Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Nov 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

West Nile Discoveries

mosquito1SLUG REPORT > UC Santa Cruz professor publishes West Nile findings

West Nile Virus came to the United States in 1999, originally appearing in New York and quickly spreading throughout North, South, and Central America. The reason for the  quick spread of the disease has been attributed to the fact that the virus harbors itself in mosquitoes and birds, two species that humans have a surprising amount of contact with. In many cases, the increase of deaths in the local bird population is a large indicator of West Nile within a community.

A. Marm Kilpatrick, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, recently published a paper in the Oct. 21 issue of Science Magazine that delves deeper into just how and where West Nile transmits itself.

“The most important conclusion from the Science paper is that West Nile virus is emblematic of the consequences of combining globalization of trade and travel with human altered habitats,” Kilpatrick writes in an email to Good Times. “There is pretty solid evidence that West Nile virus was introduced into North America through human trade or travel (perhaps an infected mosquito on an airplane).”

Kilpatrick obtained his bachelors degree at UC Los Angeles, but states that his interest in disease ecology came during his PhD studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I got interested in wildlife diseases (and those that infect people and animals) because it is an area where we really haven't invested that much research effort,” writes Kilpatrick. “As a result, there are some really big questions that still need answering, and thus I feel like I can make real meaningful contributions.”

Kilpatrick joined UCSC in 2008, and currently is doing research on a variety of diseases from Lyme disease to avian influenza.

“I was excited to join the department because of the quality of the faculty and students here, and the range of topics that the faculty works on. Plus, it's a beautiful place to live and work.”

When asked about ways in which West Nile Virus can be prevented, Kilpatrick says that in humans, prevention is “relatively straight-forward.” Simply make sure to wear bug repellent, long sleeves, and long pants during the peak of the West Nile Virus season, which is considered to span from July to September. However, Kilpatrick states that on a larger scale, citizens can begin prevention in their own backyards.

“There are things we can each do to decrease the larval habitat for mosquitoes—getting rid of tires, and buckets and other things that hold water (cleaning out your gutters),” he says. “This can make a difference if a whole community takes part. However, it's also useful to think about how the way we use land and landscape our property influences the birds and their abundance around us.”

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by sunshine johnson, October 23, 2011
Recently a friend's Brother-in-Law received a double lung transplant. The donors kidneys and liver went to three other recipients. All went well the lungs were showing no sign of rejection and we all thought it would end well. Then the man started having a fever and feeling sick. When he went to his Dr. they ran some tests that indicated the donor had been infected with West Nile Disease. The young man died this week and the other recipients are all critical and not expected to live.
Isn't there some sort of testing that can be done, BEFORE placing organs into people, that could find this sort of infection??

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Over Hills and Plains, Riding a White Horse, Bow and Arrows in Hand

Saturday, early morning, the sun enters and radiates the light of Sagittarius. Three hours later, the Sagittarius new moon (0.07 degrees) occurs. “Let food be sought,” is the personality-building keynote. “Food” means experiences; all kinds, levels and types. It also means real food. Sag’s secret is their love of food. Many, if not musicians, are chefs. Some are both. The energies shift from Scorpio’s deep and transformative waters to the “hills and plains of Sagittarius.” Sag is the rider on a white horse, eyes focused on the mountain peaks of Capricorn (Initiation) ahead. Like Scorpio, Sagittarius is also the “disciple.” Adventure, luck, optimism, joy and the beginnings of gratitude are the hallmarks of Sagittarius. Sag is also one of the signs of silence. The battle lines were drawn in Libra and we were asked to choose where we stood. The Nine Tests were given in Scorpio and we emerged “warriors triumphant.” Now in Sag, we are to be the One-Pointed Disciple, riding over the plains on a white horse, bow and arrows in hand, eyes focused on the Path of Return ahead. Sagittarians are one-pointed (symbol of the arrow). Sag asks, “What is my life’s purpose?” This is their quest, from valleys, plains, meadows and hills, eyes aimed always at the mountaintop. Sag emerges from Scorpio’s deep waters, conflict and tests into the open air. Sag’s quest is humanity’s quest. Sag’s quest, however, is always accompanied by music and good food.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 21

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Ashby Confections

Local chocolate maker talks chocolate and self control

 

What should be on everyone’s bucket list?

Hang gliding, because you're free as a bird. Jenni, Santa Cruz, Student/Administrative Assistant

 

Soquel Vineyards

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it’s time to be thinking about the wine you’re going to serve with that special dinner, be it turkey, ham, a roast, or something vegetarian or vegan.

 

Pie Fidelity

A little Thanksgiving help, plus sip and shop locally at the Art, Wine and Gift Bazaar