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expert reaction to paper mapping climate and air travel and identifies countries in Africa and Asia at risk of Zika virus

A group of researchers publishing in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal have applied modelling methods to examine the potential areas for future Zika virus outbreaks, based on air travel patterns from virus-affected areas and locations of the mosquito vector. They reported which countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region are vulnerable to the virus. read more

Oxitec Ltd and its GM mosquitoes – two visitors from Brazil

Oxitec Ltd, the company that developed a self-limited genetically engineered mosquito, has been working with health authorities in Piracicaba, Brazil, in attempt to reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species that transmits diseases including dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Dengue has been the main mosquito-transmitted disease affecting Piracicaba. Oxitec’s Head of Field Operations, Dr Andrew McKemey, and Dr Pedro Mello, the Secretary of Health for Piracicaba in Brazil, will be in the UK next week and are available to answer any questions you might have about the science behind the GM mosquito, what stage their current mosquito release programme is at, and what the situation is in Piracicaba. Piracicaba City Hall partnered with Oxitec in March 2015 to use the mosquitoes and that programme is now being extended to a larger area of the city. read more

Lyme disease

Lyme disease (or Lyme borreliosis) is caused by the bite of a tick infected with certain Borrelia bacteria with cases generally restricted to Europe (including the UK) and North America. read more

expert reaction to modelling study looking at Zika infection and microcephaly cases in the 2013-14 Zika outbreak in French Polynesia

A group of scientists have published their work in The Lancet journal in which they retrospectively analysed data from a previous Zika outbreak in French Polynesia. In their follow up modelling study they reported Zika virus infection during the first trimester of pregnancy led to higher than expected rates of microcephaly. The association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly, however, has not been precisely quantified. read more

expert reaction to modelling study looking at incomplete personal protection coverage in vector-borne disease

Publishing in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface a group of scientists have used a model to analyse the use of personal protection techniques, such as netting and insect repellents, for the avoidance of diseases spread by carriers like mosquitoes. From this model they suggested some circumstances under which such devices might increase disease in the unprotected portion of the population. read more

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