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Tag Archive for: protection against mosquitoes

India unprepared for dengue, Chikungunya finds analysis.

India unprepared for dengue, Chikungunya finds analysis.

India and other countries in South Asia are unprepared to address emerging vector-borne viral infections such as dengue and chikungunya, an analysis released by Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) on Wednesday revealed.

After examining vulnerability to emerging and growing infectious disease threats and the capacity to respond to outbreaks, the analysis finds the level of preparedness is inadequate to protect public health across the region.

The main burden of vector-borne viral infections in the South Asia region are dengue and chikungunya, while zika virus is also likely to emerge. Of the 390 million dengue infections that are estimated to occur annually worldwide, over 70 per cent occur in South Asia, the analysis noted. The report cites that in India, almost 95 per cent of adults by the age 40 have been infected with dengue virus, while 41 per cent have been infected with chikungunya.

At the heels of the report, JP Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, held a high level meeting to review the preparedness of the Ministry and central government hospitals for prevention and control of dengue and chikungunya in the country.

South Asia’s battles against viral diseases
Countries in South Asia region — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, is home to a significant proportion of the global burden of infectious disease. Of the 390 million dengue infections that occur annually worldwide, over 70 per cent occur in South Asia

Longstanding battles
Tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, dengue, chikungunya

Emerging infectious diseases
Zika, ebola, MERS-CoV, avian influenza, neuroleptospirosis and leptospirosis, anthrax.

Source:DNA

India begins outdoor caged trials of genetically modified mosquitoes

India begins outdoor caged trials of genetically modified mosquitoes

India launched a project aimed at suppressing the local Aedes aegypti mosquito population by introducing genetically modified mosquitoes, according to two companies involved in the plan.

A similar project was approved last year in Florida on the heels of the Zika virus outbreak, which has been driven primarily by A. aegypti mosquitoes. Both projects involve so-called self-limiting male mosquitoes — brand name Friendly (Oxitec) — that are genetically modified to produce offspring that do not survive to maturity.

Five open field trials of the mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands each led to a more than 90% reduction of the wild A. aegypti populations, according to a news release from the British company Oxitec and Gangabishan Bhikulal Investment and Trading Limited (GBIT), an Indian company. Open field trials are also planned for India, pending regulatory approval, the companies said.

For now, the India project was launched on Jan. 23 with outdoor caged trials in Dawalwadi. In these trials, the genetically modified mosquitoes are released into cages to mate with wild-type A. aegypti mosquitoes, Matthew Warren, spokesman for Oxitec, explained to Infectious Disease News. The results are then compared with cages where the mosquitoes were not released, Warren said.

In November, officials in Florida authorized a plan to use Oxitec’s modified mosquitoes in a field trial in Monroe County. The decision by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) came after residents, apparently reluctant about the method at first, voted to approve the idea.

An earlier survey showed that residents did not support the use of genetically modified mosquitoes as insect control, but the survey was conducted before the Zika outbreak became headline news and prior to an FDA report that said the mosquitoes would have no significant impact on human health, animal health or the environment.

Oxitec is currently deploying the mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands and Piracicaba, Brazil, but Warren said the trial in the Florida Keys is not yet underway.

“We are working with the FKMCD to identify a new site for the trial, and are gathering and submitting additional information to the FDA,” Warren said. “At this stage I don’t have a timeline, but we’re working to ensure that it is held in the most rigorous way possible and launched as promptly as the regulatory process will allow.”

While India is not among the 76 countries that have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2007, WHO has said that any country with a population of Aedes mosquitoes is at risk for transmission.

The primary aim of the project in India seems to be decreasing cases of dengue and chikungunya, which also can be spread by A. aegypti mosquitoes. According to estimates published in 2014, dengue infects an average of 5.8 million people each year in India at a cost of more than $1.1 billion. The country also has seen outbreaks of chikungunya, including some last year, according to the news release.

“Increasing cases of dengue and chikungunya have been reported in recent years,” Shirish Barwale, member of the board of directors at GBIT, said in the release. “Presently available methods have not been effective against these public health hazards. We are very optimistic that this pioneering technology from Oxitec will help us to control the mosquito responsible for spreading these diseases.” – by Gerard Gallagher

Source: Healio

What a mosquito’s immune system can tell us about fighting malaria

What a mosquito’s immune system can tell us about fighting malaria

Immune cells in a malaria-transmitting mosquito sense the invading parasites and deploy an army of tiny messengers in response. These couriers help turn on a mosquito’s defenses, killing off the parasites, a new study suggests.

This more detailed understanding of the mosquito immune system, published January 20 in Science Immunology, might help scientists design new ways to combat malaria, which infects more than 200 million people per year.

“If we understand how the mosquito reduces the parasite to begin with, we hope we can boost these mechanisms to completely eliminate these parasites [in mosquitoes],” says Kristin Michel, an insect immunologist at Kansas State University in Manhattan who wasn’t part of the study.

Different parasites in the Plasmodium genus cause malaria. The disease is spread by certain Anopheles mosquitoes. These mosquitoes have natural defenses against Plasmodium that keep them from being overrun with the parasites when feeding on an infected person’s blood. But malaria transmission still occurs, because some Plasmodium species are particularly skilled at evading mosquito immune systems.

Previous research has shown that hemocytes, the insect equivalent of white blood cells, help mosquitoes fight off pathogens. Carolina Barillas-Mury and her colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Rockville, Md., injected Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes — a primary spreader of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa — with a dye that stained their hemocytes. Those mosquitoes snacked on mice infected with a rodent version of malaria. Then the scientists watched the dyed hemocytes’ response.
Parasite’s problem

Sensing the presence of a malaria-causing parasite, mosquito immune cells (teal) kill themselves and release microvesicles (red) that activate cellular machinery that fights off the parasites, a new study finds.

Hemocytes that detected certain chemical fingerprints left by the parasites began to self-destruct. These dying hemocytes released plumes of tiny vesicles that then activated the mosquito’s defenses against the parasite, the researchers found. The vesicles triggered a protein called TEP1 to take down the parasite. Scientists already knew that TEP1 is an important part of mosquitoes’ immune response against Plasmodium parasites, but it wasn’t clear how the protein was called into action. Without the vesicles, TEP1 didn’t target the parasites.

Barillas-Mury and colleagues don’t know exactly what the microvesicles contain. But she suspects they carry messenger molecules that jump-start TEP1 and other proteins involved in this immune response.

This type of response “is a very powerful defense system because it can make holes in the parasite and kill it,” says Barillas-Mury. “You want it to be active, but in the right place and at the right time.” Plasmodium parasites set up shop in different places in the mosquito gut depending on their life stage. Microvesicles, much smaller than the hemocytes, can more easily move through different gut compartments to trigger a localized immune response right where the parasite is.

The researchers eventually hope to use their understanding of the mosquito immune response to develop new ways to stop malaria. They’re interested in creating a vaccine that prevents mosquitoes that bite an infected person from passing along the parasite. Such a vaccine could be used in combination with others under development that would prevent people infected with the parasite from becoming sick, Barillas-Mury says.

Source: Sciencenews.org

Dengue cases in Mumbai highest in 6 years

Dengue cases in Mumbai highest in 6 years

MUMBAI: The number of dengue cases recorded in the city this year has been the highest in the last six years. However, the good news is that fatalities have declined significantly over the last three years.

According to figures recently released by the state, Mumbai has recorded 1,088 cases so far this year and four confirmed deaths. The last time dengue cases had crossed the 1,000mark was in 2012. Within the state too, the highest number of cases were reported from the city. Dengue infected 6,376 people and claimed 26 lives in Maharashtra between January 1 and November 21this year. Doctors say the increase in incidence is a reason for concern as it can lead to longer hospital stays, lost manhours and bigger hospital expenses. “Dengue causes mortality in merely 1%-3% of cases. It is the morbidity that needs to be looked into closely,” said infectious disease consultant Dr Om Srivastava. He said that patients this ye ar had complained of pro blems in resuming their routine lives long after they had recovered from the mosquitoborne illness.

A senior physician from KEM Hospital in Parel too added that patients came to the hospital three months after recovering from the disease with complaints of lethargy . “In a few cases, the symptoms had persisted from six weeks to three months,” the doctor said. Srivastava added that many patients fail to follow the post-recovery regimen like drinking water and taking adequate rest which prolong their suffering.

Source: Times Of India

Dengue Claimed 179 Lives, no Death Due to Chikungunya: Government

Dengue Claimed 179 Lives, no Death Due to Chikungunya: Government

Dengue has claimed 179 lives across the country this year while no death has been reported due to chikungunya, though it affected 21,000 people, the Rajya Sabha was told today.

“During 2016 (till November 13), a total number of 179 deaths due to dengue and no death due to chikungunya has been reported in the country.

“The number of positive cases for dengue and chikungunya in the country during 2016 (till November 13) are 90,277 and 21,094 respectively,” Health Minister J P Nadda said in a written reply.

He said the reason behind the steep increase in the number of cases are– water storage practices, poor solid waste management, construction activities, large migratory population, inadequate vector management and lack of protective immunity in the affected population.

Dengue claimed 33 lives in Uttar Pradesh, 28 in West Bengal and 22 in Maharashtra, he said. Replying to another question on the same issue, Minister State for Health Faggan Singh Kulaste said the government has taken measures for prevention and control of dengue and chikungunya in the country, including in Delhi.

He said technical guidelines for prevention and control, clinical management and vector control have been issued to states and UTs while periodic reviews have taken place.

Since January, 2016, 22 review meetings at the levels of Minister, secretary and others were held.

He said since January 12 advisories have been issued at the levels of Secretary (H&FW) and Additional Secretary while states were requested to declare dengue as notifiable disease.

“States were requested to curtail out of pocket expenditure by fixing the rate for testing at Rs 600,” he said.

He said dengue and chikungunya diagnosis is provided through 542 Sentinel Surveillance Hospitals (SSHs) and 15 Apex Referral laboratories (ARLs) identified across the country.

“First version draft of ‘Strategy and Plan of action for Effective Community Participation for Prevention and Control of Dengue’ has been uploaded. A user-friendly App ‘India Fights Dengue’ has been launched while National Dengue Day has been observed on May 16, 2016 throughout the country,” he said.

Source : Smartcooky

School children work on project to fight dengue

School children work on project to fight dengue

BERHAMPUR: At a time when the state is grappling with dengue, students of MM High School, Girishola here have prepared a project to fight the disease.

The project has suggested plantation of marigold, lemon grass and podina (meant) sapling on open spaces of the villages and houses to drive away the mosquito species like aedes and anopheles responsible for diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya.

The project ‘Killer dengue in Girishola – a case study, remedy and solution’ has been prepared by five students of Class VIII with active guidance of the science teacher Raghunath Ghadei. It has been selected for National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) to be held at Vidya Pratishthan’s Institute of Information Technology (VIIT), Baramati, in Maharashtra from December 27 to 31.

The project also suggested development of culture centres of dragonfly and Gambusia fish to prevent increase of mosquito population. “While we have experimented by planting the marigold herbs on the premises of our school, we came to know from the elder persons about the role of dragonfly to kill the small mosquitoes during the preparation of the project,” said P Veketesh, a student involved in the project.

The fragrance of the herbs of marigold, lemon grass and meant can prevent entry of mosquitoes to a particular area, said the guide of the project. Other students, who participated in the preparation of the project, are Rahul Moharana, Balaram Sahu, Asish Moharana and Shankar Pradhan while science supervisor Gopal Krushna Panda was actively involved in the experiments.

While a single dragonfly can eat over 30 mosquitoes a day, its larva also gulps the larva of mosquito, said Ghadei. Similarly the Gambusia fish also eats the larva of mosquito. The students of the high school mooted the project after 200 people were affected by dengue killing six persons in Girishola in July and August.

The team members toured the village and interacted with several victims to know their garbage disposal method. The village along Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border has no space for garbage disposal as the NH-16 passes in one side while railway track is on the other side. In other two sides, there are state highways. The school students along with villagers took 15 days to clean the garbage.

Times of India

Cities account for 60% of state’s dengue casualties this year

Cities account for 60% of state’s dengue casualties this year

MUMBAI: Around 60% of dengue deaths in the state this year have been reported from urban areas. An analysis of the confirmed cases by the state’s health department also revealed that nearly two-thirds of the positive cases were from the urban areas.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad have reported nearly 70% of the 5,391 dengue cases this year. The state’s figures also show a 63% jump in dengue cases between January and October this year when compared with the corresponding period last year. Out of the 22 deaths this year, 13 have been reported from the urban areas.

Mumbai alone has reported nearly 1,000 cases and four confirmed cases. However, more than 10,000 people have been hospitalised during monsoon for suspected dengue or similar illnesses. Speaking to TOI, head of the directorate of health services Dr Satish Pawar said, “It is particularly worrying because only 40% of our population resides in the urban areas. But, we have found out that construction activities are not the sole reason for the growing incidence of dengue. In certain cases where dengue had become complicated, doctors have used aggressive treatment where it was not required. Some of these hospitals were in big cities”.

Pawar added that the state has drawn up uniform treatment protocols and even trained doctors but the indiscriminate use of platelets continues to be an issue. The BMC had, in an analysis last year, found out that the use of platelets rose by 14-15% during months when dengue peaked in the city. This year, however, the situation was much better. A civic official said the use of platelets during dengue was closely monitored. “This year, there was no unusual demand for platelets,” the official said.

Times of India

Dengue cases grew by 63% in Maharashtra this year

Dengue cases grew by 63% in Maharashtra this year

The number of dengue cases in Maharashtra rose 63% between January and October this year compared to the same period last year. The number of deaths have remained the same, with 22 deaths in the comparative periods for 2015 and 2016.

Dengue is transmitted by the aedes aegypti-species of mosquito and has become a major public concern in the past two months, doctors said. A total of 5,653 cases were reported by the state epidemiology department this year as compared to 3,461 cases last year, with cases coming from cities like Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Pune and Nashik, said Dr Kanchan Jagtap , joint director of health services of the state.

“Every year, there is an increase in the number of dengue cases post monsoon. Moreover, the increase in construction sites have created an ideal environment for mosquito breeding,” she said.

Although the number of dengue cases has gone up, not everyone who is infected with the virus develops complications, said doctors. “Say out of 100 people infected with dengue, only 10 show complications such as a drop in blood pressure, severe drop in n platelet counts, ”said Dr Pradeep Shah, physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

“Most of the patients who show complications are people who have had dengue in the past, young children, elderly and pregnant women. These are the vulnerable groups,” he said.

Doctors also said state data could be giving an incomplete picture of the dengue situation, because only those cases where the patient has tested positive for dengue infection using the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) method of testing are counted as confirmed. “We treat so many patients who have all symptoms of dengue infection, but their blood test reports for ELISA test are negative. These numbers are not accounted for in the state’s data,” said Dr Altaf Patel, director of medicine Jaslok Hospital.

October 2016

Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation

Number of cases 63 number of deaths 5

Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation

Number of cases 33 number of deaths 2

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

Number of cases 941 number of deaths 2

Source : Hindustantimes.com

Florida’s Fight Over GM Mosquitoes Going to a Vote

Florida’s Fight Over GM Mosquitoes Going to a Vote

Scientists say there is strong evidence that the Zika virus can be controlled by releasing genetically modified male mosquitoes into the wild so they can mate with the disease-spreading females to produce sterile offspring.

But plans for a trial run in Key Haven, Fla., an unincorporated community just east of Key West, have been so controversial that officials decided to put it to a public vote.

Tuesday’s referendum is non-binding, but will weigh heavily on whether the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District proceeds with the test, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August.

The genetically modified mosquitoes have been tested in Brazil, Panama and the Caymen Islands, where they reduced the wild population of Zika-bearing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by more than 90 percent, according to British biotechnology company Oxitec, which developed the engineered strain of mosquitoes.

“In comparison, current technologies such as insecticides are only 30-to 50 percent effective at best,” Oxitec spokesman Matthew Warren told Seeker.

In addition to the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects and other disorders, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are responsible for the spread of dengue and chikungunya. It’s the female mosquitoes that do the biting, spreading disease in their wake.

Oxitec’s solution is to engineer a gene in the males, which are then released into the wild so they can mate with the females. Any offspring that result from the union will carry an engineered “kill switch” and die before maturing enough to mate or bite, drastically reducing the population.

“We have now released more than 180 million of our male self-limiting mosquitoes worldwide. And there have been no reports of adverse impacts in any of these releases,” Warren said.

The trial in the Florida Keys would be the first in the United States.

“The genetically modified mosquitoes are incredibly promising. They’ve been incredibly successful in many of the cases where they’ve been tested for Zika so far. I think that they have tremendous promise in the United States, but there are obviously a lot of fears,” ecologist Colin Carlson, with the University of California, Berkeley, told Seeker.

Among those opposed to the Florida trial is a group of physicians, led by Dr. John Norris, who have questions about whether Oxitec’s mosquitoes, which are dependent on the antibiotic tetracycline to survive, will end up spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“We do not know what to expect when millions of mosquitoes are released on small neighborhoods possibly covered in resistant germs,” the doctors wrote in a petition to the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board.

If the board decides to proceed with the trial, the doctors want to conduct a study to see if residents have altered bacterial resistance patterns.

Whether the referendum passes or not, one thing is certain: the spread of the Zika virus in South Florida is growing.

“We’re still trying to figure out how severe it’s going to be,” Carlson said. “From a public health perspective, it’s not a great situation.”

Pending approval by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, Oxitec’s test could begin next year.

Seeker.com

Dengue threat spirals out of hand as Kolkata’s platelet count drops

Dengue threat spirals out of hand as Kolkata’s platelet count drops

Kolkata: An acute platelet crisis has hit the city in the midst of a fresh dengue spurt, holding up treatment of patients in serious conditions. With blood donation camps dwindling in the festive period, supply of platelets has almost dried up. Consequently, all major blood banks are facing a crisis that isn’t going to ease till December.

Bhoruka Blood Bank, one of the prominent private banks in Kolkata, has been out of stock since Sunday. It isn’t expecting fresh supplies till next Sunday when donation camps are due. Life Care Bank, too, has no platelet but is helping dengue patients in case the latter’s kin donates blood. “We are getting the donated blood processed and giving out the platelet content. But the process is expensive and takes several hours,” said a spokesperson for the bank. While a unit of platelet sells for Rs 500, the processing charge could be as high as Rs 8000-10000.

At Ashok Blood Bank, stocks have been getting exhausted within hours of donation camps. They, too, have the facility to extract platelets from donated blood which takes around five hours. “For several weeks now, we have not been able to hold stocks for more than six hours,” said a representative.

Demand for platelets has gone up almost four times across city hospitals, forcing them to ration use. But planned camps and an organized system could help avert crises, felt Rupali Basu, CEO of Apollo Gleneagles Hospital where 17 have succumbed to dengue since July. “We insist on sticking to an exchange system for patients who need transfusion. Patients’ kin must donate blood. This has ensured that we never run out of stock,” said Basu. She added that blood banks needed to be more pro-active in organizing camps. “They can’t afford to rely on clubs and organizations alone. During festive periods, a crisis is invariably going to strike since camps will be fewer. A system needs to be evolved to tide over shortages like this,” she said.

At least two city hospitals said they were rationing platelet use, even though it may put patients’ lives to risk. Lion’s Blood Bank has been flooded with calls ever since it tied up with a club that will hold a camp on Thursday. “Mid-week supplies have been dwindling sharply, leaving patients’ families helpless. We have been able to organize the camp with a lot of difficulty. But the platelets are going to run out by Friday,” said an official.

TheTimesOfIndia

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