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Welcome to Mostly Microbes and Infectious Diseases. David Ojcius posts newspaper and journal articles in the broad field of microbiology.

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Mosquitoes sniff out hosts infected with certain viruses, researchers find

Infections by the viruses that cause #Zika and #Dengue fever alter how their hosts smell, making them more likely to be bitten by #mosquitoes. The study also identified a potential way to block the scent, using the #acne medication, isotretinoin which is also known as #Accutane. The smell is linked to high levels of #acetophenone Smell can be a powerful motivator. The fragrance of freshly baked cookies may compel a person to come to the kitchen, while a musky perfume might

Indonesia dengue fever study offers hope in disease battle

#Wolbachia #dengue #mosquitoes #Indonesia Dengue fever infections dropped dramatically in an Indonesian study where a bacteria was introduced into disease-carrying mosquitoes, offering hope in the battle against an illness that sickens millions annually around the world. Results of the three-year study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, found that infecting dengue-carrying mosquitoes with a harmless bacteria called Wolbachia led to a 77 percent drop

First Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Released in US Are Hatching Now

#Zika #dengue #chikungunya #yellowfever #climatechange As Aedes aegypti #mosquitoes increase their range because of warming #climate, genetic manipulation of the disease-carrying species could gain wider appeal This week, mosquito eggs placed in the Florida Keys are expected to hatch tens of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes, a result of the first U.S. release of such insects in the wild. A biotechnology firm called Oxitec delivered the eggs in late April as part o

Genetic admixture in the South Pacific: From Denisovans to the human immune response

#immunology #evolution Scientists have looked at understudied human populations from the South Pacific, which are severely affected by a variety of diseases, including vector-borne infectious diseases such as #Zika virus, #dengue, and #chikungunya, and metabolic diseases such as #obesity and #diabetes. Using genome sequencing of 320 individuals, the scientists have investigated how human populations have biologically adapted to the environments of the Pacific islands and how

Understanding how mosquitoes smell us could save lives.

Of the more than 3,000 species of #mosquitoes in the world, just a small number have evolved to specialize in sucking human blood. How human-biting mosquitoes track us down so effectively isn't currently known, but it matters, since they don't just make us itch. They also carry dangerous diseases such as #Zika, #dengue, West Nile virus and #malaria that can be deadly. In fact, stopping these pesky insects in their tracks could save up to half a million lives lost to those dis

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