#3: Risk of Tick-Borne Disease May Be "Drastically Underestimated" in Western US
With around 300,000 cases reported every year, Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi
, is one of the most commonly reported vector-borne diseases in the United States. Because of this high incidence, and the difficulty that often comes with diagnosing and treating the disease, researchers are channeling their efforts into learning more about Lyme disease and the ticks that transmit it.
At the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe 2017 meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, Nathan C. Nieto, PhD from Northern Arizona University, delivered a presentation on how citizen science—a research collaboration between scientists and volunteers to answer “real-world” questions—has helped identify the distribution of ticks and tick-borne disease.
In their research, the researchers mention that although cases frequently occur in the northwest and upper mid-western regions of the United States, the disease is hyperendemic in a specific state: California. In this state, the primary vector responsible for transmitting the disease is the western-blacklegged tick, or Ixodes pacificus
Read more about the risk of tick-borne diseases in the Western United States, here
#2: Norovirus Outbreaks Take California Schools by Storm
The recent outbreaks came following norovirus outbreaks earlier this spring in Santa Monica and East Bay area schools, in which hundreds of students as well as many of their family members became ill. The recent series of outbreaks in California affected at least 13 schools in the Bay Area’s Santa Clara County, leaving hundreds of students sick and causing schools to cancel after-school programs and extracurricular activities.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urged any students experiencing norovirus symptoms to stay home while sick and to avoid contact with others for 2 days after their symptoms subside. “Norovirus outbreaks usually have an annual peak like we are seeing now. They can be particularly large and disruptive in schools, affecting both students and teachers,” said CDPH director Karen Smith, MD, MPH, in a press release. “Norovirus is very infectious and can spread rapidly wherever people congregate and share food and bathroom facilities. Fortunately, most people with norovirus infection will recover quickly, usually in 1 to 3 days.”
Learn more about the norovirus outbreaks in California, here