Recent Newspaper & Online Columns by Kate Scannell MD

When mosquitoes go viral -- Public health at global crossroads

September 22, 2014

Tags: global warming, climate change, health, mosquitoes, west nile virus, chikungunya, dengue, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, California Department of Public Health, transboundary

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated columnist
First published in print: 09/21/2014

You can always find me in a crowd -- if you're a mosquito.

I could be concealed within total-body protective gear, adorned with mosquito-repellant bands on my ankles and wrists, lathered with DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus, topped with a permethrin-infused hat, and, still, if there's a mosquito within flying distance it will hunt me down and bite me. It will release pheromonal signals, inviting all its friends to join the blood fest.

It's not just the ferocious itching from these bites that bothers me. Or my cortisone---slathered ankles making it look as though I'm always wearing white athletic socks. Or being haunted by the nightmarish image of a blood-sucking mosquito that had been magnified to gigantic proportions in a pre-med biology seminar.

No, I'm primarily disturbed by the terrible efficiency of these biting creatures to transmit human diseases. Nasty diseases, like West Nile Virus, dengue fever, chikungunya virus, yellow fever and malaria.

In particular, mosquito-borne viral infections have been receiving much attention lately. The buzz is that many have been spreading beyond their traditional geographic confines due to shifts in mosquito habitats instigated by changes in temperature and precipitation associated with global warming. (more…)

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The buzz about mosquitoes and our West Nile virus outbreak

September 6, 2012

Tags: West Nile Virus, mosquitoes, mosquito abatement, physician advice, garden gnome, climate change

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated Columnist
First published in print: 09/02/2012

Delivering biting public viewpoints can sometimes sting -- always a risk when writing an opinion column. Still, I assume that risk and straightaway proclaim: I hate mosquitoes.

I know some readers will oppose my view. But I'll bet that, unlike me, they don't transmute into one huge welt, from head to toe, after a single stinging encounter with a mosquito. That they've never slapped themselves unconscious trying to kill a maniacally buzzing mosquito circling their ears. That perhaps they're behind in their reading, lacking updated news about West Nile virus in recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We currently face an outbreak of mosquito-borne WNV infection in the U.S. (more…)

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