Medical Notes this week…
If you’re heading outside here’s more reason to use insect repellant. A new report from the CDC shows that illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flee bites have more than tripled in the U.S. since 2004. Reported cases of diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West Nile, Zika, and Lyme disease increased to nearly 100,000 cases in 2016, and those are just the cases that officials know about. Many people get sick who are never reported. Experts say a warmer client means that ticks and mosquitoes are moving into areas where they couldn’t live before.
Chemicals used in fracking are often found in ground water supplies nearby. And now a study shows those chemicals could harm the immune systems of children exposed in utero. A study on mice in the journal Toxicological Sciences exposed pregnant mice to 23 fracking chemicals at levels similar to those found in ground water near fracking sites. Offspring grew up with abnormal immune systems and an inability in females to fend off diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
And finally, a few years in the future people with food poisoning may be able to drink a cocktail of viruses to get better. Researchers using a simulated small intestine have demonstrated that viruses can attack and kill E. coli without harming nearby beneficial bacteria. The study in the journal Gut Microbes predicts that when the technique is perfected viral cocktails could replace antibiotics for the treatment of some bacterial infections.
And that’s Medical Notes this week.