When small bugs cause big problems: This insect’s bite can lead to heart disease



A rare parasitic disease that can lead to heart failure or stroke may be more common in the United States than many medical providers realize, with an estimated 300,000 people affected.

Chagas disease is spread by an insect known as the kissing bug. An estimated 8 million people in Central and South America are infected, but the disease has also been reported in several American states — Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Arizona, and Massachusetts.

Most people infected will not develop any signs or symptoms, but about 30 percent of those with the parasite can become chronically ill. The American Heart Association in a new report urges physicians in the U.S. to be aware of the possibility that their patients carry this potentially dangerous infection.

Here is what you need to know about the disease.

What is Chagas disease?

Chagas disease is an infectious disease caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi. The parasite spreads to people and animals via the Triatomine bug, an insect that carries the parasite in its feces. It is also known as the kissing bug because it tends to bite humans around the mouth or eyes, usually at night. Parasites enter then make their way in through the bite, rub or scratch.

The disease is most common in Central and South America, but it has also been diagnosed in people in the U.S., Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

In the U.S., the disease has mostly been reported in southern states but also in Massachusetts. Most people in the U.S. with the disease were likely infected before arriving in the country, according to the American Heart Association.

The parasite can hide in the body for decades.

How does Chagas disease spread?

Most cases of Chagas occur following an insect bite. It can also spread from a pregnant woman to her baby, and through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, consumption of uncooked food contaminated with the feces of infected bugs or accidental laboratory exposure, the CDC said.

Chagas does not spread from person to person through normal contact with people or animals.

Experts also say it’s safe for a mother who has Chagas disease to breastfeed, as long as she does not have blood in the breast milk or cracked nipples.

What are the signs, symptoms and long-term health impact of Chagas disease?

Initial symptoms may include fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, and rash. There can also be local swelling where the bite happened and the parasite entered the body. These symptoms usually go away in days to weeks. Rarely, young children can develop severe inflammation to the heart muscle or brain in the initial phase.

The chronic phase of the disease can occur in about 30 percent of infected people and involve cardiac complications, including heart rhythm problems, heart muscle malfunction, stroke, cardiac arrest or and even sudden death.

About 70 percent of people do not develop any signs or symptoms, and hence the recent warning asking physicians to be attuned to the disease.

“Chagas disease causes early mortality and substantial disability, which often occurs in the most productive population, young adults, results in a significant economic loss,” said Maria Carmo Pereira Nunes, the doctor and co-chair of the committee that produced the American Heart Association statement in a written comment to ABC News.

What is the treatment?

Chagas disease is treated with anti-trypanosomal medication (nifurtimox or benznidazole), which is only available through CDC.

Who is at risk and how can you minimize risk?

Experts believe that most of about 300,000 people are living with Chagas disease in the U.S. had the infection before arriving in the country.

For people living or traveling in in heavily-affected countries, the World Health Organization recommends avoiding unpasteurized sugar cane juice or acai fruit juice which can be contaminated with insect feces containing the parasite and avoiding houses with unplastered adobe walls or thatch roofs.

Aditi Vyas, M.D. specializes in radiology and occupational and environmental medicine and is a resident in the ABC Medical Unit.


Blood Sucking ‘Kissing Bugs’ Are Spreading Deadly Chagas Disease Across The United States

Silent killer infected as many as 300,000 in the United States.

A deadly disease spread by kissing bugs is spreading across the United States.

According to a Forbes report, the critters spread Chagas disease, which is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Kissing bugs carry the parasite, and eventually, any potential infection transmitted to human hosts can cause heart damage. The insects get their name because of a tendency to bite near the lips or eyes with a so-called “kiss.” The bugs then defecate near the wound they left, contributing to the spread of the parasite.

Previously, the disease was more prevalent in Latin and South America, but more recently it has spread to the United States. So far at least 300,000 residents of at least 28 states have been infected with Chagas disease, according to a Fox News report. Worldwide, as many as 8 million people have contracted the potentially deadly infection. Roughly 20 to 30 percent of people who get bitten by the bugs become infected with the disease, which can lead to heart failure, stroke, irregular heartbeat, or even sudden death. The condition is often called the silent killer because it wrecks havoc silently in the body until it’s too late.

Treatment includes anti-parasitic medications like benznidazole or nifurtimox as soon as possible after contracting the disease. Unfortunately, it can take as long as a decade before infected individuals experience symptoms, and by that point, it can often be too late for effective treatment. Swelling near the original bite could be the only initial symptom. People who suspect they’ve been bitten by one of these insects should contact their doctors soon after the bite to determine the best course of treatment.


Dangerous parasitic disease caused by ‘kissing bugs’ has sickened 300,000 Americans – and doctors warn it is spreading across the U.S.http://ow.ly/rWG630lxVRH 

Currently, the kissing bug is often found in Texas, Florida, and Southern California — but it is spreading to other states as well. In addition to catching the disease from a bite, the disease can also be spread through blood transfusions.

While researchers work to develop a vaccine to protect against the disease, the situation continues spreading — not enough people comprehending the devastating effects that the bugs can have on victims if left untreated. In a bit of additional bad news, the financial fallout from the disease may cost as much as $7.19 billion per year, which means that efforts to control both the kissing bugs and the disease must increase.

In an online statement, Caryn Bern, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California in San Francisco, said, “Early detection of Chagas disease is critical, allowing prompt initiation of therapy when the evidence for a cure is strong.”

So far, researchers have identified 11 species of kissing bugs in the United States. Nearly 50 percent of the insects are infected with the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

This ‘kissing bug’ could kill you

This nasty little bugger could be the kiss of death.

A biting insect prone to chomping on lips — unofficially dubbed the “kissing bug” — has become a terrifying menace after researchers revealed that up to 30 percent of its victims develop life-threatening health problems, including heart disease and sudden death.

They say the inset has stepped up its presence in the U.S., attacking at least 300,000 residents across 40 states, including in Pennsylvania, after plaguing Central and South America for years.

The triatomine bug, which also bites people on or near their eyes, sucks blood then poops near the bite. Its excrement carries a parasite that causes Chagas disease.

The long-term effects of the parasite in the bloodstream is worrying experts.

A person can go years without any symptoms and then suffer heart failure, stroke, irregular heart beat, or sudden death, Forbes reported.

About 20 to 30 percent of the people who are infected develop Chagas.

The disease also can be spread through blood transfusions and organ donation, though most U.S. blood banks screen for the parasite.

The kissing bug is most commonly found in Texas, Florida and Southern California.

Doctors say widespread screening and early treatment for the parasite are needed to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Chagas disease, caused by a parasite, has spread outside of Latin America and carries a high risk of heart disease


DALLAS, Aug. 20, 2018 — Chagas disease, caused by infection with a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi (T cruzi), causes chronic heart disease in about one third of those infected. Over the past 40 years, Chagas disease has spread to areas where it had not traditionally been seen, including the United States, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

The statement. summarizes the most up-to-date information on diagnosis, screening and treatment of T cruzi infection. Infection occurs when feces from the infected blood sucking insect triatomine enters the skin through the bite site or in the eye. Triatomine insects are found in Central and South America, where they infest adobe houses and in the Southern United States. The disease can also be passed through contaminated food or drink, from pregnant mothers to their babies, and through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

The health risks of Chagas disease are well-known in Latin America where most cases are found in countries that include Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Mexico and El Salvador. However, doctors outside of Latin America are largely unaware of the infection and its connection to heart disease. Countries where infected individuals have been diagnosed include the United States with an estimated 300,000 cases, Spain with at least 42,000 cases, Italy, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

“This statement aims to increase global awareness among physicians who manage patients with Chagas disease outside of traditionally endemic environments,” said Maria Carmo Pereira Nunes, M.D., Ph.D, co-chair of the committee that produced the statement. “This document will help healthcare providers and health systems outside of Latin America recognize, diagnose and treat Chagas disease and prevent further disease transmission,” said Pereira Nunes, who is a cardiologist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Although 60-70 percent of people infected with T cruzi never develop any symptoms, those that do can develop heart disease, including heart failure, stroke, life threatening ventricular arrhythmias (heart rhythm abnormalities) and cardiac arrest. In the Americas, Chagas disease is responsible for more than seven times as many disability-adjusted life-years lost as malaria. However, if caught early, an infection can be cured with medications that have a 60 to 90 percent success rate, depending on when in the course of infection the patient is treated.

“Early detection of Chagas disease is critical, allowing prompt initiation of therapy when the evidence for cure is strong,” said statement co-author Caryn Bern, M.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California in San Francisco.

The risk of infection is extremely low for most travelers and residents of endemic countries. To minimize risk, people should avoid sleeping in houses with un-plastered adobe walls and/or thatch roofs, and avoid unpasteurized sugar cane juice, açai fruit juice and other juices when visiting affected countries.

Other co-authors are Andrea Beaton, M.D., Harry Acquatella, M.D.; Ann F. Bolger, M.D.; Luis E. Echeverría Correa, M.D.; Walderez O. Dutra, Ph.D.; Joaquim Gascon, M.D., Ph.D.; Carlos A. Morillo, M.D.; Jamary Oliveira-Filho, M.D., M.S., Ph.D.; Antonio Luiz Pinho Ribeiro, M.D., Ph.D.; and Jose Antonio Marin-Neto, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical and device manufacturers and health insurance providers are available at www at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/aha-financial-information.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Chagas Disease Spreading in U.S., Europe

by Seth Augenstein

Chagas disease, which causes chronic heart disease in approximately a third of cases, has been spreading for decades in the United States. But it’s a silent epidemic: a majority of cases never develop any symptoms at all.

It’s now resulted in enough infections to prompt an official scientific statement from the American Heart Association.

Some 300,000 people in the United States are infected with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi which causes the disease. But most doctors outside of Latin America, where the disease is most prevalent, are not generally aware of the infection and its connection to the deadly cardiac degeneration, according to the organization’s scientific statement in the journal Circulation.

“This statement aims to increase global awareness among physicians who manage patients with Chagas disease outside of traditionally endemic environments,” said Maria Carmo Pereira Nunes, a cardiologist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, and co-chair of the committee that produced the statement.

Kissing bug. Photo: Shutterstock

Between 60 and 70 percent of the infected never show symptoms. But for a third of the unlucky ones, chronic heart disease, failure, strokes and arrhythmias, and heart attacks are all the end product of the parasite, according to the scientific literature.

The tropical disease is spread by bug bites. In the American South, this is primarily the kissing bug, a dime-size insect that bites a person about the mouth or eyes. An in-depth investigation by the Dallas Morning News and local TV station NBC 5 in 2015 looked at the prevalence of the disease – and how researchers from Texas A&M were asking for help from the public to better understand the epidemiology of the parasite spread.

In the Western Hemisphere, Chagas is responsible for more than seven times as many disability adjusted life-years lost as malaria.

A majority of the infections – between 60 and 90 percent – can be cured with interventions if caught early enough.

Study: Bed bug ‘bombs’ don’t work

Do-it-yourself “bombs” or “foggers” that target bugs by filling entire rooms with aerosol insecticide are billed as an easy, cost-effective alternative to pricey pro exterminators. Although these products are indeed cheap, retailing at hardware stores for around $10, if you use them on bed bugs you’re likely to get what you pay for.

In a new study, the first of its kind to be published, entomologists at Ohio State University tested three commercially available foggers – sold under the Hot Shot, Spectracide, and Eliminator brands, respectively – and concluded that all three products were virtually useless at fighting bed bug infestations.

Bed bugs in houses and apartments tend to be resistant to the insecticides used in most foggers, the study found, and even non-resistant bugs are likely to survive a fogging because the mist of chemicals doesn’t appear capable of penetrating the cracks in furniture and walls where bed bugs usually hide.

“Based on our findings, bug bombs should not be used for crawling insects such as bed bugs,” says lead researcher Susan C. Jones, Ph.D., an associate professor at the university. “These products shouldn’t even be labeled for bed bugs.”

Only one of the products tested, the Hot Shot Bedbug & Flea Fogger, specifically calls out bed bugs on its label, while the others refer broadly to “crawling” or “biting” insects.

Bed bugs are a major nuisance but generally don’t pose a threat to health, as their bites rarely cause more than itching welts or the occasional allergic reaction. Foggers, on the other hand, can be hazardous if used incorrectly.

In a 2008 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that at least 466 fogger-related injuries or illnesses were documented across eight states between 2001 and 2006. The most common ill effects—such as headaches, nausea, and coughing – tended to be minor and short-lived, although hospitalization was required in 21 cases.

Most incidents apparently involved people who didn’t leave the room quickly enough after setting off a fogger, or who reentered a room too soon. In addition, Jones says, the insecticides found in foggers (known as pyrethroids and pyrethrins) can contaminate surfaces such as kitchen counters, and the aerosol propellant used to disperse them is flammable.

The new study, which appears in the Journal of Economic Entomology, suggests that foggers are so ineffective against bed bugs that they probably don’t warrant even the small risk of harmful insecticide exposure or other hazards.

Jones and her colleagues began by collecting five different populations of bed bugs from residences in Columbus, Ohio. As a control group, they added a sixth population, known as the Harlan strain, that has been cultivated in alaboratory – and carefully sheltered from pesticides – since 1973.

The researchers then placed the various bed bug populations in petri dishes and exposed them to the foggers in a campus building slated for demolition. After one test, Jones recalls, “the Harlan bugs were keeled over and all of our field populations [were] just scurrying around as if nothing ever happened to them,” which suggests the non-laboratory bugs were resistant to the insecticide.

In a second series of tests, the researchers added small shelters made of paper discs or cloth to the petri dishes. These shelters, which allowed the bugs to hide during fogging, were designed to mimic the bugs’ natural hideouts, such as the cracks and crevices in floorboards, along mattresses, and behind picture frames.

This time the fragile Harlan strain survived just fine. “The critical issue is that the droplets don’t penetrate cracks or crevices,” Jones says. “They don’t even get to where the bugs are hiding.”

So is there any way to get rid of these elusive critters?

Professional exterminators can wipe out an infestation, but they charge hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, Jones says. Simple measures such as putting sheets in the dryer for 30 minutes, scouring mattresses with paper towels, and using a credit card to crush bugs hidden in floor boards and bed frames also can help reduce a population, she adds.

United Industries Corporation, which makes all three of the products tested in the study, emphasized in a statement that only the Hot Shot brand fogger is designed to be used on bedbugs. The company stood by its line of Hot Shot products, saying they are “proven to be effective against bed bugs.”

The Hot Shot fogger “is particularly effective when used in in conjunction with our bedbug-killing direct sprays,” said John Pailthorp, the company’s division vice president of marketing. “We advise homeowners to follow up with a repeat, full-scale treatment one to two weeks after the initial fogging to ensure that bedbugs have been eradicated. And, as always, we recommend a professional evaluation if the problem is particularly severe.”

Jurors give $289 million to a man they say got cancer from Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller

(CNN)San Francisco jurors just ruled that Roundup, the most popular weedkiller in the world, gave a former school groundskeeper terminal cancer.

So they awarded him $289 million in damages — mostly to punish the agricultural company Monsanto.
Dewayne Johnson’s victory Friday could set a massive precedent for thousands of other cases claiming Monsanto’s famous herbicide causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial because doctors said he was near death. And in California, dying plaintiffs can be granted expedited trials.
Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict in a California superior court.

CNN reported last year that more than 800 patients were suing Monsanto, claiming Roundup gave them cancer.
Since then, hundreds more plaintiffs — including cancer patients, their spouses or their estates — have also sued Monsanto, making similar claims.
After three days of deliberations this week, the jury at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco awarded Johnson $250 million in punitive damages and about $39 million in compensatory damages.
It won’t change the fact that Johnson’s two sons might lose their dad soon. But it will help them live more comfortably, Johnson’s attorney Timothy Litzenburg said.
Doctors weren't sure Johnson would live long enough to see his trial.

“He’s going to live the rest of that time in extreme comfort,” Litzenburg said.
After the verdict, Monsanto issued a statement saying it stands by the studies that suggest Roundup does not cause cancer.
“We will appeal this decision and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective and safe tool for farmers and others,” Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said.
But Litzenburg said an appeal would be costly for Monsanto, since the company would have to pay interest on the damages while the case is being appealed. That’s about $25 million a year, he said.

Lesions on much of his body

Johnson, 46, applied Roundup weedkiller 20 to 30 times per year while working as a groundskeeper for a school district near San Francisco, his attorneys said.
He testified that during his work, he had two accidents in which he was soaked with the product. The first accident happened in 2012.
Two years later, in 2014, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
On bad days, Johnson is too crippled to speak. Lesions cover as much as 80% of his body.
Johnson had lesions on most of his body, a doctor said.

Litzenburg said the most heartbreaking part of Johnson’s testimony was when the father of two described telling his sons that he had terminal cancer. Johnson’s wife now works two 40-hour-per-week jobs to support the family, Litzenburg said.

How carcinogenic (or not) are Roundup and glyphosate?

The big questions at stake were whether Roundup can cause cancer and, if so, whether Monsanto failed to warn consumers about the product’s cancer risk. The jury sided with Johnson on both.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said the key ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
“For the herbicide glyphosate, there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” the report states.
But Monsanto has long maintained that Roundup does not cause cancer, and that the IARC report is greatly outnumbered by studies saying glyphosate is safe.
“More than 800 scientific studies, the US EPA, the National Institutes of Health and regulators around the world have concluded that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer,” said Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of strategy.
He highlighted the Agricultural Health Study, which studied the effects of pesticides and glyphosate products on farmers and their spouses from 1993 to 2013.
“Many had already been using Roundup and other formulated products (since) it first came on the market,” Partridge said.
summary of that study said “no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including NHL (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).”
“We all have sympathy for Mr. Johnson,” Partridge said this week. “It’s natural he’s looking for answers. Glyphosate is not the answer.”
Johnson watches in court as the first cancer patient to take Monsanto to trial over Roundup.

But Litzenburg said glyphosate isn’t the big problem — Roundup is. He said the interaction between glyphosate and other ingredients in Roundup cause a “synergistic effect” that makes the product more carcinogenic.
Monsanto spokeswoman Charla Lord disputed that notion, saying regulatory authorities help ensure Roundup as a whole is safe.
“The safety of each labeled use of a pesticide formulation must be evaluated and approved by regulatory authorities before it is authorized for sale,” she said.
But Litzenburg said Friday’s verdict should be a huge wake-up call to the EPA.
“I think it’s going to make people sit up and make government agencies take a closer look at banning (Roundup),” Litzenburg said.

What did Johnson have to prove?

While it was medically impossible to prove Roundup caused Johnson’s terminal illness, it’s also impossible for Monsanto to prove Roundup did not cause his cancer.
Thousands of other plaintiffs are awaiting trial, claiming Roundup causes cancer.

“Cancer is a very difficult case to try,” Litzenburg said. “You can’t X-ray it or biopsy it and come back with what caused it.”
In this case, Monsanto was not required to prove anything. The burden of proof was on Johnson, the plaintiff.
But that doesn’t mean Johnson’s attorneys had to prove Roundup was the sole cause of his cancer. All they had to prove was whether Roundup was a “substantial contributing factor” to his illness.
“Under California law, that means Mr. Johnson’s cancer would not have occurred but for his exposure to Roundup,” Monsanto spokeswoman Lord said.
She noted that it’s possible his cancer could have developed from something unrelated to Roundup.
The majority of lymphoma cases are idiopathic — meaning the cause is unknown, according to the American Cancer Society.
Litzenburg agreed that most non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases have not been linked to one primary reason in the past. But he said the tide is starting to turn — similar to how it took decades for people to learn that tobacco can be a big contributing factor for lung cancer.
“You can’t take a lung cancer tumor and run a test that proves that tobacco caused that cancer. … You’re seeing the same thing here,” Litzenburg said. “I think we’re in the beginning of that era of this dawning on us as a country — as a public — the connection between these two things.”

Thousands of cases to follow

Johnson hugs one of his lawyers after the jury awarded him $289 million in damages.

Litzenburg said he and other attorneys have more than 4,000 similar cases awaiting trial in various state courts.
He estimates another 400 cases have been filed in federal multidistrict litigation, or MDL.
MDL is similar to a class-action lawsuit because it consolidates pre-trial proceedings for the sake of efficiency. But unlike a class-action lawsuit, each case within an MDL gets its own trial — with its own outcome.
In other words, one MDL plaintiff might get a large settlement, while another plaintiff might get nothing.
No dates have been set for those MDL trials, Litzenburg said.
But one advantage of filing in state court — as Johnson did — instead of through MDL is that state courts sometimes produce outcomes faster. And that can be priceless for terminally ill patients.
Litzenburg said Friday’s verdict is historic, especially since Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world.
“This is a big victory for human health worldwide,” he said.

Bedbug Problem At Owasso’s Macy’s Distribution Center, Employees Claim

Brian Dorman, News on 6

Workers at Owasso’s Macy’s Fulfillment Center say there’s a bedbug problem that started out small and is getting bigger.

There are concerns for the workers at the distribution center, but also claims that the bedbugs have the possibility of getting shipped out to homes all around the country.

“I’ve confronted management about it and was basically told to keep my mouth shut about it, not to cause panic,” said Macy’s employee Kathy Woodson.

Woodson has worked at the Owasso facility for two years. She admits she will likely get fired for speaking out, but says it’s worth it if something’s done. She says she’s tired of staying silent after nearly a dozen complaints.

“Asking them what we should do if we take them home with us, basically we’re on our own,” said Woodson. “Customers wouldn’t be able to pinpoint that they came from us, just to be hush about it.”

One employee who has worked there for three years and wanted to remain anonymous wrote, “The bugs just became a problem last year. People have found most bedbugs in the packing department and that’s where they pack customers’ orders and send them to shipping to be shipped out.”

Another employee wrote that “[i]t is absolutely a problem because I got them from work. I know the bugs have been spotted in prep, pack, and home dept.”

“Have seen them personally. They are in all departments and have been there for a while,” yet another employee said. “They’ve been taken to the managers and then the VP and still nothing.”

Andrea Schwartz, the Vice President of Media for Macy’s, said she has never heard about the problem at the Owasso distribution center.

Schwartz also said, “It’s a big company. I have the whole country. Again, it’s not my job to be aware of every building.”

“I think they’re just trying to cover up,” stated Woodson. “I would like for them to take care of the problem.”

The company did not confirm or deny the presence of bedbugs but did release a statement, which reads:

“Macy’s is committed to ensuring the safety of our merchandise and packaging for our customers and to maintaining a safe and sanitary working environment for our colleagues. We routinely inspect our distribution facilities and have ongoing preventative measures in place.

“Additionally, we work closely with our vendor partners to ensure the thousands of products coming through our facilities on daily basis meet our standards. If an issue is identified, we take swift action to address the situation.”

Health officials investigating “several cases” of West Nile, Zika virus in Alabama

“Mosquitoes can transmit viruses when they bite, causing illnesses that range from mild to severe or even fatal.”


Alabama health officials say there are investigations into several reported cases of Zika and West Nile virus.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, there have been three confirmed cases of Zika virus in the state since May.



Last week, Shelby County health officials began warning local residents about a confirmed case in Pelham.

“To date in Alabama, the Zika virus has only been identified in individuals known to have traveled to areas where Zika is known to be endemic,” the Alabama Department of Public Health said in a release Monday. “There has been no local transmission.”

An assistant professor in UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases will discuss the state of Zika at a 1:30 p.m. news conference. You can watch it here, on the WVTM 13 Facebook page or in the WVTM 13 News app.

CDC tips for prevention:

  • When going outdoors, use EPA-registered repellents containing 20 percent DEET on skin or permethrin on clothes. Follow label instructions carefully when using any repellent. Repellents should not be used on infants less than 2 months old.
  • Wear loose-fitting long sleeves and long pants.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air-conditioning, if available.
  • Empty standing water from items outside homes such as flowerpots, buckets, old tires and children’s pools.
  • Clean clogged gutters and clear drainage ditches and pipes of debris.

Zika symptoms

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Red eyes
  • Muscle pain

Symptoms can last for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Once a person has been infected with Zika, they are likely to be protected from future infections.

More Zika info:

What everyone needs to know about Zika

How Zika spreads/Protecting your family

Is bug spray enough to fight Zika?

Bed bugs can be found outside the home

By: James Gilbert

GREECE, NY (WROC) – Complaints of bed bugs were received by the Monroe County Health Department at the Barnes & Noble in Greece earlier last week.

Barnes & Noble told us the situation has been taken care of, saying in a statement

 “It is now safe for customers to shop at this store. We take the health and safety of our customers and booksellers very seriously.”

Bed bugs may often be associated with the home, but often the bug can be found in other settings.

“Bedbugs are always going to be where people spend the majority of their time,” said Exodus Exterminator’s general manager and co-owner Dale Larnder.

In an office setting, chairs can be one of the most common places. Bedbugs can be found just about anywhere at any time of year. They also travel well. “They could actually transport them to their work place, maybe a place they’re visiting, a retail setting, office, clinic, doctor’s office,” said Larnder.

Some blame may go on the workplace, but Larnder says the problem might be the person. “They’re experiencing bites, and they just equate that to, they’re just getting it at the work place.”

Treatment is insecticides over a few weeks, but heat treatments can do it in one day. The most important part it to get a quality inspection by a certified exterminator.