Bed bugs take over a Denver woman’s apartment

DENVER — Upon stepping into Elizabeth Trujillo’s apartment in Columbine Towers, it doesn’t take long to notice an infestation.

They’re bed bugs, and they’re crawling everywhere. Trujillo said the problem wasn’t always so visible.

“It’s so bad,“ said Trujillo.

The infestation is so bad, the bugs were crawling on Trujillo during Denver7 interview. She says she’s been living in the apartment complex for two years, but the bed bugs issue began about a year and half ago.

“I’m tired of living with bed bugs. If they aren’t in my bathtub, they are in my bed and on the floor. They are crawling all over the place,” said Trujillo.

Trujillo is on a fixed income and has nowhere else to go. Trujillo says she is tired of her apartment’s useless spraying.

“They have already sprayed eight times, and I still have bugs,” she said.

Hudson Grove Property Management, which Overlook Columbine Towers, sent Denver 7 the following statement:

“The extermination process has been underway for her concerns but can take weeks to reach the desired results.”

African strain of Zika virus shown to act more quickly than Asian strain

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Every two weeks, we gather some of the most interesting and intriguing studies from health researchers around the world. Here are the latest:

New research from the University of Missouri offers insight into how the Zika virus infects placental cells in pregnant mothers, often altering fetal development.

Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, and in 2016, it infected more than 1,500 pregnant women in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The University of Missouri study looked at two strains of the Zika virus – the African strain as well as the Asian strain, the latter of which has been linked to a neurological defect called microcephaly in human babies.

Researchers used stem cells to create placental cells, and then infected two separate groups of those cells with the Asian or the African strain of the Zika virus, according to a news release about the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Asian strain of the virus entered the cell and replicated within the cells, but did not kill the cells, according to the release.

“Our research suggests that the Asian strain infects the placenta in the early stages of pregnancy and essentially ‘lies in wait’ where it is then transmitted to the fetus causing neurological disorders in infants such as microcephaly,” said Megan Sheridan, a graduate student who worked on the study, in a statement.

The African strain of the Zika virus, on the other hand, killed the placental cells in 40 to 48 hours, indicating that African strain of Zika could possibly cause abortions in infected mothers.

“African Zika, while less prevalent, could be much more deadly during early pregnancy,” said Michael Roberts, lead author, in a statement. “The findings suggest that the developing fetus could be most vulnerable to infection by Zika virus and other pathogens during a relatively narrow window within the first trimester of pregnancy.”

Placenta may reveal autism early

Two studies out of UC Davis this month suggest the placenta may reveal signs of autism spectrum disorder.

One study identified a region of the placenta where many of the genes underwent a structural change called methylation. Previous studies suggest an association between methylation and autism spectrum disorder.

The second study sought to investigate the causes of methylation in placental cells. Looking at 47 placentas from children with autism, researchers found that placentas of women who were exposed to professionally applied pesticides showed the most methylation. They also studied the women’s smoking habits, maternal body mass index and vitamin intake.

“(The placenta) is thought to control differentiation versus proliferation in neurons, which happens to be one of the suspect areas in autism,” said Rebecca Schmidt, co-author on the second paper, in a news release.

Researchers believe placental tissue, which is usually discarded at birth, could help diagnose autism and other conditions in the future.

“The placenta provides a time capsule of what the fetus was exposed to during pregnancy,” said Janine LaSalle, principal investigator on both studies, in the release. “If we could assess (autism spectrum disorder) risk at birth, the early behavioral interventions with young, high-risk kids could really improve their quality of life.”

Zika Risk in Florida Extended beyond Miami–Dade County

U.S. health officials’ revised warning says local transmission risk started earlier and reached beyond official danger zone


Local transmission of the Zika virus in Florida may have occurred as early as June 15 of last year and likely infected people who lived not only in Miami-Dade County, but in two nearby counties, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

The warning means that some men who donated semen to sperm banks in the area may not have been aware that they were at risk of infection, and may have donated sperm infected with the Zika virus, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration told reporters in a telephone briefing.

The information is concerning because Zika has been shown to cause birth defects in women who become infected while pregnant. Previously, the CDC had warned of the risk of Zika in Miami-Dade County, beginning on July 29.

But the new warning dials that risk back to June 15, and adds in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties, home to the major tourist destinations of Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.

Zika’s arrival in Florida last summer followed the rapid spread of the mosquito-borne virus through Latin America and the Caribbean.

The World Health Organization last year declared Zika a global health emergency because of its link in Brazil with thousands cases of the birth defect microcephaly, which is marked by small head size and underdeveloped brains that can result in severe developmental problems.

U.S. officials said because of frequent travel between the three Florida counties, some women may have been infected and not been aware of it, either through contracting the infection directly from a mosquito bite while visiting Miami-Dade or through sex with an infected partner who had.

And because Zika has been shown to last up to three months in semen, it may mean some men living in the affected counties may have donated sperm without reporting they were at risk.

CDC Zika expert Dr. Denise Jamieson said the risk applies “particularly (to) women who became pregnant or are planning to become pregnant through the use of donor semen.” She urged these women to “consult their healthcare provider to discuss the donation source and whether Zika virus testing is indicated.”

The new warning came to light through investigations of several cases of Zika reported by the Florida Health Department late last year that suggested residents of Palm Beach or Broward counties may have become infected while traveling back and forth from Miami-Dade. According to the CDC, a total of 215 people are believed to have contracted Zika in Florida last year through the bite of a local mosquito. But since only one in five people infected with Zika become ill, experts believe the actual number was higher.

Officials said they weren’t aware of any women who contracted Zika from infected semen donated to one of the 12 sperm banks in the three-county area. There is no approved test for Zika in sperm.

Jamieson said the CDC does not have any new evidence of local Zika transmission, but said it may occur again in the coming year, adding that the CDC was “on the lookout for additional cases of Zika.”

A recent CDC study estimates that Zika infections cause a twenty-fold spike in the risk of certain birth defects, including microcephaly.

Zika virus could affect Canadians travelling south this winter

One laboratory-confirmed case of the Zika virus on P.E.I. last year


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Islanders heading south this winter might want to bundle up for another reason.

The Zika virus in Canadian travellers retuning from countries in the Caribbean or Central America is more common and more severe than observed in previous reports, says a recent study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal published earlier this month.

As of March 9, 478 travel-related cases and three sexually transmitted cases of Zika virus in Canada, including 28 pregnant women, have been reported.

There has been one laboratory-confirmed case of the Zika virus on P.E.I. last year due to someone travelling to a risk area, says Dr. Heather Morrison, chief public health officer on P.E.I.

“I think the timing is really good for trying to get the recommendations out in terms of how people could protect themselves if they are going down south.”

The Zika virus is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.  Symptoms virus can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and skin rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days. The majority of those infected do not have symptoms.

Morrison said because there is no vaccine or medication that protects against the Zika virus, she cautions travellers to protect themselves before travel.

She sent physicians on the Island updates about the Zika virus from the chief public health office at various times, with the most recent one in February, she said.

I think the timing is really good for trying to get the recommendations out in terms of how people could protect themselves if they are going down south.Dr. Heather Morrison

“Travellers who are going to the infected regions should protect themselves from mosquito bites with protective clothing and appropriate insect repellant.”

Additionally, Island women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should postpone travel to areas where the Zika virus is circulating, she said.

“Women coming back, whether they’re symptomatic or not, should avoid becoming pregnant for two months after returning from a risk area.”

Harun Sadat is a Holland College student who travels frequently to the Caribbean for volunteer work and to visit family. He says he’s really careful when he travels to risk areas.

“I don’t really think there is anything to worry about if you are careful about your diet. We always buy bottled water when we are there, and we don’t eat meat — just vegetarian dishes.”

Due to his precautions, Sadat says he’s not worried about contracting the virus.

“It doesn’t really make me scared or anything, just makes me think of maybe going to my doctor for my next travel and asking about shots or advice.”

The next update on the virus in Canada can be found on the Pubic Health Agency of Canada’s site on April 6.

If you notice symptoms or suspect infection of this virus, contact your local health care provider.

UN Special Rapporteurs Call for Global Pesticides Treaty | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD

Hilal Elver, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, and Baskut Tuncak, the Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, called for a comprehensive convention to regulate and phase out hazardous chemical pesticides in agriculture, and promote a transition to sustainable agriculture practices.

They issued a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council on 7 March, alongside a report submitted to the 34th session.

7 March 2017: Two UN Special Rapporteurs jointly called for a comprehensive convention to regulate and phase out hazardous chemical pesticides in agriculture and promote a transition to sustainable agriculture practices.

It is misleading to claim that pesticides are vital to ensuring food security, said the Special Rapporteurs.

The Rapporteurs issued their joint statement on 7 March 2017, at a session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland. Hilal Elver, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, and Baskut Tuncak, the Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, said “excessive use of pesticides are very dangerous to human health, to the environment and it is misleading to claim that they are vital to ensuring food security.”

In a report submitted to the Council, the Rapporteurs call for a comprehensive, binding treaty to regulate hazardous pesticides throughout their life-cycle. The treaty would generate policies to cut chemical pesticide use worldwide, and develop a framework for banning and phasing out highly hazardous pesticides. The experts also say the treaty should impose strict liability on pesticide producers and promote agroecology. They offer numerous recommendations for national governments, including comprehensive national action plans that include binding, measurable, time-limited reduction targets for hazardous pesticides, and provide incentives to promote alternatives to their use.

Elver and Tuncak said hazardous pesticides seriously affect human rights, citing impacts such as 200,000 acute poisoning deaths, and suspected links to cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, hormone disruption, sterility and development disorders, among other health problems. They said agricultural workers, indigenous communities, pregnant women and children are particularly at risk, and require special protections.

The Rapporteurs say divergent national standards and controls on pesticides have led to “double standards.” In countries with less stringent enforcement mechanisms, they explain, “the burden of the negative effects of pesticides is felt by poor and vulnerable communities.” They urge “harmonized, stringent regulations on the production, sale and acceptable levels of pesticide use.”

Their report also notes that while the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) controls several hazardous pesticides, its coverage is limited and many hazardous pesticides do not meet all of its listing criteria. As for the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, the report points out that its consensus decision-making approach has resulted in a small number of countries obstructing the listing of known hazardous pesticides, such as paraquat. More importantly, says the report, no existing binding international instrument addresses hazardous pesticides throughout their life-cycle.

Zika Warning Is Issued Over Sperm Banks in the Miami Area


Women who are considering trying to become pregnant with semen from sperm banks in the Miami-Dade County area of Florida should consider the possibility that sperm collected as far back as mid-June might be infected with the Zika virus, federal health officials said Monday.

The officials said the new warning was driven by caution, not by any evidence of infected semen from sperm banks or of babies with Zika-linked brain damage who were conceived with donated sperm.

The officials said a recent analysis of Zika cases in Florida found some cases in which Health Department investigators could not determine the exact place infection occurred. And since Zika has been found to persist in semen for up to six months, “there is a small potential risk of Zika virus transmission associated with exposure to semen from male residents in the Florida tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward Counties since June 15, 2016,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

At a news briefing, Dr. Peter W. Marks, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said, “When semen is donated, it can be stored frozen for significant periods of time, and that doesn’t necessarily inactivate the Zika virus.”

Dr. Matthew J. Kuehnert, the director of the C.D.C.’s Office of Blood, Organ and Other Tissue Safety, said at the briefing that “there have been no suspected cases from donor semen,” but that an analysis found “cases of people who are residents of Palm Beach County and Broward County in which the exposure was uncertain.”

As a result, said Dr. Denise Jamieson, the incident commander of the C.D.C.’s Zika emergency response, “Some people in the area may have not realized they are at risk.”

Dr. Jamieson said the agency was also extending the time frame of potential concern from July 29, when officials identified cases of suspected local transmission in that area of Florida, back to June 15, the date of the agency’s first Zika travel advisory regarding pregnant women. She said that since then, about 85,000 women had become pregnant in the tri-county area, including about 5,000 who might have used fertility methods like intrauterine insemination.

According to the Florida Health Department, there have been 280 cases of locally transmitted Zika infection in Florida and an additional 38 cases in which the transmission location is undetermined.

Dr. Marks said there was not yet a licensed test that the counties’ 12 sperm banks could use to detect Zika virus in semen. So, he said, “if you’re a woman who is considering using donated semen samples that have been collected during this period of time, you need to have a conversation with your provider about potential benefits and risks of using it.”

Study: Some bed bugs climb better than others


March 16 (UPI) — No bed bug trap is foolproof. Some bed bugs can elude the confines of contraptions set by experienced pest management professionals. That’s because, according to new research, some bed bugs have superior climbing abilities.

Recent experiments showed the tropical bed bug species, Cimex hemipterus, can shimmy up the smooth walls of pitfall traps.

Researchers at the University of Science, Malaysia tested the efficacy of four American-made traps on C. hemipterus. In the United States, a different bed bug species, Cimex lectularius, is more common.

The tropical bed bug species boasts small pads on its feet that helped it escape from the smooth-walled traps. Images captured with an electron scanning microscope showed the tibial pads of C. hemipterus have more hairs than those of C. lectularius. The tropical species also has a more powerful organ for secreting an adhesive substance onto the tibial hairs.

Researchers say their findings — detailed in the Journal of Economic Entomology — have significant implications for pest management professionals in tropical regions, where C. hemipterus is more common.

But C. hemipterus aren’t relegated to the tropics. They can be found alongside other species in more temperate climes, too.

“Unfortunately, due to their close resemblance, most pest management professionals are unable to tell between C. lectularius and C. hemipterus,” Chow-Yang Lee, professor of entomology, said in a news release.

“Hence, if some of the pitfall traps used in this study, which otherwise could effectively contain C. lectularius, were used during the monitoring process, they would not be able to contain C. hemipterus, which may give a false impression that the monitored premises are free of bed bugs or having a low infestation rate. This may affect the decision-making process on the treatment type, and eventually lead to control failure.”