May 2, 2010 |
Last week, in honor of World Malaria Day, viewers of "American Idol" were urged to donate $10 for an insecticide-treated bed net to save an African child from malaria, the mosquito-transmitted scourge that infects about 300 million people every year, killing nearly 1 million. The premise behind the idea of treated nets is simple. The netting prevents malarial mosquitoes from biting people while they're asleep, and the insecticide kills and repels the insects. World health experts say that using the nets can reduce child mortality in malarial regions by 20%. But even as donations roll in and millions of bed nets pile up in warehouses across Africa, aid agencies and non-governmental organizations are quietly grappling with a problem: Data suggest that, at least in some places, nearly half of Africans who have access to the nets refuse to sleep under them.
January 30, 2010 |
U.S. researchers have developed a prototype vaccine that protects monkeys and mice against the emerging chikungunya virus, a major step toward the production of a vaccine for humans. Human trials could begin later this year. Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that first appeared on Reunion Island off the eastern coast of Africa in 2005 and has spread to more than 18 countries, infecting millions. It is characterized by rash, a high fever and its most distinctive characteristic, a severe arthritis that can persist for years.
December 26, 2009 |
Interfering in mosquitoes' sex lives could help halt the spread of malaria, British scientists said this week. A study on the species of mosquito mainly responsible for malaria transmission in Africa, Anopheles gambiae , showed that because these mosquitoes mate only once in their lives, meddling with that process could dramatically cut their numbers. Researchers from Imperial College London found that a "mating plug" -- used by male mosquitoes to ensure their sperm stays in the right place after mating -- is essential for the fertilization of eggs during the female's lifetime.
July 27, 2009 |
Sometimes it's hard to tell what's more annoying -- mosquitoes or mosquito repellent. If you spray yourself down with a typical repellent before a picnic, you can expect your potato chips and fried chicken to have a distinct DEET aftertaste. And the car ride home? Better roll down the windows if you value fresh air. But there's another option. As you may have seen on TV ads, SC Johnson has come out with Off! Clip-on, a product that promises to repel mosquitoes without any spray or odor.
May 3, 2009 |
In the arid Southwest, the backyard pool was the equivalent of the white picket fence: a sign the homeowners had achieved middle-class status. But as the foreclosure crisis emptied neighborhoods, the once-gleaming pools -- caked with algae and infested with mosquitoes -- became fetid reminders of all that was lost.
April 17, 2009 |
Ashton Kutcher is poised to single-handedly conquer CNN. On Twitter, anyway. Kutcher, the actor and new-media entrepreneur, was in a near dead heat with the cable news network late Thursday to become operator of the most-followed account on the micro-messaging service. He did so by positioning himself as the ringleader of a frenetic digital circus act whose cast has swollen to include Larry King, video game maker Electronic Arts Inc.
April 9, 2009 |
Frank Eddy pulled off his dusty boots and slid into a chair, taking his place at the dining room table where most of the critical family issues are hashed out. Spreading hands as dry and cracked as the orchards he tends, the stout man his mates call Tank explained what damage a decade of drought has done . "Suicide is high. Depression is huge. Families are breaking up. It's devastation," he said, shaking his head. "I've got a neighbor in terrible trouble.
January 3, 2009 |
Old mosquitoes usually spread disease, so Australian researchers devised a natural way to make the pests die younger -- by breeding them to carry an insect parasite that causes earlier death. The Australian scientists knew that one type of fruit fly often has a strain of bacterial parasite that cuts its life span in half. So they infected Aedes aegypti -- the mosquito species that spreads dengue fever -- with the fruit-fly parasite, breeding several generations in a laboratory.