News Article: Navy Dengue Vaccine Enters First Clinical Trial

“The Navy, in collaboration with the Army, has three vaccines,” Kochel said. “We are testing products individually and in combination with our counterparts, such as universities and private companies that also are working on vaccines.”

Of the various vaccines in different stages of development, Kochel said, not one is ahead of the others.

“Everyone’s trying to get over this hurdle of getting good immune responses against all four types of the virus,” he said, adding that the “perfect vaccine” does not yet exist to protect U.S. troops from all strains.

And even though dengue’s Type 1 strain might go unnoticed in some people, the virus doesn’t have to be severe before it can be a hindrance to troop strength, Danko said.

“Even with moderate infection,” she explained, “dengue affects our ability on the front lines to protect and carry out the mission of DOD.”

via News Article: Navy Dengue Vaccine Enters First Clinical Trial.


Kolleen Bouchane: Malaria: Less Investment = More Suffering, More Death

The study, “Malaria resurgence: a systematic review and assessment of its causes,” was published on April 24 in Malaria Journal by a team of researchers from the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California at San Francisco, and the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy.

The authors reviewed the scientific literature on malaria for all cases of “resurgence events” — instances where malaria was declining but then came back. They then asked some simple questions: What made malaria come back? Was it due to a weakening of the local malaria control program? Was it caused by other factors that made malaria easier to transmit? Was it due to other complicating factors like an increase in drug resistance that made malaria harder to eliminate?

The researchers found 75 instances of malaria resurgence in 61 countries since 1930. Of the 75 instances of malaria resurgence, 68 of them (91 percent) could be explained at least in part by a weakening of the malaria control program. Of those 68 cases where the malaria program was weakened, more than half the time a lack of resources was the cause (39 out of 68, or 57 percent).

via Kolleen Bouchane: Malaria: Less Investment = More Suffering, More Death.

Mosquitoes Killed Two Killer Whales : Discovery News

“Logging (floating at the surface) was commonly witnessed while I was at SeaWorld, especially at night, which provided a static landing platform for mosquitoes,” former Sea World orca trainer John Jett told the WDCS.  “Free ranging orcas, conversely, are on the move and not exposed to mosquitoes. They don’t remain still long enough and mosquitoes are weak fliers, limited to coastal areas.”

The two orca fatalities were:

Kanduke – The 25-year old orca died at SeaWorld Orlando due to St. Louis encephalitis in 1990.

Taku – The 14-year-old male died after being fatally infected with the West Nile Virus in 2007 at SeaWorld San Antonio.

via Mosquitoes Killed Two Killer Whales : Discovery News.

Drug-Resistant Malaria Emerging in Africa: Researchers – Businessweek

Krishna and colleagues studied blood samples taken from 28 people who contracted malaria while traveling in sub-Saharan Africa, discovering resistance in 11 of them. In those cases, artemether’s effectiveness was reduced by about half, they found.

via Drug-Resistant Malaria Emerging in Africa: Researchers – Businessweek.

Dengue mosquitoes change breeding habits | Inquirer News

Mary Divine Hilario, officer-in-charge of the DOH’s Health Advocacy and Promotion Cluster, said that previously, dengue-carrying mosquitoes only bred during the wet season—in June particularly—but these days, they breed anytime.

“Times have changed. They now breed even outside the rainy season,” she said.

Another thing, Hilario said, was that dengue-carrying mosquitoes no longer distinguished between clear and murky water.

“They now breed even in filthy water, unlike before when they bred in clean stagnant water,” she said.

Hilario said this change in breeding behavior could be the reason why the incidence of dengue has surged in the Davao region the recent months.

For the first two months of the year alone, she said, 1,001 cases were recorded throughout Southern Mindanao, with at least five deaths.

via Dengue mosquitoes change breeding habits | Inquirer News.

AFP: Rio declares dengue epidemic

“We have a plan focused on the epidemic and we continue to be in a state of alert,” Hans Dohmann, the city’s health secretary, said late Tuesday, adding that the number of cases had surpassed 300 per 100,000 residents per month.

State-run Agencia Brasil meanwhile reported that 517 people had been struck with the disease last week alone.

The state of Rio de Janeiro has reported a total of 64,423 confirmed cases thus far this year, with 13 deaths, 12 in the city itself.

via AFP: Rio declares dengue epidemic.

New strategies reducing malaria deaths in Odisha (April 25 is World Malaria Day) – NY Daily News

“ASHAs go to the communities with rapid diagnostic kits which help us diagnose malaria early. It is through ASHAs that we are informing communities about malaria prevention,” said R.M Bhatt, a NIMR field officer in Chhattisgarh, told IANS over the phone.

Malaria cases are also high among the security forces posted in the Maoist zones of the two states, said a NIMR scientist, who did not want to be named. “The problem is so grave in the Maoists regions that more soldiers are dying of malaria than bullets.”

In Chhattisgarh, 18 people died of the disease last year.

However, across India, the total number of malaria deaths has come down from 1,018 in 2010 to 463 in 2011. The other malaria-endemic states of India are Maharashtra, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

via New strategies reducing malaria deaths in Odisha (April 25 is World Malaria Day) – NY Daily News.