Geese May Hold Cure for West Nile, Cancer

A biotech company in based in North Dakota is developing a serum derived from geese, which they hope would treat everything from rabies to malaria, even cancer.

The serum was originally intended to protect people from the West Nile virus, but research group Avianax discovered that this serum may have the potential to treat a wide variety of illnesses.

Researchers found that geese can quickly produce antibodies after being exposed to a dead virus of any given disease. The antibody is then extracted from its egg yolk and used to create a serum to treat that particular disease.

“We have gone into researching its use of their antibodies for dengue fever, for pandemic influenza, malaria, rabies,” said Richard Glynn, a former goose farm manager who now heads Avianax. “We’re also working with a group on cancer.”

Glynn discovered this potential medical breakthrough in the summer of 2002, when Schiltz Farms in South Dakota suffered massive deaths among its geese due to West Nile virus. Glynn, who was the farm’s business manager at the time, noticed that geese who survived West Nile are super resistant to the virus. Schiltz Farms coordinated with veterinarians to collect antibodies from the blood of surviving geese.

The antibodies were then treated on the farm’s geese in 2004 and death loss due to West Nile dropped dramatically from 34,000 in 2002 to less than 2,000 in 2004.

Collaborating on the research is Dr. David Bradley, head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of North Dakota. According to Bradley, goose antibodies is safe than antibodies produced by most mammals, which cause inflammation as the human body tries to fight off the foreign antibody.

Researchers at Avianax anticipate human trials within a couple of years.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio

Louisiana Student Dies, West Nile Virus To Blame

A family in West Monroe, Louisiana, remains in mourning after their child Charly Pratt died over the weekend. Pratt was a fourth grader at Riverbend Elementary.

Early reports say Pratt’s death was caused by West Nile virus, but his relatives insist the mosquito-borne disease was not to blame. Investigation to find out his cause of death continues.

The State of Louisiana has reported one of its highest incidents of West Nile infection in years. According to Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, there are 39 new cases of West Nile, bringing the state’s total too 215 as of this posting. People in areas with high cases of the illness try to stay indoors to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes and become prone to the virus.

Some residents even believe in certain hypotheses that mosquitoes are attracted to certain people, that they give off secretions that mosquitoes get attracted to. The fact is anyone can be infected with West Nile virus, but not everybody would get terribly sick because of it.

Source: KNOE-TV

First Human West Nile Case in Southern Nevada Reported

A 75-year-old female is admitted in a Las Vegas hospital with a critical form of West Nile virus, making it the first case of human infection this year in the southern part of Nevada, according to Southern Nevada Health District.

Health district officials first reported about the presence of mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus in the 89107 zip code last August. Last year, there were 11 reported cases of the disease in Clark County, where Las Vegas is situated. In 2010, no human cases of West Nile were reported.

Humans contract West Nile virus from bites of infected mosquitoes, which acquired the virus from sucking the blood of infected birds. The disease does not spread from person to person.

Health district officials remind residents about following guidelines to prevent mosquito bites and eliminate possible breeding sources. This includes applying insect repellents containing DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus, wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, avoiding spending time outdoors during dusk and dawn, and eliminating any standing water.

Source: KLAS-TV

Texas Woman Holds West Nile Virus Awareness Event

As a tribute to her grandfather who died from West Nile virus infection, a woman based in Bellmead, Texas, is holding an awareness event this weekend about the mosquito-borne illness.

The “Fight The Bite” event will be held this Sunday (September 16th) at a local bar in nearby Waco, where participants can pick up information about the virus and the disease it brings, as, questions to pest-control experts, try out free samples of products, and even join a free raffle for various prizes. Organizer Donna Wiley (pictured) hopes to educate local residents on how to lower than chances of contracting West Nile virus.

Among the products that will be featured in the event include mosquito dunks that can be placed in small bodies of water to control mosquito population, as well as wet wipes that mosquito-repellents like DEET.

Wiley, an employee at the McLennan Community College library, has been planning the awareness event since her grandfather, 88-year-old Raymond Finn, died in July 22nd. At the time, only 13 residents of McLennan County had been diagnosed with West Nile virus.

As of this posting, the local case count is up to 40, with Finn being the only fatality.

Proceeds raised from the event will be donated to West Nile research, according to Wiley.

Any money raised at the event will be donated to West Nile research, Wiley said.

Source: Waco Tribune-Herald

Photo credit: Jerry Larson / Waco Tribune-Herald,

Protecting Your Horses from West Nile Virus

Not only does the West Nile virus infect birds and humans, it can also make horses really sick. Symptoms of West Nile virus among horses include rear limb buckling, knuckling over, and ataxia. As of this posting, 33 states had reported 186 equine cases of West Nile this year.

Mortality rate among horses with this disease is about 33%, or those who have weak immune systems rarely recover. Fortunately, there are ways to help reduce the risk of our horses from being exposed to the virus.

The most important tool for your horse is vaccination. While no veterinary-recommended vaccine is 100% effective, the vaccine for West Nile has a high rate of effectivity while having few side effects.

Another safe method is the reduce mosquito habitat on ranches and farms. Mosquitoes breed in mud and stagnant water, which is present in many farms. Here are ways to manage potential mosquito breeding grounds in horse properties:

* Pick up manure in paddocks and sacrifice area every one to three days. Getting rid of horse stool greatly decreases the build-up of mud.
* Pick up leftover hay, as any organic material would decompose and mix with mud.
* Install gutters and downspouts on all buildings, which divert rainwater away from confinement areas.
* Cover muddied areas with chipped wood, gravel, or sand. Make sure to put a thick layer–about three to six inches–of any of these footing throughout your paddock.
* Cover manure pile with tarp.

You can find many more life-saving tips on the source link!

Source: The Horse

West Nile Epidemic Causes Unwanted Paranoia, Fear Among Americans

The alarming increase of West Nile virus cases this year in the US has led to quite a number of responses. The record number of West Nile virus cases has prompted many states to announce a state of emergency as well as conduct measures to help curb down the threat as well as help bring down the mosquito population. But the recent reports in the media regarding the increase in West Nile virus cases has also led to some unnecessary responses from many people.

According to a report on CBS 11 News in Dallas, many people in the area have been straining the emergency response system by making those emergency calls trying to express fears of being bitten by a mosquito. Many people have been led to believe that a mosquito bite would get them the West Nile virus. It seems that the announcements and reports of the said epidemic have many people going into a fearful frenzy, bordering into paranoia.

According to MedStar Emergency Medical Services Public Affairs Director Matt Zavadsky, “We understand people’s concerns regarding the West Nile virus, but in the absence of any symptoms … a simple mosquito bite is really not a reason for someone to call 911.” He further added that having to address emergencies by sending ambulances just to check out mosquito bites will make these resources highly limited to address more legitimate emergencies such as car accidents and other life threatening situations.

The cause of concern is how news and the actual condition of the West Nile virus epidemic are being spread. The media may be putting the situation seemingly out of proportion, causing people to over react. While the news regarding the West Nile virus cases reaching record numbers this year by the CDC may be true and the media trying to repeat such reports by sensationalizing them, things can easily get out of hand. But while the West Nile virus may have the highest cases of infections and deaths reported this year than in any other year, the west Nile Virus may not be as highly infectious and fatal as most would expect. Those who may be seriously affected by the west Nile virus is still extremely low when taking into account the number of reported cases. The chances of an infection developing into a life-threatening condition and complications are still considered zero percent. It is the paranoia that the reports from the media as well as the CDC that seems to have further worsened the situation.

Source: Natural News

Wife of Dr. Oz Gets Sick with West Nile Virus

West Nile virus spares no one; it knows no social and economic status. This rings true as wife of television’s favorite doctor Dr. Oz contracted the dreaded virus last week.

In an interview with Inside Edition, Dr. Oz narrated how his wife, Lisa, unknowingly suffered from West Nile virus.

“She came to me complaining that her head was hurting. She couldn’t get out of bed.”

The wife thought she was having a flu, but Dr. Oz knew that was not the case.

“Four-fifths of people who get West Nile virus never knew they had it,” continued Dr. Oz. He simply gave his wife their usual vitamin supplements, but with extra vitamin D. She spent most of the week sleeping and got better afterwards.

Source: Inside Edition

West Nile Outbreak Expected To Last Until October

The West Nile outbreak is still continuing to affect many states in the US. There have been continuous outbreak alerts provided on several of the hardest hit states, Texas of which bore the brunt of the outbreak the most. The state reported nearly half of the West Nile cases this year and has reported the most deaths so far as a result of West Nile disease. Texas and the other states still have to bear the West Nile issue at least for a couple of months more.

According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the CDC, the West Nile outbreak may possibly extend well into October. Although health officials say that the outbreak has already peaked in August, there may still be cases reported until October. The problem is that a majority of West Nile virus infections do not always display symptoms prominently on most of the infected cases. On some people, the West Nile virus infection may sometimes not display the telltale symptoms for people to recognize it as such. In this case, many infections are not promptly being reported to the CDC.

In addition, the West Nile virus infections do not show any of the symptoms immediately. Some of those infected may go on for weeks not showing any signs of the West Nile infection. The CDC expects that such cases may go unnoticed for weeks or may only be reported later on when the symptoms begin to develop. It is on such cases that the CDC expects to receive way until October, before states can see the outbreak from waning further.

Many states have so far been able to control the mosquito population in their area by conducting frequent aerial pesticide spraying. Such actions have so far helped control the mosquito population in the hardest hit areas such as Texas. It is reported that the aerial spraying has reduced the number of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus from more than half of its population sometime in July to just a little less than 9 percent.

But still, the CDC expects to receive West Nile infection reports until October since most patients may delay screening and blood tests up until serious symptoms occur. They are still urging people to be wary of getting mosquito bites to prevent getting infected by using effective insect repellents regularly, especially when going outdoors. People should always be looking around their home for possible mosquito breeding grounds such as standing pools of water, especially after rainfalls in the area. People should try to get rid of such areas with standing water by either draining them out or by treating them with mosquito tablets that can kill mosquito larvae already breeding in the water.

Ohio Records 60 West Nile Virus Cases

Ohio health officials has confirmed its number of human infections from West Nile virus has increased to 60, more than twice the record documented three weeks ago.

Two residents–a 76-year-old man in Hamilton County and an 87-year-old man in Cuyahoga County–have died in what has been dubbed one of the worst summers for West Nile virus in Ohio, as well as across the United States. Across the state, 47 people have been hospitalized, with symptoms that began between July 10th and August 28th.

As of Friday, 36 of the state’s 88 counties had confirmed cases of West Nile in humans, mosquitoes, or horses, with Cuyahoga County having the most human cases with 21.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Texas Declares Worst Record in West Nile Virus

The State of Texas has declared 2012 its worst year for West Nile virus as half of the number of deaths from the illness in the United States come from the biggest state.

At least 43 people have died from West Nile in Texas, where the Department of State Health Services has recorded at least 510 cases of neuroinvasive West Nile, the most serious form of the illness since it affects the nervous system. The record is already worse compared in 2003, when the state had 439 neuroinvasive cases and 40 deaths.

Health officials say the numbers are expected to increase until mid-October, while it already reached its peak in August, especially in hard-hit northern areas that includes Dallas and Fort Worth.

Source: Huffington Post