New Mosquito-Borne Virus Has Been Discovered

We already know how dangerous mosquitoes can be, as they are the cause of viruses such as Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya.

However, they have recently been found to also carry and transfer yet another disease, the Keystone Virus.

The Keystone Virus comes from a family of viruses known as the Bunyaviridae group; which have been associated with encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain that can be fatal).

This virus was first discovered in 1964 from samples from mosquitoes in Keystone, Florida.

Although it was discovered in Florida, it is mobile and has been found in coastal regions as far away as Texas.

White-tailed deer, raccoons, and squirrels are known carriers of this disease.

Keystone virus was thought to not infect humans and cause sickness, until recently a 16-year-old boy’s tissue samples showed he had the virus.

People who live in an area where the mosquito and virus are more prevalent have been found to have antibodies against the virus in their blood, meaning this is not the first time the Keystone virus has infected people.

However, no one else has previously reported getting sick from this virus, and that’s what has stumped professionals.

No live virus had been found in humans until now.

Aedes atlanticus mosquitoes are the transmitters of the Keystone virus and are common in Florida; similar to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that are known to spread viruses like Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya.

The young boy experienced a fever and rash, which are common in viral infections.

This virus has yet to have any distinctive features, making it difficult to diagnose.

However, professionals believe this virus is not life-threatening.

The best way to prevent this disease and all mosquito related diseases is to use an EPA registered, IR3535 insect repellent to repel potentially dangerous insect bites.

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First Cases of West Nile Virus in 2018 Spring Arrive in illinois

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), a resident of Chicago has been confirmed as the first person in Illinois this year to have contracted West Nile Virus.

The IDPH reported this recipient as a woman in her 60s, who contracted the virus and became sick in mid-May.

Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, released the following statement concerning the issue: “West Nile virus can cause serious illness in some people so it’s important that you take precautions like wearing insect repellent and getting rid of stagnant water around your home.”

Taking all preventative measures to avoid contracting this virus is necessary.

There is no current vaccine or antiviral treatment for the West Nile Virus, and people with weak immune systems, health conditions, and people older than 60 could be at a higher risk for severe illness if they contract the virus.

All these cause concern and reason for preventative measures.

In mid-June, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced its first West Nile virus cases; which is concerning compared to July 20th being the first reported case of WNV in 2017.

West Nile Virus is being reported earlier this year than last year, and in 2017 we saw 2,002 reported cases composing 121 deaths across the United States.

CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith added to her belief that the cases will increase, and precautions remain important with her statement, “West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites.”

According to data supported by the CDC, this virus was found in 47 states and the District of Columbia in 2017, with the highest number of cases and deaths reported in California, Texas and Arizona.

Illinois ranked fourth, followed by South Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi, Utah and New York respectively.

These are populous states with high potential to spread the disease.

The Culex Pipiens mosquito, also known as the house mosquito, is the main culprit spreading this disease, according to the IDPH.

One out of five people infected with this virus could experience symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, headache and nausea for a few weeks or months.

According to the IDPH, in rare severe case, the symptoms are meningitis, encephalitis, or even death.

This is a disease that can be prevented by using an EPA registered, IR3535 insect repellent to avoid bites from disease carrying insects.

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California Leads Nation in Mosquito-Borne Diseases

The CDC has reported that California leads the nation with over 9,000 cases of mosquito-transmitted diseases in the past decade; making it the number one state carrier for mosquito-borne diseases within this time.

David Heft, President of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California, commented with, “these numbers are startling as they only represent mosquito-transmitted diseases that were reported to health officials said.”

Due to how difficult it can be to determine a mosquito-borne disease, many cases will go unreported or misdiagnosed.

This report also states two invasive species of mosquitoes have been found in roughly 200 cities across California since 2011; which is in addition to the state’s native mosquito species.

California is followed by closely by New York and Texas.

This report includes both local disease transmission and those associated with travel.

To help prevent the spread of these diseases it is critical that you use an EPA registered, IR 3535 Insect Repellent product to repel harmful bites from yourself.

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Hawaii Sunscreen Ban Could Cause Rise in Skin Cancer

A bill banning certain types of sunscreen could take effect in Hawaii soon, and in doing so the risk the risk of developing skin cancer could increase, dermatologists say.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association is concerned that the risk of Hawaiians’ developing skin cancer would increase if the bill was signed.

Although this bill has been passed by Hawaii’s legislature, Governor David Ige has not yet signed this into law.

Hawaii is set to become the first state to prohibit sunscreens that contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, as some scientists suggest these contribute to coral bleaching.

These chemicals are used in over three-and-a-half thousand popular sunscreen products.

This association’s President, Suzanne Olbricht, claims the death rate from melanoma in Hawaii was already 30 percent higher than the US national average, and this bill could increase this amount.

Dr. Olbricht added, “The public’s risk of developing skin cancer could increase due to potential new restrictions in Hawaii that impact access to sunscreens with ingredients necessary for broad-spectrum protection, as well as the potential stigma around sunscreen use that could develop as a result of these restrictions.”

Dr. Olbricht also said, “Claims that sunscreen ingredients currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration are toxic to the environment or a hazard to human health have not been proven.”

If this bill is passed, Hawaiians could still choose sunscreens with ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

It is most important to choose a Broad Spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen product to save yourself from harmful rays.

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Lyme Disease Can Cause Rare Complications Affecting Your Heart

Dr. Adrian Baranchuk from the Kingston General Hospital Research warns health care professionals in Canada to be aware of a serious complication of Lyme disease.

The bacteria can start attacking the heart before doctors realize what’s occurring within the patient.

Dr. Baranchuk claims some patients can develop a rare condition called Lyme carditis.

This bacterium disturbs the electrical system of the heart.

Doctors must recognize the symptoms in the early stage, and treat the patient, even if they don’t have the results to confirm infection with Lyme.

Ticks are the main carriers of Lyme disease, and they spread bacteria that causes fever, fatigue, joint pain and other symptoms.

If the bacteria travels through the blood and reaches the heart, it can cause inflammation and disrupt the electrical system of the heart.

This condition is called “heart block,” as it slows the heartbeat.

It also causes dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

If not treated, the heart will completely shut down.

Dr. Baranchuk says he’s had many patients come with heart block symptoms in the last 18 months, and a large majority of these people are at least 50 years old and all went on outdoor activities like camping or hiking.

Dr. Baranchuk advises that misdiagnosis is common, “One of the things we noticed was each one of them had attended a different ER two to three times before anyone thought about this condition.”

Lyme carditis is difficult to diagnose because of its rarity.

Lyme disease also has vague symptoms that are very similar to the flu.

Dr. Baranchuck worries that many other potential cases are misdiagnosed or unnoticed.

“We have the suspicion that there are way more cases than are reported because doctors are failing to report it.“

Lyme bacteria can be killed with antibiotics.

Dr. Baranchuck published a paper advising doctors to treat unusual heart problems with antibiotics, even before getting the results that confirm Lyme infection.

In a circumstance like this, it is better to play it safe rather than be sorry later on.

If it becomes too late, the patients that don’t get antibiotics will need peacemakers.

Dr. Baranchuk concludes by saying, “These patients may not require pacemakers to be implanted. They can be treated with IV antibiotics for 10 to 12 days, and the electricity of the heart will recover completely forever.”

Seeing as just how harmful Lyme disease is, it is highly advised to use an EPA registered, IR 3535 Insect Repellent to repel tick bites and other bacteria transmitting bites.

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Tips to Help Avoid Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with one person dying every hour because of melanoma.

Experts suggest around half of melanoma cases are self-detected, but the other half is still concerning.

It’s still important to do self-checks and report any changes in your skin to your doctor.

Typical concerns are moles that are not symmetric, moles with border irregularities, vary in color, are larger than the size of a pencil eraser, or have changed in shape, size, or color over time.

If spotted early, it becomes much easier to treat. Dr. Aleksandra Brown, a dermatologist at River Ridge Dermatology said, “It’s a simple incision in the office with regular follow-ups, it’s really easy to do. If you wait too long, skin cancer can penetrate deep. Basal or squamous cell skin cancers, they don’t look like much, they look like a pimple that won’t heal. If left alone they can penetrate deep, going to the muscle or even the bone and there much harder to treat.”

Dr. Brown recommends anything that’s changing, bleeding, burning, or itching, as well as new moles that appear after the age of 30 are all things that need to be flagged by your doctor.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends staying in shaded areas during the day’s peak sunshine times, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Wearing protective clothing and generously applying sunscreen every day is also a good protective procedure.

Dr. Brown concludes with, “Everyone wants to know what number the sunscreen needs to be. Sunscreen number doesn’t matter, if you check the ingredients, flip to the back the bottle, look for the ingredients, it should have zinc oxide in it.”

The use of an FDA-registered, Zinc Oxide sunscreen product is highly recommended to protect yourself against harmful UV rays.

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Lyme Disease Is on the Rise Again

Barbara Thorne, an Entomologist at the University of Maryland, was born and raised in western Pennsylvania.

During her childhood she never heard of or saw any cases of Lyme Disease locally.

However, since her childhood Pennsylvania took a turn for the worst, and western Pennsylvania had become broadly infected with ticks that contained a harmful bacterium.

This bacterium the ticks carried is called Borrelia Burgdorferi, and it can cause Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease is a serious threat to your health, as if left untreated symptoms can range from fever, fatigue and a rash, to serious damage to the joints, heart and nervous system.

During a recent family reunion, Thorne was bitten by a black-legged tick unknowingly, until eight or nine days later when she noticed something peculiar.

“I noticed a roundish red rash above my waistline and it expanded each day. I was also feeling sick with exhaustion and achiness.”

Once this occurred she talked with her primary care doctor and they diagnosed her with Lyme disease.

She was prescribed a course of antibiotics and after a few months she has improved.

Barbara was fortunate, as not everyone with a Lyme infection develops a rash.

Other symptoms, such as fatigue and aches, overlap with common illnesses; making the diagnosis difficult to do.

Due to this, some people don’t realize they’re infected or misdiagnose themselves and don’t seek medical treatment.

The CDC estimates the actual amount of Lyme disease infections is 10 times higher than the number of reported cases; which is staggering.

Lyle Peterson of the CDC claims that tick-borne diseases have been “steadily going up every year as the diseases expand to new areas around the country.”

Lyme disease accounts for about 80 percent of the tick-borne illnesses in the U.S.; making it the main concern when looking at tick-borne diseases.

Lack of effective surveillance and tracking also plays a factor in this miscounting.

Peterson explains, “People just go to their local doctor to be treated. State health departments have a very difficult time keeping up with the sheer number of cases reported.”

Dr. Paul Fiedler, a clinical pathologist on Yale School of Medicine’s faculty, explains how the way Lyme Disease is diagnosed is also to blame.

“Many of the tests for Lyme disease are negative at the time that patients first visit their doctor.”

Blood tests to detect Lyme disease rely on a person’s immune response, which takes time to react to the bacteria causing this disease.

It takes time, sometimes as long as 10-30 days, for the body to mount a measurable response.

If somebody is tested before the immune system has produced enough antibodies, the result will be a false negative, “And the diagnosis could be missed.”

Thorne advised, “The ticks do tend to climb upward; like they climb up your legs. They often attach where there was a constriction of clothing, like around the waistline.”

Ticks also like to hide in armpits and behind your ears.

If you do find one attached to your body, use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick very close to the surface of the skin and pull upward with steady pressure.

If you want to avoid a search for insects that are so tiny they can be mistaken for poppy seeds, then it is highly advised to use an EPA registered, IR 3535 Insect Repellent.

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Dogs Could Cause the Next Flu Pandemic

Researchers have discovered that dogs may be “potential reservoirs” for future flu pandemics.

Live Sciences’ Rachael Rettner reported a new study that has found that influenza viruses from pigs can jump into dogs.

These are the same viruses that have previously transmitted dangerous strains of the flu to humans.

These canine flu viruses are also becoming increasingly diverse, making researchers and scientists concerned for human health.

Scientists are worried about these findings because of the way that animal viruses have spread to humans in the past.

According the Independent’s Alex Matthews King, influenza can jump between different animals, and the trouble for humans starts when flu strains exchange genes with other infectious diseases in the animal host.

Once these new strains pass to humans, who have not been previously exposed and thus have no immunity against them, the health consequences can be severe.

H1N1 (Swine Flu), which was the cause of a 2009 pandemic, originated in birds.

According to the American Society for Microbiology, an avian (bird) virus “jumped to pigs, exchanged some of its genes with previously circulating swine viruses and then jumped from pigs into humans.”

Scientists are now seeing this pattern again, except this time the viruses are jumping from pigs to dogs.

mBio published a recent study, in which researchers sequenced the genomes of 16 influenza viruses obtained from dogs in the Guangxi region of China.

These dogs are pets that had been brought to the vet after showing respiratory symptoms consistent with canine influenza.

There are two main types of canine influenzas; H3N8, which is transferred from horses to dogs, and H3N2, which is transferred from birds to dogs.

According to the CDC, these viruses have never been reported in humans.

The researchers, however, discovered that the sick dogs in China harbored two types of H1N1 swine flu viruses.

They also found three new canine influenza viruses, which resulted from the mixing of swine flu and canine flu strains.

Adolfo García-Sastre, study Co-Author and Director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, commented, “In our study, what we have found is another set of viruses that come from swine that are originally avian in origin, and now they are jumping into dogs and have been re-assorted with other viruses in dogs. They are starting to interact with each other. This is very reminiscent of what happened in swine ten years before the H1N1 pandemic.”

There is some optimism to keep throughout this whole circumstance, as currently, no human has contracted canine flu.

Scientists still can’t determine if new strains of dog flu viruses would spread among humans if a person were to contract one in the future.

This study was also relatively localized; researchers are not certain that similar viral mixing is happening in dogs around the world.

Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham who was not involved with this research, tells the Independent’s Matthews-King, “What this study provides is evidence that dogs can be naturally infected with multiple strains of viruses, most notably viruses from pigs, which are a known reservoir of influenza viruses that can infect us…This increases the potential threat of dogs acting as mixing vessels for the production of new strains of virus that might, just might, in the future spill over into humans.”

Although the study authors acknowledge in their report that “further research is greatly needed to assess the pandemic risk [of flu viruses in dogs],” they also state that it is important to start thinking about how a dog flu pandemic would be managed if one were to break out.

One way to stay safe is to protect yourself from harmful germs that can spread influenza of any kind.

An alcohol-free hand sanitizer is recommended to be used multiple times a day as well as washing your hands frequently to fight off these viruses.

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Seven-Year-Old Boy Suffers Permanent Brain Damage Due to Tick Bite

Adam Mitchell, a young boy from Inverness, Scotland, was a happy, healthy young boy last April.

Slightly over a year later, Adam has asked his mother “Will I die tonight?”

According to his mother, Amy, he has trouble processing simple information, suffers memory loss, forgetting the simplest thing, muddles his words, and becomes exhausted incredibly easily.

Amy recalls when Adam was a healthy young boy not too long ago. “He was so happy-go-lucky. He loved racing around, swimming and telling jokes.”

Now, after receiving Lyme Disease, Adam is “a totally different little boy.”

Only weeks after being bitten Adam’s character rapidly changed.

Amy claims due to the Lyme disease Adam contracted, “He suddenly started suffering terrible tantrums. He regressed back to a toddler and was having rages on the floor, shouting, screaming and kicking. It was really unlike him.”

Amy even went as far as contacting Adam’s school in concern for his behavior, to which the school acknowledged they also noticed a concerning change in Adam.

This disease changed Adam’s personality so much that he was described by Amy as being “irritated with his little brother, and that wasn’t like him at all. He was also withdrawn. Like an adult with depression.”

Not only mentally, but he also suffered physical symptoms, was lethargic, had little energy and no appetite.

Amy detailed “Adam would come home from school, crawl onto the sofa and not move. He would just lie there, totally exhausted.”

Comparing how he was before contracting Lyme disease, Amy says “This was a little boy who’d previously had loads of energy and would eat anything you put in front of him, but he had no appetite and no energy.”

Amy took Adam to his GP. In early May, but this may have been a bit late as “by this stage his temperature had risen to 40 degrees, he was flushed, sweating, the glands on his neck resembled a bunch of grapes and he had a rash on the left side of his head. I took him to the doctors and he was so weak all he could say was, ‘Mummy please take me home, so I can go to bed’.”

Near the end of May, Amy received phone call from Adam’s school warning of bad news.

Amy explained, “We rushed in and saw the left side of his face was paralyzed. He was totally miserable. We took him home and he just came in and hid under his blanket.”

Adam was rushed to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness where he was admitted and diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, which is partial facial paralysis and can be caused by an infection.

Within a week of being back home was readmitted with full facial paralysis.

Amy says “He was unable to swallow or blink, had a numb mouth, couldn’t walk because he was exhausted and needed full care. His dad David and I had to carry him everywhere.”

Amy also tells of a big discovery when she said: “In the week between being discharged and readmitted he had undergone a blood test as Bell’s palsy is recognized as a symptom of Lyme. That came back positive. He was given a lumbar puncture due to his neurological symptoms and this also came back as positive for Lyme in his brain and central nervous system.”

Now knowing for sure Adam had contracted Lyme disease, he could finally be treated.

Over the next few months his face recovered, and his energy levels started to improve; although, he still suffers exhaustion.

Amy added: “The illness has left him brain damaged which is so sad. He is back and forth to hospital and is still under investigation.”

Amy concluded with: “It’s really tough. He’s not the same little boy he once was. I want other parents to know infected ticks are everywhere. Not every tick carries Lyme disease – but assume, they do. If you spot a tick on your child don’t take the chance. Remove it. Look out for symptoms and act as soon as you spot anything wrong.”

Amy now knows that she should have taken greater precautions against harmful insects, such as ticks, and she now hopes to save other parents from going through what her family is going through.

It is highly suggested to use an EPA registered, IR3535 Insect Repellent product to repel harmful insect bites that could harm you like they did to Adam.

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Should You Tan During the Summer?

The simplest answer to this question is no; unless you take precautions.

So, what does tanning do to you?

Not only does it come from the burning of your skin, which can cause skin cancer, but tanning also allows very harmful UV rays to penetrate your skin and damage your DNA.

When Dr. Roxana Daneshjou, a dermatology resident at the Stanford University School of Medicine, was asked about tanning her response was, “There’s really no such thing as safe tanning, other than putting a fake color on your skin. Fairer-skinned people may not even tan until they burn.”

It’s also important not to make the mistake that the more burnt you are the worse, as even the skin damage at the very start of the tanning process is still very dangerous itself, according to Dr. Daneshjou.

Dr. Daneshjou also noted that people who tan for aesthetic reasons are hurting themselves in the long run.

She explains this as melanin in the skin absorbs UV rays to a point, acting as the skin’s natural sunscreen, but the process of adding an extra dose of melanin to the skin (a.k.a. tanning) is a defense mechanism that begins only after damage has been done.

UVA Rays break down the natural collagen (skin’s support structure) in the skin, which can lead to premature aging.

Without this support, structure skin wrinkles, thins and weakens, taking on a papery appearance.

Dr. Daneshjou claims no anti-aging product, even the dermatologist-recommended ones, can slow skin aging as much as simply using sunscreen in the first place.

To prevent these kinds of problems, dermatologists recommend everyone use sunscreen (broad-spectrum products specifically) year-round.

UVB exposure increases in the summer and decreases in the winter, but UVA exposure occurs year-round.

Both forms of UV light can pierce through windshields and clouds. causing damage on even cloudy days.

Anytime you plan to be outside for an extended amount of time you should apply an FDA registered, Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+ sunscreen reflect harmful UV rays.

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