

Zika-Carrying Aedes Aegypti: Challenging Mosquito Management

Posted by The VDCI Team on Nov 30, 2016 12:39:07 PM

Written By Jason Williams, Texas Regional Director

We recently featured Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever Mosquito, in our Mosquito of the Month blog series. In the world of mosquito management, the species is challenging to beat – both as a topic of interest as well as a target with unique behaviors and habitats.

1_Aedes_aegypti_mosquito_eNews.jpgThe species has been the focus of much industry news this year because of its ability to transmit Zika virus, a new virus to the Western Hemisphere, that can have effects ranging from mild illness to severe birth defects. This mosquito, as well as many other mosquito species that can transmit human pathogens, has already had an enormous impact on human history. In addition to Zika virus, the Aedes aegypti is also known to carry several other mosquito-borne diseases that have potentially severe medical implications including, yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya. The increased awareness of the species, combined with 2016 Zika outbreaks and fears of an outbreak in areas where the species resides, have helped influence social behavior and have had an enormous impact on our global economy. The recent effects are most evident as communities try to determine how to properly fund Zika control efforts to protect their residents and individuals evaluate their family planning timeline and reconsider where and when they travel. With all that fear riding on those tiny wings, proper management of this challenging species and the pathogens it carries is obviously prudent.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM)

West Nile Virus in North American Bird Populations

Posted by The VDCI Team on Apr 14, 2016 10:07:05 AM
Written By Broox Boze, Program Manager in Northern Colorado
 
West_Nile_Virus_Lifecycle.pngPrior to 1999, you had probably never heard of West Nile virus, and in fact, until then it was virtually unknown in the US. However, that year 62 human cases, 25 horse cases, and countless bird diagnoses were reported in New York state. Since that time the virus quickly spread throughout the country and has been documented in all of the lower 48 states, affecting more than 40,000 people. While the effects of West Nile virus on human populations have been studied in great detail, and we have a fairly good understanding of its impact on human health, we are only recently starting to understand how it can make changes to bird populations and the larger ecosystem.
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Topics: Surveillance and Disease Monitoring, Mosquito-Borne Diseases

VDCI’s Jim Stark Addresses Zika Virus Concerns on “Let’s Talk, Jonesboro!”

Posted by The VDCI Team on Mar 16, 2016 3:01:53 PM
Written By The VDCI Team
 
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Zika virus has been a highlight in the media over the last few months. With the public concerned, many communities are paying greater attention to how they protect their residents from mosquito-borne diseases this summer.

The city of Jonesboro, Arkansas is already preparing for the 2016 mosquito season. The city’s sponsored public affairs program “Let’s Talk, Jonesboro!” featured Jim Stark, a member of the Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) team, to provide details.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Industry News

What You Should Know About Zika Virus

Posted by Daniel Markowski, Ph. D. on Feb 16, 2016 10:30:27 AM
Written By The Staff at VDCI
 
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What is Zika virus?
Zika virus (ZIKV) was first discovered in 1947 in the Zika Forest of Uganda. Shortly thereafter, it was isolated from mosquitoes in the area and then humans in 1968. ZIKV is a flavivirus similar to yellow fever, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile virus (WNV). The disease had only been detected in central Africa and throughout Southeast Asia until associated with a diesease outbreak on Yap Island, in the South Pacific in 2007. From there, it spread to South America with human cases first reported in 2014.
 
How does the virus spread?
ZIKV does not appear to require an animal reservoir, like WNV, which is perhaps a factor in the rapid spread throughout the Americas. Non-infected mosquitoes are able to acquire the virus after feeding directly on infected humans. Without a "middle man" in the endemic cycle of ZIKV, the virus can spread quite rapidly where abundant, competent vector mosquitoes and humans are present together. Today, there is active transmission of the virus throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Please refer to Figure 1 in VDCI's Zika Virus Fact Sheet.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases