WASHINGTON — Diagnosing if a tick bite caused Lyme or another disease can be difficult but scientists are developing a new way to do it early — using a “signature” of molecules in patients’ blood.
It’s still highly experimental, but initial studies suggest the novel tool just might uncover early-stage Lyme disease more accurately than today’s standard test, researchers reported Wednesday. And it could tell the difference between two tick-borne diseases with nearly identical early symptoms.
“Think about it as looking at a fingerprint,” said microbiology professor John Belisle of Colorado State University, who helped lead the research.
Lyme disease is estimated to infect 300,000 people in the U.S. every year. Lyme-causing bacteria are spread by blacklegged ticks —also called deer ticks — primarily in the Northeast and Midwest, although their range is spreading. Lyme typically starts as a fever, fatigue and flu-like symptoms — often but not always with a hallmark bulls-eye rash — and people usually recover quickly with prompt antibiotics. But untreated, Lyme causes more serious complications, including swollen joints and arthritis, memory and concentration problems, even irregular heartbeat.
“This summer, scientists in California are releasing 20 million mosquitoes in an effort to shrink the population of mosquitoes that can carry diseases.
It sounds counterintuitive. But the plan is to release millions of sterile male mosquitoes, which will then mate with wild female mosquitoes. The eggs the females lay won’t hatch, researchers say.
The project is called Debug Fresno and it’s being undertaken by Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s holding company. It’s the company’s first field study involving sterile mosquitoes in the U.S.
Scientists say the goal is to cut the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the species responsible for spreading Zika, dengue and chikungunya. A. aegypti have been present in California’s Central Valley since 2013 and have been a problem in Fresno County.”
“Each week for 20 weeks, the company plans to release 1 million of the sterile, non-biting male mosquitoes in two neighborhoods in Fresno County. The male mosquitoes are bred and infected with Wolbachia, a bacterium that is “naturally found in at least 40 percent of all insect species,” according to The Scientist magazine, though it’s normally not found in A. aegypti.”
The EPA has provided a couple new tools and graphics to assist the public in making an informed choice when picking an insect repellent to help prevent insect vectored diseases from mosquitos and ticks.
The first is a graphic that will appear on products that will show what insects it works against and how long until reapplication is needed called the Repellency Awareness Graphic:
The second is a selection tool where you enter your criteria on ingredients, time needs and potential insect exposure and it shows the products and ingredients available:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) released the statistics for 2017 YTD:
Cumulative Zika Virus Disease Case Counts in the United States, 2015-2017
Provisional Data as of July 5, 2017
Zika virus disease became a nationally notifiable condition in 2016. Cases are reported to CDC by state, territorial, and local health departments using standard case definitions. This webpage contains cumulative provisional data reported to ArboNET for January 1, 2015 – July 5, 2017.
Infected deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) were allowed to attach to naive mice for variable lengths of time to determine the duration of tick attachment required for Powassan (POW) virus transmission to occur. Viral load in engorged larvae detaching from viremic mice and in resulting nymphs was also monitored. Ninety percent of larval ticks acquired POW virus from mice that had been intraperitoneally inoculated with 10(5) plaque-forming units (PFU). Engorged larvae contained approximately 10 PFU. Transstadial transmission efficiency was 22%, resulting in approximately 20% infection in nymphs that had fed as larvae on viremic mice. Titer increased approximately 100-fold during molting. Nymphal deer ticks efficiently transmitted POW virus to naive mice after as few as 15 minutes of attachment, suggesting that unlike Borrelia burgdorferi, Babesia microti, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, no grace period exists between tick attachment and POW virus transmission.