Alarming new study suggests Zika virus could cause infertility in men

November 1, 2016 by  
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It seems every time we think we know all the terrifying health effects of the Zika virus , new research shows it’s even worse than previously believed. A new study from the University of Washington, published in the journal Nature , has found that mice infected with Zika experience shrunken testicles, low testosterone, and low sperm counts — and so far, no one is sure if it could have the same effect in humans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSGPi-vB768 Dr. Michael Diamond, co-author of the study, told The Telegraph , “While our study was in mice, and with the caveat that we don’t yet know whether Zika has the same effect in men, it does suggest that men might face low testosterone levels and low sperm counts after Zika infection, affecting their fertility. We don’t know for certain if the damage is irreversible, but I expect so, because the cells that hold the internal structure in place have been infected and destroyed.” The most worrying implication of this new study is the fact that many affected men may not realize the disease has left them infertile until years later. There have already been reports of men with the disease experiencing pelvic pain and bloody urine – symptoms Zika shares in common with other sexually transmitted infections. While doctors have been aware the virus can pass through the reproductive organs , this is the first time researchers have suggested that process might be damaging. Related: Experimental Zika vaccine to be tested on humans for the first time This is the first study of its kind linking Zika to male infertility. In the past, it was believed to be mostly dangerous to pregnant women , whose children were at risk of severe birth defects like microcephaly. In rare cases, the mosquito-transmitted infection could also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition which can lead to paralysis and death. Men potentially exposed to the disease are currently being told to use condoms for six months, and women in Zika-affected areas are being told to delay pregnancy if possible. + Nature Via The Telegraph Images via Wikimedia Commons and University of Washington

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South Carolina kills millions of bees while spraying for Zika mosquitos

September 2, 2016 by  
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The Zika virus is now officially spreading within the US , so it’s understandable that public health officials are doing all they can to try to stop the spread of the disease before it can gain a foothold. Unfortunately, in the case of one South Carolina county, those efforts have unintentionally resulted in the deaths of 2.5 million bees. Dorchester County generally uses ground-based sprays in order to combat mosquitos , deploying clouds of pesticide by truck in order to keep the insects at bay. However, last Sunday, officials made the decision to switch to an aerial spraying method instead. With little more than a Facebook post on Saturday and a newspaper announcement on Friday to alert locals of the change in plans, an airplane traveled across the county in the early hours of Sunday morning dispensing a mist of the pesticide Naled. Most people seem to have missed the memo from the county, and that included the beekeepers at Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply in Summerville. After the pesticide hit the farm, it wiped out a whopping 46 hives and a total of 2.5 million bees. One visitor to the farm described the scene as “ like visiting a cemetery .” There’s a simple reason why Dorchester County didn’t consider the short notice a problem: Naled is not considered a serious hazard to human beings due to how quickly the chemical dissipates in the air. However, it’s highly toxic to a variety of pollinators, including bees. Normally, if beekeepers are aware of aerial spraying nearby, they’ll cover their hives in order to protect the bees. Moreover, many counties spray for mosquitos at night, because honeybees are primarily active during the day. Related: 44% of US honeybee colonies died off last year Dorchester County officials claimed in an interview with the Washington Post that they had attempted to call all beekeepers in the county, but had made some errors. For one thing, their registry was apparently missing many local beekeepers in the area, particularly hobbyists. Other beekeepers who were on the county’s list apparently slipped through the cracks and weren’t contacted at all. Related: EPA finally admits popular insecticide threatens honeybees While it’s understandable that public officials would want to do everything possible to keep mosquito populations down, in this case, no one followed any of the best practices for protecting local pollinators. Given how colony collapse disorder has already devastated bee populations, it’s incredibly irresponsible to spray when bees are likely to be out and about. Hopefully the negative publicity and backlash from this incident will cause administrators of mosquito control programs across the US to act more carefully in the future. Via TreeHugger Images via Wikipedia and Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies

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South Carolina kills millions of bees while spraying for Zika mosquitos

Zika may have claimed its first victim in the continental US

July 13, 2016 by  
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Last Friday, health officials announced that the first death related to Zika has occurred in the continental US. An elderly patient in Utah had tested positive for Zika virus after traveling to an affected region, but because of the person’s underlying health conditions, it’s not known if the virus was the sole cause of death, or if it merely contributed. Doctors were unable to confirm the presence of the virus until after the patient had already died. At this time, the Salt Lake County Department of Health is not revealing any further information about the patient, so their identity, and even the location where they contracted Zika, are both currently unknown. While this case is alarming, it shouldn’t be a reason to panic. There are been 1,132 cases of Zika in the US diagnosed so far , but all of the affected patients are believed to have contracted the virus while traveling. So far, there have been no cases of the disease transmitted within US borders . Related: Experimental Zika vaccine to be tested on humans for the first time This death follows that of a Puerto Rican man back in February. Unlike the continental US, there is evidence that the infection has been transmitted by local mosquitos within the territory. The CDC is advising that pregnant women avoid traveling to Puerto Rico, and that all travelers take measures to avoid exposure to mosquitos while there. Via CNN Images via  Shutterstock  and Pixabay

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Researchers Develop Vaccine That is 100% Effective in Fighting Malaria

August 13, 2013 by  
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Mosquito photo from Shutterstock Malaria is a devastating disease that afflicts 216 million people around the world every year – and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) , about half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting the illness from parasite-bearing mosquitos. Now, for the first time, scientists have created a malaria vaccine that is 100% effective – and it could save thousands of lives every year. Read the rest of Researchers Develop Vaccine That is 100% Effective in Fighting Malaria Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Design for Health , developing nations , disease , global development , green design , malaria , malaria parasite , Malaria Vaccine , mosquitoes , mosquitos , sanaria , sustainable design , vaccine , World Health Organization , world’s first malaria vaccine        

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Researchers Develop Vaccine That is 100% Effective in Fighting Malaria

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