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The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus

As mosquitoes develop resistance to insecticides used to control their populations, scientists have been developing new tools. The latest idea: infecting mosquitoes with a fungus genetically engineered to produce arachnid toxins. After infecting the mosquitoes with fungal spores, the bugs showed increase mortality within 2.5 days after exposure and fed less in the days before their death, compared to their healthy counterparts. Continue reading The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus

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Mosquitos: Friend or Foe? Possible use of mosquitos in modern epidemiology

With the warm weather of summer quickly approaching, a common enemy known as the mosquito will soon make a reappearance. Mosquitoes are more than just an irritation. In many areas of the world, mosquitoes are also carriers of infectious diseases such as malaria and the Zika virus. While the mosquito is a  major problem to many, scientists at Microsoft Research are attempting to exploit some … Continue reading Mosquitos: Friend or Foe? Possible use of mosquitos in modern epidemiology

zika-virus

Sexual Transmission of Zika Possible from Men to Women

The Zika virus has lately been a global focus due to its connection to deformities in newborns. A recent report by the CDC has bolstered the suspicion that Zika is sexually transmittable from men to women, which was previously only supported by a handful of reports, and viral tests of an infected man’s semen. The CDC is advising that “people returning from Zika-infected areas use condoms or abstain from sex for the duration of their partner’s pregnancy.” Continue reading Sexual Transmission of Zika Possible from Men to Women

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Discovery of New Bacterium Further Muddles Lyme Disease Diagnosis

  The already thorny process of diagnosing Lyme disease may have just gotten even hazier.  Lyme is a tick-borne illness that afflicts hundreds of thousands of people every year with a rash of debilitating symptoms.  Three species of bacteria are known to cause the disease in Europe, but only one (Borrelia burgdorferi) lives in North America.  However, after studying over 100,000 samples from American patients … Continue reading Discovery of New Bacterium Further Muddles Lyme Disease Diagnosis

Figure 1: Global Prevalence of Guinea Worm Disease, 1986-2012. Image Credit: CDC-DPDx

The Road to Guinea Worm Eradication: Running the Final Mile

by Rebecca Mandt We usually think of extinction of a species as a bad thing. But what if that species is directly causing human suffering or death on a global scale? The ultimate goal of disease eradication efforts is to target an infectious disease by completely removing the pathogen from the human population, thereby reducing the number of cases to zero worldwide, generally leading to … Continue reading The Road to Guinea Worm Eradication: Running the Final Mile

The anti-retroviral drug Truvada; Author- Jeffrey Beall’s own work, from Wikimedia Commons

A Successful Pill for Preventing HIV?

A recent study has delighted many by claims that taking the pill Truvada prevents HIV infection. The study is one of the first to test the pill in a real-world setting involving 600 individuals at risk of getting HIV in San Francisco, CA. Although promising, the applicability of the pill to other settings still warrants further analyses. The study is convincing for its testing on … Continue reading A Successful Pill for Preventing HIV?

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Hold the Phone: Technology’s Role in Combating Infectious Disease

by Katherine Wu figures by Kristen Seim We live in an increasingly wired world: with apps for every purpose imaginable, it has become easier and easier to share information and build global communities. In the wake of the recent Ebola pandemic, we have harnessed this technology to combat infectious disease, employing technological tools for diagnosis (as in the case of the parasitic disease loiasis) and … Continue reading Hold the Phone: Technology’s Role in Combating Infectious Disease