The use of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing as an initial screening step followed by triage with a standard Pap test (cytology) and repeat HPV DNA testing may increase the accuracy of cervical cancer screening, according to a study in the Jan. 13 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Compared to
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In a global world, significant factors affect the spread of infectious diseases, including international trade, air travel and globalized food production. “Airport malaria” is a term coined by researchers to explain the more recent spread of malaria to areas such as the United States and Europe, which some scientists credit to warmer climate changes.
Airport malaria is transmitted when a mosquito infected with the disease bites a human within the vicinity (usually one mile or less) of an international airport. Warmer climate changes in major U.S. cities with a large presence of international air traffic, such as New York and Los Angeles, seem to have created a more welcoming environment where these infected mosquitoes can survive. It begins with a mosquito that is transported during an international flight from a malaria-endemic region. Once the infected female mosquito leaves the aircraft, it can survive long enough to seek blood meals and transmit the disease to other humans within the airport. This type of international transmission creates an increased possibility for the reintroduction of not just malaria, but other detrimental diseases such as dengue and Chikungunya fever, into areas where they are not normally found. For example, people infected with malaria can travel anywhere in the world in 24 hours or less and as long as the malaria-transmitting mosquitoes are present, countries can face larger local outbreaks of imported malaria.
“As international travel increases and climate patterns change - particularly warming nighttime temperatures and increased precipitation — the U.S. becomes a more stable ecosystem for these disease carrying insects to survive and flourish for longer periods of time,” says James H. Diaz, M.D., member of the ASTMH and program director for Environmental and Occupational Health at Louisiana State University.
Dr. Diaz explains that warm, dry summers followed by heavy rain causes mosquitoes to rush breeding and seek out more blood meals, which in turn creates more mosquitoes in a shorter period of time. Similarly, as the winter season becomes more mild, mosquitoes and their eggs are surviving longer and not being killed by the harsh winter freeze. These extreme climate changes allow for longer reproductive lives and prolonged breeding seasons, while increasing the risk of infected mosquitoes spreading malaria to the U.S.
While this is a growing problem for the U.S. there are ways to help prevent the spread of airport malaria. “The best defense against the spread of malaria through international travel is prevention, early detection and treatment of malaria-infected patients, and draining stagnant areas of water where mosquitoes breed and lay eggs,” says Dr. Diaz. “People need to remember that West Nile disease was introduced into the U.S. in 1999 by international air travel. Before reaching the United States, West Nile wasn’t viewed as a threat to North America. Now we see just how quickly and easily infectious diseases can be spread, proving that we need to take measures to protect ourselves from these diseases before they actually reach the United States.”
As the Dengue fever outbreak in northern Queensland continues to claim new victims on a daily basis, many are calling for more funding to control the spread of the disease with some suggesting the only answer will be a fogging campaign. The two Dengue fever outbreaks in Cairns and Townsville have now infected more than
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Australian researchers say the days of the Dengue spreading mozzie could be numbered and the news could not have come at a better time. The researchers from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, using funds provided by the American billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, have made a breakthrough which could put a stop to
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Most successful vaccines and drugs rely on protecting humans or animals by blocking certain bacteria from growing in their systems. But, a new theory actually hopes to take stopping infectious diseases such as West Nile virus and Malaria to the next level by disabling insects from transmitting these viruses. Research to be presented at the
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Looking at the retina in the eyes of patients with cerebral malaria has provided scientists with a vital insight into why malaria infection in the brain is so deadly. In a study funded by the Wellcome Trust and Fight for Sight and published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers in Malawi have shown for
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An outbreak of dengue fever in Cairns, in far north Queensland, continues to cause alarm as the number now affected has reportedly reached 50 and appears to be rising. Queensland Health says another 12 people are awaiting blood test results and six people have been admitted to hospital. Worse hit suburbs for the mosquito-borne disease
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