West Nile virus

During the final presidential debate, research finally got some airtime. President Barack Obama noted that ’€œ’€¦ if we don’€™t continue to put money into research and technology that will allow us to create great businesses here in the United States, that’€™s how we lose to the competition.’€ Similarly, Mitt Romney emphasized his support for research, saying that ’€œI want to invest in research, providing funding to universities ’€¦ is great.’€ It was great to hear both candidates acknowledge the importance of research for the future. As they explained, investment in research is crucial for supporting universities, creating jobs and maintaining America’€™s competitive edge (three of...
Brian Vastag, science reporter at The Washington Post, recently found himself infected with the very disease he had been reporting on for months: West Nile virus. Detailing the raging fevers, interrupted sleep patterns and tingling in his arms and feet, he called himself a ’€œWest Nile zombie.’€ Brian’€™s story highlights the importance of research to develop new prevention, diagnostic and treatment methods for West Nile virus. It took eight weeks and several doctors before an infectious-disease specialist was able to correctly diagnose him with West Nile. Once diagnosed, he still had to endure the fevers, joint aches, headaches and interrupted work and simply wait for the virus to go away...
For the second week in a row, an article on the West Nile outbreak has made The Washington Post’€™s top stories. On September 12, the Post responded to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports indicating that 2012 may be the deadliest year yet for West Nile in the United States. The article suggests that each year may only get worse as human travel increasingly brings us into contact with infected animals, and the viruses continue to evolve. There is currently no vaccine and no effective drugs to treat West Nile. With this growing threat, federal support for neglected tropical disease research has never been more urgent. This research is necessary in order to protect the health...
As reported in the Washington Post, the number of West Nile virus cases in the U.S. is on the rise. Traditionally a disease that affects people in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, 48 states in the U.S. have reported cases in 2012 alone. Nearly 2,000 cases and 87 deaths, including one Wednesday in DC, have been reported overall. The West Nile virus, a neglected tropical disease or NTD, can cause flu-like symptoms or, in severe cases, even brain damage. Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, director of the Texas-based product development partnership Sabin Vaccine Institute, recently wrote a New York Times op-ed addressing the increasing thread of West Nile right here in the U.S., ’€œTropical Disease: The...
A recent unsigned editorial by Bloomberg View restates what we’ve been saying for some time: Americans are not immune from global health problems. The editorial focuses on West Nile virus and dengue, though there are certainly other diseases and conditions that were worthy of inclusion. Worldwide travel means diseases are more transmissible than ever, and climate change gives disease-carrying mosquitoes more hospitable climates, the editorial notes. And a lack of treatments exacerbates the problem. “Patients receive acetaminophen for fever and pain, fluids if they are dehydrated, and get-well wishes,” the editorial states. “No vaccines, no cures and no specific medicines exist to prevent or...

Sidebar Quote

Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco