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US May Be Severely Underestimating Zika's Potential Impact; Costs Could Be in the Billions

Deadly carriers of disease: Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.  Paulo Whitaker | Reuters

Gulf Coast region is vulnerable to Zika attacks

Congress may not appreciate full extent of potential damage

Conservative calculations suggest full impact could exceed $2 billion

CLICK HERE - PLOS - The potential economic burden of Zika in the continental United States

cnbc.com - by Robert Ferris - May 11, 2017

The Zika virus stands to cost the United States billions of dollars, even if few people are infected.

Researchers from several American institutions have calculated that the "virus from Hell" could result in total costs ranging from $183 million to over $1.2 billion, depending on infection rates in several at-risk states in the South.

The researchers warn that infection rates could engender costs that exceed the amounts of money the U.S. government may give for prevention and treatment, if the recent debates over funding are any indication.

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Zika Testing Recommendations Changed for Pregnant Women

           

A nurse practitioner gives a pregnant woman insecticide and information about Zika at a Miami clinic last summer.  LYNNE SLADKY/AP

CLICK HERE - CDC - Health Alert Network (HAN) - Prolonged IgM Antibody Response in People Infected with Zika Virus: Implications for Interpreting Serologic Testing Results for Pregnant Women

statnews.com - by Helen Branswell - May 5, 2017

 . . . Testing for Zika infection is becoming more difficult, making it harder for doctors to advise pregnant women about the chances their child might have a Zika-related birth defect, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in a health advisory issued Friday.

The CDC is now suggesting that women thinking of getting pregnant, and who may be exposed to the Zika virus through travel or because of where they live, should consider having their blood tested for Zika antibodies before they get pregnant. Having a baseline reading would help to interpret Zika tests done during a later pregnancy.

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Here’s the Ideal Temp for Mosquito-Borne Diseases

           

(Credit: budak/Flickr)

CLICK HERE - PLOS - Detecting the impact of temperature on transmission of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya using mechanistic models

futurity.org - Stanford University - May 5, 2017

New research shows how rising temperatures might influence mosquito behavior and disease risk around the world. The researchers also calibrated their model with field data on human infections of mosquito-borne diseases.

Scientists have known for some time that climate change has caused the extension of mosquito season beyond the summer months, but the ways in which climate change affects the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika has remained somewhat mysterious . . .

 . . . The group found that mosquito traits favorable to spreading disease peaked when temperatures reached 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), but were lower when temperatures were cooler or warmer.

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Bill Gates Won’t Save You From The Next Ebola

 Illustration of screens showing patients in a ward for Ebola patients. JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

Image: Illustration of screens showing patients in a ward for Ebola patients. JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

huffingtonpost.com - April 30th 2017 - Robert Fortner, Alex Park

In late August 2014, Tom Frieden, then director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveled to West Africa to assess the raging Ebola crisis.

In the five months before Frieden’s visit, Ebola had spread from a village in Guinea, across borders and into cities in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Médecins Sans Frontières, the first international responder on the scene, had run out of staff to treat the rising numbers of sick people and had deemed the outbreak “out of control” back in June.

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Florida Officials: No Zika Found in Mosquito Samples So Far

 

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - April 27, 2017

The department continues to support local programs by providing mosquito testing at the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. To date, nearly 90,000 individual mosquitoes, represented by more than 6,500 pools of mosquitoes, have been tested for the presence of the Zika virus. Of those collected in 2017, none has yielded positive results.

CLICK HERE - Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Hosts Statewide Zika Workshops

CLICK HERE - Associated Press - Florida officials: No Zika found in mosquito samples so far

 

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High Level of Heart Defects Found in Zika-Affected Babies

kontiki / iStock

CLICK HERE - PLOS - Echocardiographic findings in infants with presumed congenital Zika syndrome: Retrospective case series study

cidrap.umn.edu - by Lisa Schnirring - April 21, 2017

Echocardiography evaluation of a group of Brazilian babies with Zika-related birth defects found three times the expected rate of congenital heart disease (CHD), but only one infant had symptoms and most had minor septal defects that weren't hemodynamically significant.

The study is the first time CHD has been assessed in infants with congenital Zika infections, and so far there haven't been any reports of autopsy findings suggesting a connection, but other flaviviruses such as dengue have been associated with myocarditis and pericarditis.

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Why the Menace of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse

Aedes aegypti. Credit Andrew Bettles for The New York Times

Climate change is altering the environment in ways that increase the potential for viruses like Zika.

nytimes.com - by Maryn McKenna - April 20, 2017

 . . . Climate change is turning abnormal weather into a common occurrence: Last year was the warmest year on record, the third in a row, and there were more heat waves, freezes and storms in the United States that caused $1 billion or more in damage just in 2016 than in the years 1980 to 1984 combined. Anything that improves conditions for mosquitoes tips the scales for the diseases they carry as well: the West Nile virus that flattened Dallas, the dengue that returned to Florida in 2009 after 63 years and the newest arrival, Zika, which gained a toehold in the United States last year and is expected to surge this summer . . .

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‘They’re Just Hiding’: Experts Say Puerto Rico May Be Underreporting Zika-Affected Births

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

A mother caresses her 2-month-old son, who has been diagnosed with microcephaly.  CARLOS GIUSTI/AP

statnews.com - by Helen Branswell - April 8, 2017

The number of babies born in Puerto Rico with microcephaly and other birth defects caused by the Zika virus appears to be unexpectedly low — so low that experts are beginning to question whether the actual count is being significantly underreported by authorities on the island.

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Thousands Of Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes Released To Fight Zika & Other Viruses

           

miami.cbslocal.com - April 18, 2017

On Tuesday, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District released 20,000 male mosquitoes infected by the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate with naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria.

The offspring produced when the lab-bred mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes won’t survive to adulthood. Male mosquitoes don’t bite, and Wolbachia is not harmful to humans.

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There’s Another Mosquito Carrying Zika Virus

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

CLICK HERE - Journal of Medical Entomology - Evidence of Zika Virus RNA Fragments in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) Field-Collected Eggs From Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil

Zika Found in Common Backyard Asian Tiger Mosquito

nbcnews.com - by Maggie Fox - April 14, 2017

A common backyard mosquito can be infected with the Zika virus and it may pass the virus along in its eggs, researchers reported Friday.

The findings add to worries that the Asian tiger mosquito, scientifically known as Aedes albopictus, could help spread the virus as mosquito season hits temperate regions of the world.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, doesn't prove that tiger mosquitoes can spread Zika, which causes severe birth defects. But it adds to evidence that they might.

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