News about the Zika virus dominated our top articles for the month of September 2017. Did you read them all?
A relatively rare mosquito-borne virus has hit a couple of US states this summer, and it has health officials urging individuals to take the proper precautions against mosquito bites. The disease in question? Jamestown Canyon virus (JVS).
Spread to individuals through the bite of an infected mosquito, JVS is an orthobunyavirus in the California serogroup known to be capable of causing “acute febrile illness, meningitis, or meningoencephalitis.” A recent analysis confirmed 31 cases of JVS in the United States between 2000 and 2013, spanning 13 states. The geographic range of JVS remains unclear; cases occurred in western, Midwestern, northeastern, and southern states from 2000 to 2013. JVS infections tend to occur from spring to early fall, with about half of reported cases resulting in hospitalization. The good news is, no associated deaths have been reported to date.
On July 13, 2017, the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention, an Office of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed a case of the virus in an adult from Kennebec County. The infected individual reportedly had symptom onset in early June 2017. Although the case required hospitalization, the individual has since returned home to recover.
Learn more about this rare mosquito-borne disease, here.
Zika may not survive in semen as long as researchers previously thought. Although previous reports indicated that the virus may persist in semen for up to 188 days, a new study, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is disputing that finding, instead providing evidence that the Zika virus only lasts in semen for about a month.
In the new study, researchers from the Military Center for Epidemiology and Public Health in Marseille, France looked at semen and blood samples from 12 men in French Guiana who were infected with the Zika virus. The results of the study indicated that “one man excreted Zika virus in his semen for at least 3 days. And, 7 had Zika-laced semen for at least a month. The maximum duration of detectable Zika in semen in the study was 45 days,” according to a press release. In addition, the researchers discovered that the virus is able to replicate in the testicles and semen-producing glands. This was determined because the viral load detected in the men’s blood was significantly different than in their semen.
Study author Franck de Laval, MD, and his colleagues wrote that “these data suggest that not all men who are symptomatically infected with Zika virus will have Zika virus RNA detectable in semen. [However,] more data are needed to better inform public health recommendations.”
Continue reading about this new Zika discovery, here.
Every day, researchers from around the globe are making advancements when it comes to better understanding Zika, a virus that poses a great threat to pregnant mothers and their unborn children. In this update, we’ve compiled some of the latest news associated with the mosquito-borne virus that has been revealed this past week.
#1: Zika Transmission Depends on Time Spent Outdoors
A recent study conducted by researchers from Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Miami explored the link between Zika transmission and how much time individuals spend outdoors. The researchers surveyed 270 individuals who reside in Miami-Dade, Florida, an area that has been heavily hit with Zika virus in the past. Using a computational model to evaluate “how Zika transmission dynamics related to time spent outdoors,” the researchers found that time residents spent outside were “highly variable,” according to the recent PLOS press release. The majority of the individuals surveyed reported spending <2 hours a day outside. However, that was not the case for everyone; there was a small percentage of individuals who reported spending as long as 10 hours outside per day.
The computational model revealed that “this heterogeneity—compared to a hypothetical population in which everyone spends the same average amount of time outside—leads Zika virus to infect fewer people but spread at a faster pace from person-to-person,” according to the press release.
The findings led researchers to postulate that, “Operational control efforts could be prioritized and directed towards areas characterized by high levels of human outdoor activities, such as recreational areas and tourist attractions, rather than, for instance, on residential areas.”
Learn more about the other 2 Zika updates you should know, here.
The updated recommendations include the following:
Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all individuals 6 months of age and older who do not have contraindications. The committee recommended that individuals should be vaccinated before the onset of flu activity in the community and that vaccinations should be offered before the end of October and continue to be offered as long as influenza viruses are circulating and unexpired vaccine is available.
Read more about the updated ACIP Immunization Recommendations, here.
Although the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak may have ended, a new study out of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Translational Medicine and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has found that many survivors are suffering with “major limitations in mobility, cognition, and vision,” according to a press release on the research, from the university.
For the study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, Soushieta Jagadesh, MBBS, MSc, from Liverpool University, led a team of researchers in assessing disability in a cohort of 27 survivors “12 months following their discharge from the Ebola Survivors Clinic, 34 Military Hospital (MH34) in Freetown, Sierra Leone and compared with [54 of their unaffected] close contacts,” according to the press release. The Washington Group-Disability Extended Questionnaire (WG ES-F), which measures “self-reported physical and mental impairments” was used to assess disability across 6 domains: “vision, hearing, mobility, self-care, communication, and cognition.” Severity and frequency of mental conditions (including anxiety, depression, pain and fatigability) were used to establish functionality scores. The results showed that significantly more survivors reported a disability in at least 1 of the 6 domains (78%), compared with the close contacts (11%).
Continue reading about the findings on the Ebola virus, here.