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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

It’s official: China has eliminated malaria

#China — a country that had 30 million cases of #malaria per year in the 1940s — is officially free of the disease. Among the innovations that helped to achieve the milestone was pharmaceutical chemist Tu Youyou’s Nobel-winning work on the malaria treatment #artemisinin. The World Health Organization (WHO) today is certifying China as free of malaria, after a decadeslong effort drove an estimated annual toll of 30 million cases in the 1940s, including 300,000 deaths, to zero

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

Researchers create new CRISPR tools to help contain mosquito disease transmission

#CRISPR #mosquitoes #WestNile Since the onset of the CRISPR genetic editing revolution, scientists have been working to leverage the technology in the development of gene drives that target pathogen-spreading mosquitoes such as Anopheles and Aedes species, which spread malaria, dengue and other life-threatening diseases. Much less genetic engineering has been devoted to Culex genus mosquitoes, which spread devastating afflictions stemming from West Nile virus—the leading caus

Malaria parasites and circadian rhythm: New insights into an old puzzle

#malaria #mosquitoes #Plasmodium The hallmark of malaria, an infectious disease caused by parasites from the Plasmodium genus, is cyclic fever. Fevers and chills generally occur within 48 h (h) for Plasmodium falciparum (Fig. 1A) and Plasmodium vivax and every 72 h for Plasmodium malariae. This periodic fever has been known for almost a century to be a consequence of synchronous maturation of the parasites inside the host erythrocytes followed by the rupture of infected cells

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

An overview of mosquito vectors of Zika virus

The mosquito-borne arbovirus #Zika virus (ZIKV, Flavivirus, Flaviviridae), has caused an outbreak impressive by its magnitude and rapid spread. First detected in Uganda in Africa in 1947, from where it spread to Asia in the 1960s, it emerged in 2007 on the Yap Island in Micronesia and hit most islands in the Pacific region in 2013. Subsequently, #ZIKV was detected in the Caribbean, and Central and South America in 2015, and reached North America in 2016. Although ZIKV infecti

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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