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Pet Meds, Laser Fences Could Tackle Insect-Borne Diseases

Scientists say isoxazolines could prevent up to 97% of Zika cases

(Newser) - Scientists are testing new ways to prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases like Zika and malaria, one of which involves sharing medication with your dog. New research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation suggests drugs included in anti-flea and tick medications for pets could prevent 97% of Zika... More »

Malaria Death of Young Girl Has Italian Authorities Mystified

'It's a mystery, almost impossible'

(Newser) - The death of a 4-year-old girl from malaria on Monday in Italy has local health authorities searching for answers and worrying about a resurgence of the deadly disease, NPR reports. Italy was declared malaria-free in 1970, and the mosquito that carries the disease no longer lives in the country. "... More »

After Decades of Work, a Malaria Vaccine Is Here

3 countries have been chosen for testing

(Newser) - Three African countries have been chosen to test the world's first malaria vaccine, the World Health Organization announced Monday. Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi will begin piloting the injectable vaccine next year with young children. The vaccine, which has partial effectiveness, has the potential to save tens of thousands of... More »

Mosquitoes Do Not Care About Your Citronella Candles

Very few repellants actually repel the biting insect

(Newser) - It isn't just nice when mosquito repellents actually do what they claim to—it's necessary. The biting insects are one of nature's top disease vectors, spreading everything from yellow fever and dengue to Zika and malaria, and a group of scientists recently set out to test which... More »

Desperate Venezuelans Turn to Mines, Find Malaria

Disease makes a resurgence in dire times

(Newser) - More than a half-century ago, the World Health Organization recognized Venezuela as the first nation to wipe out malaria in its populated areas. It was even ahead of the US on that count. Today, though, the disease is making a ferocious comeback in the nation, even if the government fails... More »

British Sportscaster in Rio Spends Olympics in Coma

Charlie Webster was nearly killed by malaria

(Newser) - A British sportscaster "nearly died" after contracting a rare form of malaria in Brazil, the Guardian reports. According to the BBC , 33-year-old Charlie Webster arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 4 after completing the six-day, 3,000-mile Ride to Rio charity bike ride. She fell ill the next... More »

1st-Ever Endemic Malaria Found in US Mammals

Scientists stumble on find at the National Zoo

(Newser) - Talk about a surprise: Two years ago, scientists researching avian malaria happened to learn that two strains of the parasite are infecting white-tailed deer—possibly 25% of those living on the East Coast, Smithsonian reports. Until then, no endemic malaria had been seen in North or South American mammals. "... More »

Scientists Create Malaria-Proof Mosquitoes

Edited genes spread to 99.5% of offspring in study

(Newser) - Scientists have yet to figure out how to get rid of mosquitoes for good (yes, there are people working on that), but they've done something almost as good: They've developed a genetically modified mosquito that's resistant to malaria. They're only flying around a lab for now,... More »

Study: Why Mosquitoes Like You More

Study suggests our genes control scents that attract or repel mosquitoes

(Newser) - Mosquito bites aren't just annoying. They can be lethal, especially in certain parts of the world where they spread malaria and Chikungunya. Now a pilot study out of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine suggests that our genes dictate whether mosquitoes are attracted to us, researchers report... More »

Malaria Nets Can't Stop New 'Super Mosquito'

Insects created by interbreeding 2 Mali species survive exposure

(Newser) - For years, campaigns such as Nothing But Nets have been trying to control the scourge of malaria —a blood disease spread by mosquito bites—by sending insecticide-laced nets to hard-hit regions (mostly in Africa). But a University of California-Davis study has some bad news: Researchers have discovered a hybrid... More »

US Malaria Experiments in 1940s Left Troops 'Ruined'

'The Malaria Project' looks at effort to find drug

(Newser) - The goal was just, the execution anything but: In the 1940s, the US government pulled together an operation designed to find a cure for malaria, which infected some 500,000 American troops during WWII. How they went about doing so is revealed in Karen Masterson's new book, The Malaria ... More »

Toddlers' Blood Could Hold Key to Beating Malaria

New vaccine traps disease inside blood cells

(Newser) - Researchers think they've found a promising new potential weapon in the fight against malaria in a fairly unlikely place: the blood of toddlers. In a paper published in Science today, researchers detail how they examined the blood of more than 750 children in Tanzania. They found that about 6%... More »

Malaria Reaching Higher Altitudes

Rising temperatures open up new heights to parasite

(Newser) - Efforts to eradicate malaria are going to be hit hard by rising temperatures that open up new altitudes to the mosquitoes that carry the disease, researchers warn. Both mosquitoes and the malaria parasite struggle in chillier temperatures, and a new study has found that the disease climbs to higher elevations... More »

Did Nazis Try to Weaponize Mosquitoes?

Researcher thinks documents prove Hitler's biological weapon ban was ignored

(Newser) - Were Nazi scientists planning to unleash disease-carrying mosquitoes on the Allies? It's a long-running debate, but one biologist thinks he's uncovered evidence that indicates they were. Klaus Reinhardt believes that the entomological institute at Dachau was actually working on weaponizing mosquitoes, National Geographic reports. As evidence, he cites... More »

Your Body Makes Its Own Mosquito Repellent

Cloaking compounds found on skin could be used to combat bites, disease

(Newser) - Bad news for bug spray is good news for just about everyone else: Scientists have discovered a mosquito repellent that makes humans pretty much invisible to the pesky blood suckers—and your body makes it on its own. When used in larger quantities, some 24 "cloaking compounds" found on... More »

Malaria Vaccine Rocks in Small Study

Injections gave some volunteers 100% protection

(Newser) - A new malaria vaccine has raised eyebrows in early testing and revived the dream of curbing a disease that killed more than a million people in 2010—most of them children, NBC News reports. Only 57 volunteers were involved in the US test, says Science Daily , but all who received... More »

New Malaria Strains Beat Best Drug

Scientists hope DNA fingerprinting can halt spread

(Newser) - Scientists are scrambling to stay a step ahead of a fast-evolving strain of malaria-causing parasite that has developed resistance to artemisinin, the most important drug used to fight the disease. Researchers examining the DNA of malaria parasites from around the world found three separate artemisinin-resistant strains in western Cambodia that... More »

Possible Malaria Weapon: Bug-Killing Paint

It could be a breakthrough against insect-borne diseases

(Newser) - A new paint that contains insecticide lasts longer than traditional bug-killing agents and is more effective in many circumstances, researchers say, making it a hopeful option for curbing insect-borne illnesses. It's already helped cut infestations of bugs like the vinchuca, which carries the often-fatal Chagas disease, in homes in... More »

Malaria Drugs Lose Punch in Key Region

Resistance grows in Burma, raising risk of major outbreak

(Newser) - Malaria researchers are watching with alarm as once-effective drugs lose their punch in a flashpoint region, reports the Guardian . New studies show that drugs based on the plant extract artemisinin are losing potency on the Burma-Thailand border. The problem started in Cambodia and is apparently spreading as counterfeit versions spring... More »

Risky Malaria Drug: a Factor in Afghan Massacre?

US military orders emergency review of mefloquine use

(Newser) - In the wake of the shootings of 17 civilians in Afghanistan, the US military is scrambling to limit the use of an anti-malaria drug that can have serious side effects—including psychotic behavior. Mefloquine, also called Lariam, has already been implicated in a number of suicides and homicides. In 2009,... More »

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