Almost 3,500 different mosquitoes populate the planet, and 170 of them live in Florida, including Aedes Aegypti, which terrorized the state long before Zika. We tend to think of mosquitoes as nuisances. In fact, they're the deadliest animal on earth. Mosquitoes have killed more humans than all wars in history. In addition to Zika, mosquitoes spread malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, encephalitis and West Nile virus, killing more than 1 million people each year. Aedes aegypti, originated in sub-Saharan Africa, arriving in the Americas in the 16th or 17th century. They say that mosquitoes reproduced in water barrels inside ships transporting slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean. The first documented yellow fever outbreak occurred in Barbados in 1647. When plantation owners in the Carolinas imported slaves from Barbados, Aedes aegypti came with them, and its been feeding on Americans ever since. But it is only the female who targets humans--she uses the human protein found in blood to build yolk protein for her eggs-- and she targets only humans unlike other mosquitoes who spread other diseases by biting birds and then biting humans. Aedes aegypti wants only human flesh. She's a fierce biter. She buzzes low and attacks ankles to avoid the slap of hands. After landing, she punctures your skin with her human tongue, then releases saliva that keeps your blood flowing until she's sucked her fill. And unlike many other mosquito species, which only bite when the sun is rising or setting, Aedes aegypti lurks in your yard in full daylight, waits for you to come out and attacks. She has been attacking Floridians (often fatally) for centuries. Back then, killing mosquitoes wasn't just a public health concern. It was an economic necessity when Florida was just in its growth years. The bugs often still come in swarms. I am not a bug expert by any means and you should know that this article comes from reading a very stimulating article about the Sarasota County Mosquito Management and how they collect, kill, and study mosquitoes.
After identifying species, staffers at Sarasota Mosquito Management match the results to a map showing where the traps were set, telling the department what kinds of mosquitoes are popping up where. This information dictates how to respond. If it's a localized problem, workers will strap on backpacks and do minimal sprays, dump larvae-hungry fish into ditches or abandoned pools or send out trucks for sprays. Sometimes a private contractor, will drop mists of insecticide from planes over 64-acre plots. In addition to Aedes aegypti, another species, Aedes albopictus can also transmit Zika. Florida has a modest number of both types.
What you need to know to defend yourself. Aedes aegypti is a "container breeder," meaning it only reproduces in small vessels of water. They don't breed in ditches, lakes, ponds, open water, swamps, none of that. They pop up inside bromeliads or in the base of flower pots, or even in receptacles as small as a bottle cap or a tarp. That's one reason why the species sticks so close to humans. If we could eliminate containers, we could eliminate the threat. If we all walked around our yards once a week and dumped out every bit of standing water we found, the mosquitoes would have nowhere to reproduce. The species typically doesn't travel farther than 200 meters from where it is born, so if you can eliminate it in your neighborhood, you don't need to worry about it. Also in this rainy season you need to be aware of bundling up when going out to doctor appointments or vising a library....So, cover yourself, this particular mosquito loves ankles so make sure you wear socks with your sneakers, wear long pants and shirts that will cover your arms. Always spray your skin with mosquito repellent before going out during the day. Please understand that Zika has now been transmitted in almost every country in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, as well as more distant nations including Papua New Guinea and Cape Verde. More than 460,000 suspected cases of Zika had been identified as of mid-August, with 174,000 of them in Brazil alone. More than 2,200 cases have been reported in the United States -- 419 of them in Florida. Most of the cases involved persons traveling overseas, but at least 14 people have been infected by local mosquitoes in several locations in South Florida.
Aedes aegypti breeds rapidly in places with large concentrations of people whose homes don't have screened-in windows, don't use their air-conditioning, and who leave barrels or cisterns around to store water. Please remember that your air conditioner and your television set may be your best protection if you are an elder. So do not turn off your air conditioner. It just may save you from being bitten from a hungry mosquitoe mom.
Some claim it will be super-easy to bring the mosquito population down to zero in any local area where Zika is found but as Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, eradicating the mosquitoes in the Miami area where Zika was found has already proven more difficult than they expected. Nobody needs to panic but the disease and its unknown effects already frighten many of our elderly living alone. There is no vaccine or treatment.
I hope this has brought you up to date in terms of what you need to know to remain safe during our hot summer season in Florida. This article appeared in the September 2016 issue of Sarasota Magazine By Cooper Levey-Baker AND Everett Dennison.
Posted 30th of August, 2016 by Olga Brunner
Tags: Zika, Mosquitoes, Miami and Palm Beach Florida
Please feel free to post your comments below, Thank you
Scientists discover genes that reveal vital clues about how the disease progresses.
PUBLISHED: 13:00 EST, 10 Aug 2016
A cluster of genes has been identified in healthy brains that could help develop preventative treatments for Alzheimer's disease.
People with the gene 'signature' - a sequence of between 50 an 60 specific genes - are vulnerable to the spread of the illness which causes dementia. They are vulnerable because they are less able to get rid of the rogue proteins that cause plaques and tangles in the brain.
A cluster of genes has been identified in healthy brains that makes certain people more vulnerable to
Alzheimer's disease. University of Cambridge academics say the findings could be used to develop treatments for individuals well before symptoms appear. At present, a genetic cause for Alzheimer's has been found for only around 1 in 20 cases, and the researchers hope the breakthrough will cast light on the other 19 out of 20 cases that cannot be predicted. The results published in the journal, Science Advances, looked at 500 healthy brains of persons who died between the ages of 24 and 5. They found that brains with the signature are significantly weaker in the areas where Alzheimer's disease spreads than brains that do not have the signature. The researchers believe that healthy young people with this specific gene signature may be more likely to develop Alzheimer's in later life. They may also not benefit from preventative treatments if and when they are developed for human use.
Alzheimer's disease is currently incurable. Its molecular origins are also unknown, and it is hoped the gene signature research will help explore why certain parts of the brain are more vulnerable than others. Professor, Michele Vendrusculo of the Centre for Misfolding Diseases at Cambridge's Department of Chemistry, one of the paper's authors, said: "To answer this question, what we've tried to do is to predict disease progression starting from healthy brains. If we can predict where and when neuronal damage will occur, then we will understand why certain brain tissues are vulnerable, and get a glimpse at the molecular origins of Alzheimer's disease."
Rosie Freer, a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry and the study's lead author, said: "I hope that these results will help drug discovery efforts - that by illuminating the origins of disease vulnerability, there will be clearer targets for those working to cure Alzheimer's disease."
Posted, 8th of August, 2016 by Olga Brunner, M.Sc.
Please feel free to post your comments. Thank you.
This article was written by Susie Slack, appearing in Today's Care Giver.
Despite the significant benefits of wearing a medical alert device, especially for those with serious medical conditions, many people are resistant to the idea of wearing one. they may think that the pendant broadcasts to the world that they're ill, and it impinges on their privacy. They may not want to admit that they can use help or are vulnerable to a fall. Here are some tips to help convince a reluctant parent or other loved one to wear a medical alert device.
1. Focus on the benefits. It may help to enlist a medical professional, like your parent's doctor, or care manager to explain the reasons for wearing a medical alert device for them. Hearing it from an outside party might make them more likely to listen to reason. The doctor or care manager can help your loved one understand that these devices let them continue to be independent and active without having to be afraid that they won't be able to get emergency help if they need it. It may also help to reassure them that pushing the button doesn't mean an ambulance is automatically going to show up at their door. It just sends out a signal to preselected people telling them that help may be needed.
2. Assure against privacy concerns. There are pendant designs on the market today that don't scream, "I'm wearing a medical alert device!" They're less obvious and better designed than older models. Some are made to look like cell phones or step counters, so everyone doesn't have to know that the wearer is especially concerned about safety or has a medical condition. There are even medical alert devices that look like jewelry.
3. Let them know how you feel. Telling them how much more secure you as the caregiver would feel may motivate them to use their device. Let them know how much it worries you that any delay in receiving emergency medical attention could significantly impact their chances of survival. Even if they aren't convinced that they need to wear a medical alert, knowing it would make a big difference in your stress and anxiety levels might convince them to give in.
4. Stay upbeat. Don't take a negative, harassing approach to getting your loved one to wear the device. Instead of nagging, try to look for ways to inspire them to take this extra safety measure, such as encouraging them to think of their grandchildren or spouse and to wear it for their sakes.
If your parent still refuses to wear a medical alert device, no matter how well-designed it is, wall-mounted medical alert buttons are an option. MobileHelp is one brand that offers a battery-operated alert button with LED light that can be mounted to any flat surface such as a wall or tabletop. It's recommended to install one of these buttons near the floor so that it can be activated in the event of a fall.
Susie is a freelance writer who enjoys writing in many genres. She specializes in articles about health, fitness, beauty and nutrition.
You may have seen various books or online media discussing the importance of Transition Care when a senior is discharged from a hospital. Before Transition Care became popular, common breakdowns in care were prevalent when older adults with complex needs transitioned from the acute care setting to their home. What has changed with Transition Care is that patients and family caregivers or care management nurses now more effectively manage changes in health with Seniors who have multiple chronic illnesses. To be sure this has made a positive impact on older adult outcomes and has even reduced some of the costs of healthcare. How?
Transition Care has resulted in fewer hospital re-admissions for patients, reducing the number of days spent in the hospital which is now shorter than expected. Another way that Transition Care has helped is with the improvements in physical health, functional status and quality of life. Transition Care has even improved overall patient satisfaction.
With our own elder care management clients we've even noticed the ability to lessen the burden among family members by reducing the demands of care giving. Because of tailored care to individuals, we've been better able to coordinate care, collaborate with older adults, caregivers, and team members in prioritizing needs, goals, and preferences set by the medical staff. We are better able to care plan with an eye at promoting positive health staying in contact with our client's physicians.
A multidisciplinary approach that includes the health care provider, patient, caregivers and care managers as members of the team has indeed improved the care of persons with chronic conditions.
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If you are an out of town family member with a parent living with a chronic disease please give us a call. We can certainly ease the stress of having to fly to Florida every time mom or dad needs another hospital admission. Transition Care for Seniors is certainly our passion and something we are experienced in. Call us to set up an appointment the next time you are in town. We can be reached at 561-235-2490. If we happen to be out, feel free to leave a message. Someone from our staff will return your call. You might also want to try my cell
Posted Aug, 2, 2016.....Olga Brunner, M.Sc, Gerontology, CECM
Tags: Transition Care; Elder Care Management; Hospital Re-Admissions
Please feel free to comment, Thanks.
I Have worn many hats in my day: Nursing Home Assistant Admin and Activities Director, Assisted Living Admin, Case Management for the State-wide Medicaid Program, and Trainer for Dept of Elder Affairs.