- The ameba, Naegleria fowleri, found in warm freshwater caused the death of two people with a regular history of irrigating their sinuses with tap water.
- The West Nile virus outbreak.
- New tick-borne virus: the Heartland virus.
An ameba found in warm and hot springs that can infect bathers by traveling up the victim's nose to the brain has been identified by the CDC as the cause of two deaths in 2011. The ameba—Naegleria fowleri—was found in each victim's home water system. Both victims irrigated their sinuses with net pots and tap water on a regular basis. This is the first time that the ameba has been found in the home.
- Avoid putting you head under water when bathing in a natural warm/hot spring or other warm bodies of water.
- Use purified water for nasal irrigation.
See http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/ for more information.
The West Nile virus is spreading, perhaps due to a hotter summer than normal. The mosquitoes responsible for the virus are most active at dawn and dusk. Human cases tend to peak in early fall when the mosquitoes responsible for transmitting the virus tend to have the highest levels of the virus in their system. Roughly 80% of infected persons will be asymptomatic, 20% will develop flu-like S/Sx, and less than 1% are at risk of death. The risk of death increases with age in persons over 50 years old.
- Mosquito netting.
- Use insect repellent with on of the following ingredients: DEET, picardin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus (or a synthetic version of this oil, called PMD), or IR3535.
See http://www.cdc.gov/features/StopMosquitoes/ for more information.
The CDC has found—and named—a new tick-borne virus in the United States. The "Heartland virus" is related to a virus recently discovered in China and potentially spread by the lone start tick found throughout the Atlantic seaboard and the south. Clinitions are advised to consider infection by the virus for tick-bit persons who do not get better with antibiotics.
See http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/ for more information on tick-bourne illnesses.
Ticks can be found in most grasslands and forests worldwide. Outbreaks of tick-related illnesses follow seasonal patterns—March through September—as ticks evolve from larvae to adults. Ticks require blood to survive and have multiple hosts throughout their lifespan. As such, they act as vectors for numerous infectious diseases hosting different forms of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that they deliver via saliva when they feed. In addition to transmitting numerous diseases, proteins in their saliva may cause allergic reactions. Tick size ranges from those that are easily seen to almost undetectable. Hard ticks—so called because they have a hard back plate—attach and feed for hours to days. Disease transmission usually occurs near the end of a meal, as the tick becomes full of blood. Soft ticks do not have a back plate and typically feed for less than an hour; disease transmission may occur in seconds. While most tick bites are painless, some soft tick bites produce intense pain.
- It is important to find and immediately remove any ticks (see below).
- Do a thorough check for ticks periodically during the day, before sleeping, and upon awakening.
- Remove and shake clothing before going inside a tent or shelter.
- Wear light-colored or white long pants, long sleeved shirts, and socks so ticks can be more easily seen; pull socks over pant cuffs.
- Use DEET on skin and permethrin on clothing.
Ticks have barbed mouthpieces that firmly anchor them to a host while feeding. Using a small pair of tweezers or forceps grasp the tick as close to its head as possible and gently pull straight out; avoid twisting. Ideally the head will come free with the body leaving a small crater behind. Destroy the tick and thoroughly wash your hands, instruments, and the bite site with soap and water and apply 10% povidone iodine to the site; contact with tick tissue and fluids can transmit disease. Circle the site with a felt-tipped marker and monitor it over the next few days for a rash or infection.