post

Environmental Working Group Guide to Bug Repellents

This is being reposted as a reminder of how important it is to chose the right insect repellent, both for effectiveness and for safety.

EWG Guide to Bug ReppelentMonday, June 17, 2013  Originally published at EWG
______________________________________________________________________________________
 Download EWG’s tip sheet  |  Download EWG’s report
______________________________________________________________________________________

Which is worse, bug bites or bug repellent?

Choosing the right bug repellent can make a hike, picnic or outdoor event a pleasure instead of a painful, itchy experience that may have serious consequences.

No repellent is right every time. Click to find your best bet.

ADULTS KIDS PREGNANT WOMEN

[Read more…]

post

Environmental Working Group Guide to Bug Repellents

EWG Guide to Bug ReppelentMonday, June 17, 2013  Originally published at EWG
______________________________________________________________________________________
 Download EWG’s tip sheet  |  Download EWG’s report
______________________________________________________________________________________

Which is worse, bug bites or bug repellent?

Choosing the right bug repellent can make a hike, picnic or outdoor event a pleasure instead of a painful, itchy experience that may have serious consequences.

No repellent is right every time. Click to find your best bet.

ADULTS KIDS PREGNANT WOMEN

______________________________________________________________________________________

Executive Summary

______________________________________________________________________________________

West Nile virus, carried by mosquitoes, infected more than 5,674 Americans last year and 286 of them died, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2013C).

The incidence of Lyme disease, spread by ticks, has more than doubled over the last 15 years, with 24,364 confirmed cases recorded in 2011 (CDC 2013A, CDC 2013B).

Both these illnesses, and other pest-borne diseases, can have serious and occasionally life-altering consequences.   Many experts expect to see more cases in the future as the warming climate expands the habitat of species that spread pathogens.

Yet many people are understandably concerned about the possible drawbacks of common repellents such as DEET.  At EWG, we certainly were. So we spent 18 months digging into the question: what are the safest and most effective ways to prevent bug bites and the diseases they may transmit?  

The conclusions of our fact-finding investigation surprised and in some ways disappointed us.

The bad news:  there’s no sure, completely safe way to prevent bug bites.  All bug repellents have pros and cons.

The good news:  some repellents are effective and relatively low in toxicity — provided you take precautions when using them, particularly on children.

The surprising news:  among the four repellent chemicals EWG found to be top picks is DEET, which is widely used but much maligned.  DEET’s safety profile is better than many people assume. Its effectiveness at preventing bites is approached by only a few other repellent ingredients.

DEET isn’t a perfect choice nor the only choice.  But weighed against the consequences of Lyme disease and West Nile virus, we believe it is a reasonable one.

Continue reading on EWG: What to look for in a bug repellent.

post

HSU professor lands grant for tick and Lyme disease research; study highlights problem, seeks ways to control tick population

Created:   09/01/2012 02:25:16 AM PDT

Once on a person, the nymph of the western black-legged tick (shown enlarged in inset) is readily overlooked because of its minute size.

A Humboldt State University professor recently received a $350,000 grant to fund research that may provide the foundation for reducing deer tick populations in Northern California — and, in turn, Lyme disease, the stealthy bacterial infection borne by the tiny insects.Professor Jianmin Zhong said the three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will be used to research the possible existence of a symbiotic relationship between the deer tick and the bacteria that lives inside them. Zhong’s hypothesis is the bacteria produces vitamin B-9, which the tick relies on. In turn, the tick transmits the bacteria to future hosts.

If Zhong can prove that, researchers can focus on the more long-term goal of discovering ways to mutate the bacteria so it no longer produces vitamin B-9.

”Hopefully, we can manipulate the bacteria and eventually, control the population of ticks,” Zhong said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Lyme disease is the most reported insect-borne illness in the U.S.

”It’s a major concern for humans and animals,” Zhong said.

Nearly 200 people reported being infected with Lyme disease in California in 2010, according to the CDC. Those numbers don’t reach the heights that Northeastern states see, but it’s possible that cases go unreported and that some people live with symptoms that remain undiagnosed.

[Read more…]

post

Coinfection Testing

Question: Does Igenex Labs Test for coinfections?

Answered by Susan Friedl – Gordon Medical Research Coordinator:

Igenex Labs does test for many of the tick borne coinfections, including a variety of tests for Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), Babesia microti and Babesia duncani, Human Monocytic Ehrlichia and Anaplasma Phagocytophila, Bartonella henselae, and Rickettsia species (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Mediterranean spotted fever, Boutonneuse fever, Israeli spotted fever, Astrakhan fever, Indian tick typhus, Murine typhus, Cat flea rickettsiosis, flea-borne typhus.) [Read more…]