Bacteria blocks Zika transmission in Aedes, study findsResearchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison report that a harmless bacterium called Wolbachia pipientis prevents transmission of the Zika virus by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The research was published today in the journal Scientific Reports and offers hope that Wolbachia could be a cost-effective weapon against Zika.The research team introduced Wolbachia into Aedes mosquitoes in Medellin, Colombia. In the study, female mosquitoes housing Wolbachia fed on Zika-infected mice or membranes containing Zika-infected sheep’s blood. They had low to undeductible levels of Zika virus compared with the controls and were incapable of transmission. In comparison, 95% of the control mosquitoes were capable of spreading the virus 7 days after feeding.Wolbachia has previously been investigated as a tool to control dengue virus transmission, and other studes have shown it to be effective against Zika, as well. The bacterium is often found in butterflies and bees but not mosquitoes. Researchers are optimistic the bacteria could provide a low-cost way to control the spread of Aedes-transmitted illnesses, including chikungunya, yellow fever, and dengue. Currently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding pilot testing and introduction of Wolbachia to mosquito populations in Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Researchers hope that once the bacterium infects 80% of mosquitoes in a region, the rate of Zika transmission will be greatly reduced. Once a female mosquito is infected with Wolbachia, she passes the infection to her offspring.It’s estimated that the Zika virus could infect 4 million people this year, causing illnesses ranging from mild, transient fever to microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome.Jul 1 Sci Rep study May 5 CIDRAP News story “Bacteria shown to curb mosquitoes’ ability to spread Zika” CIDRAP Zika resource page Whole-blood testing may provide wider window for Zika diagnosisWhole blood isolated from five patients with Zika tested positive for the virus for up to 58 days following symptom onset, a much longer diagnostic window than that provided by urine or serum samples, according to a study yesterday in Eurosurveillance.A research team led by Israel’s Ministry of Health analyzed whole-blood, serum, and urine specimens from six travelers to Zika-endemic areas diagnosed with the illness between December 2015 and April 2016. The patients ranged in age from 3 to 61 years, and two were male, the authors said.Among six whole-blood samples obtained from five patients who tested positive for Zika RNA by real-time polymerase chain reaction), one remained positive for 58 days following symptom onset. In contrast, among urine specimens, the longest duration of positive results was 26 days in one of the three positive samples, and among five positive serum samples the longest was only 3 days. The authors also found a substantially higher quantity of Zika virus RNA in whole blood (88 plaque-forming units, or PFUs) in comparison with the 16 PFUs in urine samples.The authors said that all samples of whole blood were positive for viral RNA during the first month following illness onset, three were positive during the second month, and all were negative after 2 months.Whole blood may provide a more accurate and larger diagnostic window for Zika virus, an improvement in detection capability that may help in addressing the illness during pregnancy and in preventing sexual transmission, the authors said.Jun 30 Eurosurveillance study Feds award $25 million to local health departments for Zika preparationFunding in the amount of $25 million to support Zika virus protection has been provided by the federal government to 53 state, city, and territorial health departments in the United States, says an announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today.The recipients are areas of the country deemed at risk for local Zika transmission as determined by the estimated range of the Aedes mosquito species known to transmit the virus, a history of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks, and population, says the CDC press release.The funds are available as of today and can be used through June of next year to identify and investigate possible outbreaks, coordinate comprehensive responses across all levels of government and nongovernmental partners, identify and connect families affected by Zika to community services, and buy preparedness resources like repellent, screens, and supplies for prevention kits.The announcement also says that the CDC “has awarded $567.5 million in cooperative agreements to 62 public health departments across the country to improve and sustain emergency preparedness of state and local public health systems.” These monies come from Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement funds, which annually provide resources for local communities to plan for and respond to various emergency events.The Obama administration has asked for $1.9 billion in federal Zika funding, but action on the request has so far been held up by various congressional controversies.Jul 1 CDC press release
Vanderbilt Commodores players wait during a lightning delay prior to the game against the Temple Owls at Vanderbilt Stadium.Interactive graphic 2014 Vanderbilt Football Schedule One day later, it turns out Vanderbilt’s football jerseys with the slogan “ANCHOR DOWN” on the back are not legal after all.The Southeastern Conference released a statement on Friday stating the jerseys do not meet regulations and cannot be worn again.A statement issued by the SEC said:“Vanderbilt has been notified it cannot wear the slogan on its jersey for future games and has agreed to comply.”NCAA rules state that all schools except the military service academies may not put slogans on the backs on players’ jerseys.RELATED: What does Vandy do at quarterback?CLIMER: It’s like deja vu for VandyRELATED: Derek Mason era off to rough startA miscommunication with the SEC office resulted in Vanderbilt’s wearing the jerseys during its season-opener against Temple on Thursday night.Before production of the jerseys, Vanderbilt sought approval of the jersey design from the NCAA. The NCAA responded with written approval of the design as presented and Vanderbilt proceeded with the jersey production, assuming the approval was applicable to the slogan as well as the colors and overall design in the submitted layout.At the beginning of the second quarter, officials announced Vanderbilt’s new uniform was in violation of rules. Referee Ken Williamson announced to the crowd that Vanderbilt would be charged a timeout for each quarter due to the uniform violation.Shortly afterward, though, Williamson announced that timeouts would not be charged.Athletics communications director Rod Williamson said:Vanderbilt players walk back to the locker room with Coach Derek Mason due to the weather at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.“It’s an easy fix. We’re going to take ‘Anchor Down’ off because we clearly have to and we’re fine with that. We realize now that that wasn’t right. We’re going to put the last names on the jersey and it’s all good. It’s just a flap you take off and replace.“It was an honest miscommunication. We sent an email design concept to the NCAA football rules committee, got a cursory response, which says, ‘It looks good to us.’ We thought that meant every piece of the communication was fine. If anybody wonders if we’re unhappy, no, we’re completely fine. It was just an honest miscommunication. We thought we had clearance to use the slogan, obviously we didn’t.”Williamson declined to provide the email sent from the NCAA stating the uniform design was OK.South Florida recently announced that its players would wear nameplates reading “The Team,” but that plan was scrapped when the school became aware of the ban on slogans.At the start of March Madness this year, Baylor announced plans for its basketball team to wear uniforms with the phrase “Sic ‘Em Bears,” but then learned the uniforms would be against the rules.