Bug Archives: environment

A Burrowing Microscopic Mite Can Lead To Scabies

Scabies is one of those terms that sounds like it must mean something disgusting. Actually, it is an itchy skin condition caused by a microscopic mite. Scabies has been around for more than 2,000 years and was the original inspiration for the phrase “the seven-year itch.” The female mite burrows into the skin, laying eggs as it tunnels. The body develops an allergic reaction to the mites and their waste products, causing extreme itching.

The classic symptom is severe itching, especially at night or after a warm bath. The mites are generally too small to be seen with the naked eye, but your doctor may take a skin scraping to view under the microscope.Fortunately, the treatment of scabies is relatively simple. The therapy of choice is the prescription cream permethrin, also known as Elimite. Note that while there are some over-the-counter products containing permethrin available for treating lice, they are not as strong as the prescription form and are not recommended for treating scabies.Apply the cream to the entire body, even areas without rash, making sure to get between the fingers and toes and under the nails. Leave the cream on for 8 to 12 hours, usually overnight, and then wash off completely. A second application one week later may be necessary. The mites can survive only for a few days off of the body, so wash towels, sheets and recently worn clothes in hot water.Even though the infestation is cured, the itching and rash may persist for several weeks after treatment. An oral antihistamine like Benadryl and a steroid cream such as hydrocortisone can provide some relief. Scabies is highly contagious and spreads from direct, prolonged, person-to-person contact. It takes about a month for symptoms to develop after exposure to the mite, so go ahead and treat the entire family before the rash appears.

Herbs in Your Garden that Help Repel Bugs

No one likes flies! Actually most will tell you that flies are one of there least favorite bugs. They are annoying nasty flying bugs. Or what about mosquitoes? Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘gee, lets go outside it’s perfect mosquito weather’… NO! How about moths, maybe they don’t bother you, but how about the weevils you get in your dried cupboard food because of them???

No one wants to be spraying bug spray all day everyday and in your home never the less, so why not try these tried and true herbs. That’s right, you heard me correct, herbs! They will grow from just about anywhere and lots of us have them in our private garden for eats, so why not try them as a pest solution??

Herbs That Will Repel Flies And Other Nasty Bugs

1. Basil

Most people know fresh basil is delicious in pesto, tomato based dishes, and salads but did you also know that it is one of the best ways to keep flies out of your house? Just plant basil next to the doors, use as a foundation planting mixed in with your flowers, or plant in containers. The flies will stay far away. Basil is a beautiful fragrant plant that grows easily in most climates. You can grow basil in containers by your picnic table or on your patio and cut a nice size bunch of it to decorate the blanket with when you go to a remote picnic spot. As an added bonus, mosquitoes don’t like it either.

2. Bay Leaf

You can grow bay outside in the summer but you will need to bring it indoors during the winter months. You can buy dried bay leaf at the store if you find you are unable to grow it; the dried variety that you put in stews and soups works as well as the fresh for keeping pests away. You can put one bay leaf in fifty pounds of wheat berries or organic white flour and it will keep the weevils out of it. If you don’t happen to buy flour in those quantities you can add a bay leaf to a smaller sized container with similar results. Don’t forget to add a bay leaf to all your other dried food like, cornmeal, rice, and oatmeal. And I am sure there are many other, give it a try! Scatter a few leaves on the pantry shelves to repel moths, roaches, earwigs, and mice. Flies seem to hate the smell of bay leaves, too!

3. Lavender

Lavender smells wonderful and repels moths, mosquitoes, and fleas:

  • Hang a bundle of it in your closet or lay a few sprigs of it in with the out of season clothes you are storing.
  • Grind it to a powder and sprinkle it on your pet’s bedding.
  • Grow it in containers on your patio to repel mosquitoes.
  • Grow it in your kitchen garden to keep rabbits out of your lettuce and spinach.

4. Mint

Mint planted around the foundation of your house can keep both ants and mice out of your home. Neither of these pests seem to like the smell and all but the most determined will head to a better smelling yard. You can also place shallow bowls of the dried mint leaves in your pantry to discourage mice.

5. Rosemary

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs, not only for cooking and grilling but because it has a number of uses medicinally and as a household herb. As it grows it repels mosquitoes. Try planting it around your patio or any area that you use in the evenings to keep the air smelling fresh and the mosquitoes on someone else’s property.

Signs, Symptoms & Treatment For The EEEV Disease

Symptoms

The incubation period for Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) disease (the time from infected mosquito bite to onset of illness) ranges from 4 to 10 days. EEEV infection can result in one of two types of illness, systemic or encephalitic (involving swelling of the brain, referred to below as EEE). The type of illness will depend on the age of the person and other host factors. It is possible that some people who become infected with EEEV may be asymptomatic (will not develop any symptoms).

Systemic infection has an abrupt onset and is characterized by chills, fever, malaise, arthralgia, and myalgia. The illness lasts 1 to 2 weeks, and recovery is complete when there is no central nervous system involvement. In infants, the encephalitic form is characterized by abrupt onset; in older children and adults, encephalitis is manifested after a few days of systemic illness. Signs and symptoms in encephalitic patients are fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, and coma.

Approximately a third of all people with EEE die from the disease. Death usually occurs 2 to 10 days after onset of symptoms but can occur much later. Of those who recover, many are left with disabling and progressive mental and physical sequelae, which include can range from minimal brain dysfunction to severe intellectual impairment, personality disorders, seizures, paralysis, and cranial nerve dysfunction. Many patients with severe sequelae die within a few years.

Treatment

No human vaccine against EEEV infection or specific antiviral treatment for clinical EEEV infections is available. Patients with suspected EEE should be evaluated by a healthcare provider, appropriate serologic and other diagnostic tests ordered, and supportive treatment provided.

Clinical Evaluation (for Health Care Providers)

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings include neutrophil-predominant pleocytosis and elevated protein levels; glucose levels are normal. Brain lesions are typical of encephalomyelitis and include neuronal destruction and vasculitis, which is perivascular and parenchymous at the cortex, midbrain, and brain stem. There is minimal involvement of the spinal cord.

EEEV is difficult to isolate from clinical samples; almost all isolates (and positive PCR results) have come from brain tissue or CSF. Serologic testing remains the primary method for diagnosing EEEV infection. Combined with a consistent clinical presentation in an endemic area, a rapid and accurate diagnosis of acute neuroinvasive EEEV disease can be made by the detection of EEEV-specific IgM antibody in serum or CSF. EEEV IgM tests are available commercially, in some state health department laboratories, and at CDC. A positive EEEV IgM test result should be confirmed by neutralizing antibody testing of acute- and convalescent-phase serum specimens at a state public health laboratory or CDC. To submit specimens for testing at CDC, please contact your state health department.

All EEEV disease cases should be reported to local public health authorities. Reporting can assist local, state and national authorities to recognize outbreaks of this rare disease and to institute control measures to limit future infections.

Bedbugs Traveling On Buses; You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

Bedbugs hitching rides on Detroit buses, say drivers

Published June 29, 2012

FoxNews.com

The union representing Detroit’s bus drivers has reportedly asked local lawmakers to put pressure on the transit agency to help stop the spread of bedbugs on buses.

The Detroit News reports that roughly 50 Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) drivers have said they’ve seen bedbugs on buses, and some have been bitten within the past year, according to Henry Gaffney, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26.

After receiving a letter from Gaffney in May, DDOT chief executive Ron Freeland said Thursday he asked a maintenance crew to investigate and sent a letter to the union later that month saying any infested bus would be cleaned.

The amount of bedbugs the crew has found so far in the cleaning process isn’t unusual for a service with an average of 100,000 riders each day, Freeland told the newspaper.

“I, personally, am not aware of any widespread problem,” he said. “Where we do have problems, we are in fact dealing with it.”

Any buses reported to have bedbugs will be cleaned and fumigated, Freeland said. If that doesn’t kill them, the maintenance crew can put the vehicle in a paint booth and kill the bugs with heat.

Gaffney, however, said DDOT officials should be taking preventive measures by treating all of the agency’s terminals and coaches.

“If this continues to get bad, you can’t force anybody to work in those types of conditions,” Gaffney told the newspaper. “It’s not fair to the citizens either. Somebody’s got to care somewhere in this city.”

Acorn + Mouse = Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for Northeastern US: Due to Acorns and Mice, Not Mild Winter

ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2012) — The northeastern U.S. should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter. So reports Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.

What do acorns have to do with illness? Acorn crops vary from year-to-year, with boom-and-bust cycles influencing the winter survival and breeding success of white-footed mice. These small mammals pack a one-two punch: they are preferred hosts for black-legged ticks and they are very effective at transmitting Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

“We had a boom in acorns, followed by a boom in mice. And now, on the heels of one of the smallest acorn crops we’ve ever seen, the mouse population is crashing,” Ostfeld explains. Adding, “This spring, there will be a lot of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of finding a white-footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals — like us.”

For more than two decades, Ostfeld, Cary Institute forest ecologist Dr. Charles D. Canham, and their research team have been investigating connections among acorn abundance, white-footed mice, black-legged ticks, and Lyme disease. In 2010, acorn crops were the heaviest recorded at their Millbrook-based research site. And in 2011, mouse populations followed suit, peaking in the summer months. The scarcity of acorns in the fall of 2011 set up a perfect storm for human Lyme disease risk.

Black-legged ticks take three bloodmeals — as larvae, as nymphs, and as adults. Larval ticks that fed on 2011′s booming mouse population will soon be in need of a nymphal meal. These tiny ticks — as small as poppy seeds — are very effective at transmitting Lyme to people. The last time Ostfeld’s research site experienced a heavy acorn crop (2006) followed by a sparse acorn crop (2007), nymphal black-legged ticks reached a 20-year high.

The May-July nymph season will be dangerous, and Ostfeld urges people to be aware when outdoors. Unlike white-footed mice, who can be infected with Lyme with minimal cost, the disease is debilitating to humans. Left undiagnosed, it can cause chronic fatigue, joint pain, and neurological problems. It is the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the U.S., with the majority of cases occurring in the Northeast.

Ostfeld says that mild winter weather does not cause a rise in tick populations, although it can change tick behavior. Adult ticks, which are slightly larger than a sesame seed, are normally dormant in winter but can seek a host whenever temperatures rise several degrees above freezing. The warm winter of 2011-2012 induced earlier than normal activity. While adult ticks can transmit Lyme, they are responsible for a small fraction of tick-borne disease, with spring-summer nymphs posing more of a human health threat.

Past research by Ostfeld and colleagues has highlighted the role that intact forest habitat and animal diversity play in buffering Lyme disease risks. He is currently working with health departments in impacted areas to educate citizens and physicians about the impending surge in Lyme disease.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120316094452.htm