Zika and glaucoma linked for first time in new study

Date:November 30, 2016

Source:Yale University

Summary:The Zika virus can cause glaucoma in infants who were exposed to the virus during gestation, a team of researchers has explained in the first report outlining the evidence.


A team of researchers in Brazil and at the Yale School of Public Health has published the first report demonstrating that the Zika virus can cause glaucoma in infants who were exposed to the virus during gestation.

Exposure to the Zika virus during pregnancy causes birth defects of the central nervous system, including microcephaly. Brazilian and Yale School of Public Health researchers had reported early during the microcephaly epidemic that the virus also causes severe lesions in the retina, the posterior portion of the eye. However, until now, there has been no evidence that Zika causes glaucoma, a condition that can result in permanent damage to the optic nerve and blindness.

“We identified the first case where Zika virus appears to have affected the development of the anterior chamber or front portion of the eye during gestation and caused glaucoma after birth,” said Dr. Albert Icksang Ko, professor at the Yale School of Public Health and co-author of the study published in the journal Ophthalmology. Ko has longstanding research collaborations in Brazil and has worked with local scientists since Zika first appeared in the Americas to better understand the birth defects that are caused by the virus and the risk factors for Zika Congenital Syndrome.

While conducting their investigations of the microcephaly epidemic in Salvador in Northeast Brazil, the researchers identified a three-month-old boy who was exposed to Zika virus during gestation. While no signs of glaucoma were present at the time of birth, the infant developed swelling, pain, and tearing in the right eye. The research team diagnosed glaucoma as the cause of symptoms and together with local ophthalmologists, performed a trabeculectomy, an operation that successfully alleviated the pressure within the eye.

While this is the first known incidence of glaucoma in an infant with the Zika virus, clinicians treating patients with Zika should be aware that glaucoma is another serious symptom of the disease that should be monitored, said the investigators. Additional research is needed to determine if glaucoma in infants with Zika is caused by indirect or direct exposure to the virus, either during gestation or postpartum.

The Zika virus, which is primarily transmitted through infected mosquitoes, has reached epidemic levels in several areas worldwide, and is of particular concern in Brazil, where the Pan American Health Organization reports more than 200,000 suspected cases and 109,000 confirmed cases of the disease. Since the outbreak began in 2015, Zika has now reached the United States, with more than 4,000 travel-related cases reported, and 139 locally acquired mosquito-borne cases confirmed, according to the CDC. There is currently no vaccine for the Zika virus.

Zika Mystery: Health Officials Stumped After Elderly Patient Transmits Virus to Caregiver


A caregiver of an elderly Zika patient in Utah has been diagnosed with the disease, leaving health officials stumped about how the virus was transmitted from patient to caregiver.

The Utah Department of Health said it does not know how the caregiver, a family member of the patient, was infected with the Zika virus.

The unnamed patient died while infected with the virus and had an underlying condition, and it was unclear if the virus contributed to the death, according to the health department.

The virus has been known to spread only via mosquitoes or directly from person to person through sexual contact. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating how the caregiver could have contracted the virus even if the caregiver did not go to a country with ongoing Zika virus transmission and did not have sex with a person known to be infected with the virus.

The CDC has reported at least 1,133 cases of Zika infections in the U.S. In virtually all those cases, people traveled outside the U.S. and became infected by mosquitoes abroad. In a small number of cases, the virus was transmitted through sexual contact in the U.S. There have been no cases of people being infected from mosquitoes in the continental U.S.

Pesticide studies must be made public, EU court rules


The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that trade secrets are not an excuse for refusing to divulge information on biocides released into the air, water, soil and plants. EurActiv Spain reports.

“The confidentiality of commercial and industrial information may not be invoked to preclude the disclosure of such information,” the Luxembourg-based court decided.

Greenpeace and the European Pesticides Action Network (PAN) took the issue to court after asking the Commission for access to documents related to the commercial authorisation of glyphosate, one of the most commonly-used herbicides in the world.

But the EU executive only granted access to part of the documentation, arguing that it has a duty to protect the intellectual property of the herbicides’ manufacturers.

This includes confidential information relating to the chemical composition of glyphosate and its manufacturing process.

At the same time, a Dutch association for the protection of bees asked the Dutch’ authorities to publish details of the commercial authorisations of crop protection products and biocides. But the association met with resistance from chemicals giant Bayer, a major producer of these products.

The authorities responded by authorising the publication of less than half of the documents requested, containing information about the impact of agricultural chemicals on the environment. A decision that left both sides unsatisfied.

Bayer and the bee protection association each contested the decision at the CJEU, which delivered its verdict on the interpretation of “emissions into the environment” and “information on emissions into the environment” on Wednesday (24 November).

In both cases, the court found that “emissions” should include the concept of “release into the environment of products or substances, […] to the extent that that release is actual or foreseeable under normal or realistic conditions”.

The judgement also found that limiting access to this kind of information runs counter to the EU’s transparency objectives.

Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio said the EU executive would examine the “particularly complex” judgement, but that it needed more time.

Michèle Rivasi, a Green MEP and vice-president of the European Parliament’s Greens group, said the judgement legitimised the request for access to the documents. She said it was important for Europeans to understand how, using unpublished studies, the European Food Security Agency (EFSA) “was able to conclude in November 2015 that glyphosate was probably not carcinogenic”.

Yet the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic”.

Franziska Achterberg , Greenpeace’s EU food policy director, said the internet should oblige regulatory authorities to “reveal all their documentation on the dangers of pesticides”.

Texas may have locally transmitted Zika infection, CDC reports


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with Texas health officials to investigate what may be that state’s first known case of local mosquito-borne Zika infection. Zika is primarily spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, pictured here, though the virus can also be sexually transmitted. Florida became the first state to report a locally acquired Zika infection in late July.

Nearly four months after Florida became the first state in the nation to report a locally acquired Zika infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that its epidemiologists are working with Texas health officials on what they suspect is that state’s first local case.

CDC officials said Zika has been diagnosed in a resident of Brownsville — which borders Mexico at the state’s southernmost tip — without any other known risk factors for contracting the disease, such as sexual transmission or travel to an area where the virus is widespread.

If confirmed, the case would be the first known occurrence of mosquito-borne Zika infection in Texas. And the state would join Florida as the two states in the nation with active local transmission of the virus. Florida reported its first case in late July in a one-square-mile area of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, followed by cases in Miami Beach and the Little River neighborhood.

In response to the suspected case in Brownsville, Texas health officials stepped up surveillance and spraying to control mosquitoes, the CDC reported, and they are testing for Zika to determine if there have been additional infections in the area.

“Even though it is late in the mosquito season, mosquitoes can spread Zika in some areas of the country,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Texas is doing the right thing by increasing local surveillance and trapping and testing mosquitoes in the Brownsville area.”

In Florida, state health officials report that mosquitoes continue to spread Zika in two areas: a 1.5 square mile area of South Beach between 8th and 28th Streets from the ocean to the bay; and a one-square-mile area of Miami’s Little River neighborhood.

The Wynwood area no longer has active cases. And on Nov. 22, Gov. Rick Scott lifted part of Miami Beach’s Zika zone covering most of Middle Beach after the health department reported that 45 days had passed without a new local case.

Zika spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito — most frequently Aedes aegypti, but also sometimes the Aedes albopictus. Both species are found in Brownsville.

Zika can also spread during sex between an infected person and his or her partner. And though most people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms — which can include fever, muscle pain, rash and red eyes — the virus poses the greatest risk to pregnant women because it can cause a severe birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other neurological complications in fetuses and infants.

There is no vaccine or therapy to treat or prevent Zika.

As of Monday, the Florida Department of Health reported 1,206 Zika infections statewide, with 953 travel-related cases and 238 locally acquired cases. An additional 15 cases are labeled “undetermined” because the state could not identify the source of exposure due to the person traveling to several areas where the virus is spreading, including most of South Beach and a section of Miami’s Little River neighborhood.

According to the CDC, a total of 4,444 cases of Zika have been reported in the continental United States and Hawaii as of Nov. 23, including 182 infections spread locally by mosquitoes and 36 believed to be the result of sexual transmission.

Texas Becomes 2nd U.S. State, After Florida, With Local Zika Transmission

Texas has become the second state in the continental United States to confirm a locally transmitted case of the Zika virus, state and federal health officials said Monday.

Lab results confirmed the virus in a non-pregnant female resident of Brownsville last week. She has not traveled to an area where the virus is circulating and has no other known exposure to the virus that would have put her at risk for infection.

Health officials said they are not surprised to confirm local transmission of this virus in South Texas, near the Mexico border.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” state Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said. He added that more cases are expected, but officials do not believe the virus will be widespread.

“Laboratory testing found genetic material from the Zika virus in the patient’s urine, but a blood test was negative, indicating that the virus can no longer be spread from her by a mosquito,” the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement.

It is, however, investigating where the woman became infected by testing mosquitoes found around her home and knocking on her neighbors’ doors to request voluntary urine samples and other information to determine whether others are infected.

It is also sharing information about the virus and how to protect against it. This includes using mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeves, keeping windows closed, using air conditioning and eliminating standing water. Spraying has also been done in the area.

In addition to ongoing disease surveillance efforts, which are part of the state’s Zika action plan, the state medical operations center has been activated to offer support through education and expertise as well as personnel and equipment resources.

State health officials say travel across the border is frequent in the area. Zika transmission has been reported in multiple communities on the Mexican side of the border.

It is possible that someone could have Zika without knowing, since 80 percent of those infected have no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they can include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, and they can last from a few days to about a week.

Pregnant women are at greatest risk because they can unknowingly pass the virus to their fetus, leaving devastating consequences including miscarriage and neurological deficits that last a lifetime.

Because the virus can also be sexually transmitted, pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant should avoid unprotected sex with a partner who has been infected or who has lived in or traveled to an area where the virus is circulating, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is no treatment or vaccine for Zika, although research efforts are underway to develop one.

The only other U.S. state where the virus is known to be circulating is Florida, where state health officials are reporting 238 locally transmitted cases to date.

Texas reports first Zika case believed to be from local mosquito bite


Texas health officials on Monday reported the first case of Zika virus transmitted by a mosquito bite in that state.

Florida is the only other state in the U.S. where the Zika virus has spread locally through mosquito bites, not from travel or sex.

The infected woman is a resident of Brownsville, Texas, in Cameron County, located on the state’s southern border, adjacent to Mexico. Health officials say the woman has not traveled to Mexico or any other country where Zika outbreaks have occurred.

Until the first Florida cases emerged over the summer, Zika infections in the U.S. had all been connected to travel to countries with outbreaks, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a news release.

“We still don’t believe the virus will become widespread in Texas, but there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially in parts of the state that stay relatively warm in the fall and winter,” Hellerstedt said.

The Texas health department reported that there are currently no other homegrown cases, but health officials continue to watch out for more.

The Texas case was confirmed last week by lab tests which revealed that the virus is no longer in the woman’s blood and able to spread from her to mosquitoes that might go on to infect others. The virus was, however, detected in a urine sample from the patient.

She is not pregnant. A major concern for doctors is the transmission of the Zika virus to a pregnant woman, because infection during pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects, including microcephaly, which is when a baby’s head is much smaller than normal at birth or as the infant grows. Microcephaly is linked to developmental abnormalities, seizures and sometimes death.

Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the state health department in Texas, said the woman had fallen ill and gone to her doctor, who ordered the Zika test. Van Deusen said six members of the woman’s household were also tested and do not have the virus.

Zika virus can cause a mild illness, with fever, rash and joint pain, but most infected people don’t experience symptoms.

Health workers will be going door-to-door in the area around the patient’s home to educate the public, help people reduce potential mosquito breeding habitats and to collect voluntary urine samples to find out if there are other infections.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced Monday it is reinstating the Medicaid benefit for mosquito repellent due to the new case, reports CBS Dallas-Fort Worth. The state made the decision to bring back the benefit, which had ended Oct. 31, given the possibility of local transmission and risk of Zika in the local community.

“We will do all that we can to protect Texans and slow the spread of the Zika virus,” said Health and Human Services Commission’s Executive Commissioner Charles Smith. “Insect repellent is the best way to protect yourself, and we want it to be widely available.”

Texas women between the ages of 10 and 45, and those who are pregnant, can pick up free mosquito repellent — up to two cans per month — at participating pharmacies. Women are encouraged to call the pharmacy ahead of time because supply can vary by location. Women eligible for the Medicaid, CHIP and CHIP-Perinate programs are covered. Women covered under the Healthy Texas Women and Children with Special Health Care Needs programs also can receive the benefit.

The benefit is in place now through December as the state collects more information about the case and the scope of transmission in Texas.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also collaborating with Texas and Cameron County health officials to investigate the case. State officials say further investigation is necessary to try to figure out how and where the woman was infected.

Officials have been trapping and testing mosquitoes to learn more about activity near the infected woman’s home. Brownsville has recently sprayed for mosquitoes in the area and will continue to work on reducing the mosquito population.

Through last week, Texas has had 257 confirmed cases of Zika virus disease. Until now, all of the cases in Texas had been associated with travel, including two infants born to women who had traveled during their pregnancies and two people who had sexual contact with infected travelers.

Both private companies and the federal government are racing to create a vaccine to prevent the Zika virus from infecting more people.


Bed bug infestation leaves Jade Carr ‘suicidal’ and in debt


A HAMPSHIRE mother has told how a bed bug infestation left her feeling suicidal and in thousands of pounds of debt.

Jade Carr, 28, from Sholing in Southampton, said the parasites have returned three times over the last eight years to the council block where she lives, forcing her to spend “thousands” on treatments and replacing furniture destroyed by the creatures.

The mother of two – who is currently expecting her third child – told the Daily Echo that trying to control the pests has “ruined her career” and caused her children to be bullied at school.

Ms Carr said she first found out the bugs were infesting the Dempsey Close block when her six-year-old daughter woke up with bites on her arms and legs four years ago.

However, after speaking to other residents it transpired that one neighbour had been living with the bugs for at least four years prior to that.

Ms Carr claims she was forced to sleep on an inflatable mattress and at times had to stay with friends in attempts to escape the bugs.

She said: “Me and the kids were living on a blow up mattress in the living room for six months because the bugs can’t lay dormant on them.

“It ruined my life.

“I had to spend all the money I’d saved to buy a little car and set up a mobile hairdressing business.”

Ms Carr claims she is now in around £3,000 worth of debt and behind with her rent because of the ongoing problem which has returned this month.

Dempsey Close neighbour Becky Atkins, 27, a single mum with three children aged ten, 15 months and three months has lived in the same block as Ms Carr for seven years and said the bugs left her sons legs covered in bites.

She said: “Environmental health came out and checked twice and said I had nothing.

“I was going for tests at hospital and they couldn’t work out what it was – they thought it was a rash and I even had tests on my liver.

“Then we got someone else in to check and they said the sofa was smothered in them, they were in every room.

“It’s ongoing. I’ve chucked out four of my son’s beds two of mine, four Moses baskets, four sofas, all the curtains, I’ve got no carpets upstairs.”

Lisa Veal, single mum-of-two living in the same block said two years ago the infestation was “very very bad,” and left her “shocked and upset.”

Despite the residents’ repeated complaints to the council the block remains riddled with the parasites.

However, a Southampton city council spokesperson said: “Our pest control team was called to a property in Dempsey Close in April 2015 to address a bed bug problem following a call from one of our tenants. We carried out a course of treatments to resolve the problem which in this case was at no cost to the tenant. We have received no further contact on this issue since that time.

“Southampton City Council’s Tenancy Agreement clearly states that it is the responsibility of the tenant to keep the property free from pests and vermin and not to encourage their presence.

“However, where it can be demonstrated that the tenant is not responsible for the infestation the council may consider paying for the treatment.

“The final decision is always made by the council following the advice of our Pest Control Team.”


According to one Hampshire pest control company, bed bugs are on the rise.

Information on the JG Pest Control website says: “Bed bugs are on the rise – their numbers have increased significantly over the past 10 years.

“As the pests reached the brink of extinction, cheap air travel allowed people to visit destinations where the bugs still thrived; bringing them back to towns and cities in the UK.

“Problems with bed bugs in Hampshire stem from the overly populated area, as well as the sheer amount of hotels, hostels and shared housing.

“In heavy infestations, a build-up of faeces may result in streams of blood on material when water or chemicals are added.

“Bedbug faeces are often found in the bed frame itself and headboards.

“Once matured, bed bugs can be seen, ranging in size between an apple pip and a small finger nails. Bed bugs shed their skin leaving static shells that look like bugs.

“These are a good indicator of an infestation being present over some time.

“In later stages bed bugs omit a strong, sweet odour; not too dissimilar to almonds.

“Bedding should be stripped and washed on a cycle above 60°C.”

Jazz musician claims landlord planted bedbugs in his apt


jazz.jpgAn elderly Manhattan jazz musician believes his landlord is trying to drum him out of his rent-controlled East Village apartment.

Wilbert Perry, 79, pays $380 a month for an East 10th Street pad where market-rate rents are $4,000. He’s lived there for 37 years.

He said in February his landlord requested access to his third-floor walk-up to install a new refrigerator. A building worker delivering the appliance noticed a crack in the kitchen ceiling, and told Perry it would need to be repaired immediately.

Perry told The Post that the repairmen left a gaping 6-by-10-foot hole in the ceiling overnight. Weeks later, Perry noticed his cat trying to “pull its fur out” because of bedbugs. Perry is convinced the bugs came from the ceiling.

Perry said he reported the problem to the building super in September and was told the railroad apartment needed to be fumigated. Prior to leaving the apartment, Perry said he was told to “bag up” his valuables and leave them in the kitchen.

When he returned three days later, he was shocked to find that all his belongings had been tossed, save for some clothes that were sent to the cleaners.

“This was done with a complete disregard for my rights as a tenant and respect for me as a human being,” Perry said.

The tenor sax player, who rubbed shoulders with the likes of Miles Davis, believes the series of events was a campaign of “harassment” designed to get him to move.

Perry said his landlord even offered to buy him a house in Florida or Detroit and pay him $1,000 a month for life.

The musician said the offer struck a sour note with him because the landlord figured he probably didn’t have long to live.

“They were calculating my life!” an incredulous Perry told The Post. “I told him, ‘I may fool you!’”

Perry wants to be reimbursed $10,000 for “everything they took,” including a laptop, his bed, desk, couch, bathroom and kitchen possessions, mementos — including African-American garb he donned for a role in a small film — astrology books, a charcoal sketch and his Lehman College degree.

He filed a police report at the 9th Precinct station house Oct. 3.

But Perry’s landlord, Robert Perl, denied any harassment, and said, “This is maybe one of the most perfect examples of no good deed goes unpunished.

“We have done so much to try and help Mr. Perry. Not just now, but through the years. He’s a good man, he doesn’t have much money, so we’ve bent over backwards to try and help him. The apartment was in very bad shape. We’ve treated the man with respect. But he had a bedbug infestation.”

He called Perry’s $10,000 price-tag “nonsense,” saying Perry knew what was being discarded and that “much of the items could be classified as garbage.”

Perl, who believes Perry created the bedbug problem, admitted he offered Perry a deal to move elsewhere, but said the jazz musician can stay in the East Village apartment “as long as he likes.”

“Not all landlords are scumbags,” Perl said.

The landlord said he is willing to discuss a settlement.

Zika travel advisory for Miami Beach on indefinite hold


2009 shot of Ocean Drive (Credit: chensiyuan) and a mosquito

The Centers for Disease Control will indefinitely retain its travel advisory warning pregnant women to avoid the Zika zone in Miami Beach.

The CDC’s decision to retain the Zika-based advisory may extend it into the time slot of Art Basel, the annual art show that attracts visitors from around the world to Miami Beach, scheduled December 1-4 this year.

The travel advisory will be 45 days old on Monday. The CDC has lifted such advisories after 45 days if transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus appears to have abated.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine learned Friday in an email from CDC Director Tom Frieden that the travel advisory for the city would remain in effect after two new Zika cases emerged in Miami Beach on October 8 and October 17.

The Florida Department of Health reported the new Zika cases on Friday. It was unclear if the new cases were the direct cause of the CDC’s decision to retain the travel advisory for Miami Beach.

Levine told the Miami Herald he would have preferred earlier notice from the state health department so he could inform hotels and other businesses in South Beach sooner. [Miami Herald] — Mike Seemuth        

Zika Cases in San Diego County Rise to 22, Health Officials Concerned About Outbreak


Zika cases in San Diego County have risen to 22 and that number is expected to increase, according to local health officials.

All of the local cases involve people who contracted Zika from another country and one was sexually transmitted, says Dr. Dayone Thihalolipavan, Deputy Public Health Officer for the Health & Human Services Agency.

But health officials from the Health & Human Services Agency in San Diego told NBC 7, they are preparing for the possibility of a local outbreak especially since more travel is expected to countries where Zika is present due to the Olympics.

Concerns over Zika increased in the U.S. after the mosquitos in Florida tested positive for the virus and could be the cause of two possible non-travel related cases.

“We are internally planning, very actively. I think the Florida case has made it very real,” Thihalolipavan said.

In California, two babies were born with Zika-related defects, the California Department of Public Health confirmed on Thursday. The mothers of the babies had spent time in countries where the virus is circulating.

Thihalolipavan says that San Diego has all the elements needed for a local outbreak due to people traveling this summer. America’s Finest City is also home to the Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes which are known to be more likely to spread Zika.

But according to Thihalolipavan, there are no local transmissions, meaning there have been no Zika cases that were contracted locally.

“Most people to get Zika don’t get any symptoms or get very mild symptoms — low grade fever, rash, joint pain or redness in their eye,” he said.

Thihalolipavan says to help prevent an outbreak; the effort has to come from everyone.

“Even if you don’t travel during the summer, it’s always important to stay vigilant to prevent protect and report,” he said.

He advises San Diegans to wear long sleeves and use mosquito repellants.