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2011 Brought Advances in the Fight Against Vector-Borne Illnesses

Happy New Year!

One interesting part of starting a new year is always to look over the “best of” lists: Best celebrity weddings, best technology improvements, most fascinating people, etc. Discover Magazine annually puts out the “Top 100 Stories” of the year before. This year, several of Dread Skeeter’s nemeses made the list.

#90: Chronic Lyme Patients Validated

Diagnosing Lyme disease can often be difficult as its symptoms are very similar to other ailments, and in the case of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, some patients have been told they either have chronic fatigue syndrome or are perfectly fine. Well, in 2011 immunologist Steven Schutzer was able to prove that there is a difference between patients with chronic fatigue and post-treatment Lyme patients, proving the syndrome does exist.


#47: Ending Dengue

According to the Center for Disease Control, 2.5 billion people live in areas where Dengue Fever is present in mosquitoes, resulting in severe headaches, joint, muscle and bone pain and in some cases death. Australian scientists believe they may have the answer. When they injected mosquitoes with the Wolbachia bacterium, the insect was unable to transmit Dengue. 2011 tests proved optimistic when the bacteria was proved to be passed on through reproduction.

#28: Hepatitis B Boosts Malaria Vaccine

Past malaria vaccines haven’t shown great promise in trial, but a new GlaxoSmithKline test is showing a 50% success rate. The vaccine tricks the body into protecting against malaria by heightening the immune system via hepatitis proteins. With the trial running through 2014, we at Mosquito Squad are interested to see how it can help against Africa’s fight against malaria.

#13 Can Gut Bacteria Stop the Spread of Malaria

George Dimopoulos of Johns Hopkins University has found that the Enterobacter bacterium, when ingested by a mosquito, renders that mosquito unable to transmit malaria by killing a parasite that causes malaria. It was a happy mistake that hopefully leads to a cut in the number of malaria cases in future years.

2011 was a big year in the mosquito and tick world. Here’s hoping that 2012 brings the same, but as long as you are bothered by mosquitoes and ticks, Dread Skeeter and Mosquito Squad are here to protect you, your family and your friends.

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