Experts convene as part of Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife

With ticks posing an ongoing threat to Texas’ cattle industry and mosquitoes causing challenging human health diseases such as Zika virus, a consortium of public health experts met at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco to hear the latest research and offer potential solutions.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are leading a collaboration to solve threats from the pests as members of the Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. Continue reading

N.Y. Times reports increase in mosquito and tick-vectored infections

Farewell, carefree days of summer.

The number of people getting diseases transmitted by mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States in recent years, federal health officials reported on Tuesday. Since 2004, at least nine such diseases have been discovered or newly introduced here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not suggest that Americans drop plans for softball games or hammock snoozes. But officials emphasized that it’s increasingly important for everyone — especially children — to be protected from outdoor pests with bug repellent. Continue reading

Become a CDC Science Ambassador Fellow

Apply by January 15!  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recruiting teachers and education leaders to bring public health into classrooms across the United States and beyond. Selected fellows tour CDC’s state-of-the-art facilities and collaborate with CDC scientists to design innovative lessons, and to learn curriculum design and teaching strategies that engage students in math and science using today’s emerging public health topics (e.g. Opioid epidemic, Ebola virus, Hurricane preparedness, Zika virus, Teen violence, Obesity, and more). Continue reading

UGA mycologists partner with the CDC to tackle fungicide resistance

by Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

There are a limited number of compounds available to combat fungal infections in both plants and people. A team of University of Georgia researchers is helping to assess the risk posed by fungi developing widespread resistance to the stable of antifungal compounds used in the United States.

Michelle Momany, professor in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Department of Plant Biology, and Marin Brewer, associate professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Plant Pathology, recently received a $197,798 contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study antifungal resistance in agricultural settings. Continue reading

Texas A&M garners $10 million grant to establish center, fight vector-borne diseases

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

Texas A&M AgriLife recently received a substantial monetary boost to bolster its aggressive fight to stem the spread of vector-borne diseases for the public good, said Dr. David Ragsdale, Texas A&M University entomology department head at College Station.

Ragsdale said the $10 million five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be used to establish the Western Gulf Coast Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. Continue reading

New study suggests more deaths from West Nile virus than predicted

In HealthDay News

by Randy Dotinga, HealthDay News

A new study suggests that the death toll from the mosquito-borne West Nile virus might be much greater than thought because its effects may often kill people months or years after infection.

“We are hoping our research findings will help encourage a push to develop a vaccine that can help prevent disease and premature death,” said study co-author Dr Kristy Murray, an associate professor with National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “At this time, the only way people can prevent the disease is protecting themselves from mosquito bites, which can sometimes be difficult to do.” Continue reading

Why We Should All Support IPM in Schools as a Top Priority for our Nation

By Dr. Thomas Green, IPM Institute

From the Connection, North Central IPM Center

This fall, 50.4 million students and six million staff returned to more than 100,000 schools in 13,500 districts across the US. Unfortunately, only 15-20% of those districts have key indicators of effective IPM programs (Green and Gouge 2015). Continue reading