Monthly Archives: August 2016

Valley Fever on the go, possibly helped by small cute mammals


Coccidioidomycosis (aka “cocci”, or Valley Fever) is a fungal infection caused by two species of Coccidioides fungi, infecting thousands of people in the southwestern US, and parts of Mexico and Central and South America. Recently, the fungi was detected in south-central Washington, both in clinical isolates as well as soil samples. Below, I summarize what we know about this disease and the pathogens causing it, the new area of detection, and the potential next steps forward in protecting the public from these bothersome fungi.

Biology Health Medicine

Zika virus, a clear, present and enduring danger in the Gulf Coast of the US


On Friday, August 19, 2016, following the detection of local transmission of Zika virus on Miami Beach, the US CDC has suggested that pregnant women and their partners, if possible, should postpone any non-essential travel to any part of Miami-Dade county. Here, we summarize the current situation, how we got to this point, and what to expect in the coming months and years.

Biology Developing World Health Medicine

Afraid of malaria? Get a chicken


An understanding of the blood feeding behaviour of biting insects such as mosquitoes is a major tool in the fight to control, and eventually eliminate, insect- transmitted diseases. Many studies have focussed on odours that attract malaria-transmitting mosquitoes to their hosts but chickens have now been shown to produce volatile chemicals that repel them.

Biology Developing World Health Medicine

Some entomopathogenic nematodes like it hot

Image 1 Waxmothcadaverusda

Entomopathogenic nematodes are lethal parasites of insects which are used as biocontrol agents. While their effectiveness in the field has been variable, recent research has highlighted that temperature and age of infective juveniles modulate their host seeking behaviours.