etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
DDT -- once used liberally to control external parasites and indirectly also controlled malaria/other internal parasites, it was banned in the US and other countries. However, many African countries continued to use it despite clear indications that mosquitos developed resistance to it rapidly. Now resistance to DDT is wide-spread in mosquito populations around the world, and malaria is still a problem.

Some anonymous idiot posted on [livejournal.com profile] matociquala about the poor African and South American children dying of malaria because we banned DDT. She quite rightly suggested paying for some mosquito netting, as that has been shown to be extremely effective in preventing malarial transmission via mosquito bites. It's cheap, it's effective, and it's a charitable contribution. Now you, too, can help prevent forest fires malaria.
etumukutenyak: (skull with nails)
Chipmunks, Squirrels, and other Ground Rodentia can carry several diseases that affect humans. The eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus)has been implicated in the lifecycle of the Lyme Disease organism, Borrelia burgdorferi. Many rodents can carry rabies, hantavirus, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), as well as anaplasma species.Many tick-borne diseases are transferred by contact with ground squirrels and chipmunks, including Tick Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Relapsing Fever, Ehrlichia (E. chaffeensis), Powassan encephalitis (a flavivirus), and Babesia microti.

Rodents can directly transmit some organisms to humans, through bites; these include Rat-bite Fever (aka Haverhill Fever), Leptospirosis (aka Weil's Disease), and Salmonellosis. Rickettsialpox is another disease that may be transmitted by wild rodents; it's nonpathogenic but needs to be properly diagnosed.

A brief summary of these diseases can be found at the CDC site: http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/diseases/indirect_rodents.htm

We now return you to your fun and games. Just remember: it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye -- then it's fun and games without depth perception.

Thalidomide

Jan. 4th, 2006 10:25 pm
etumukutenyak: (Gromit puzzled)
Twice now I've seen posts on Thalidomide, and both times the posters refer to it as a teratogen, but effective against certain forms of cancer.

This is true. What is not mentioned on the Wikipedia site (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide) is that the teratogenicity is limited to the first trimester. After this period, it is not nearly as toxic to the fetus and does not cause the phocomelia.

Does anyone mention Accutane? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accutane) If you compare this to the description of thalidomide, you'll see that the teratogenicity is less prominently portrayed; however, Accutane is a violent teratogen throughout the pregnancy period. There is no diminishing of its effects.

But Accutane doesn't have "survivors" who are adamantly opposed to its use. Thalidomide survivors are fierce in their opposition to the use of thalidomide, and it is because of their powerful lobby that thalidomide is severely restricted, with female patients required to use two forms of contraception plus monthly pregnancy tests while using this drug.

I have no opposition to using either drug. I merely point out that thalidomide is simply one example of a dangerous (dangerous!! OMG!!11) drug. There are many such drugs, and as a former toxicologist, my favorite phrase is "Anything in large enough quantities can be toxic". Of course, this is a simplification, but it's still got a kernel of truth to it. Oxygen, after all, is a major pollutant that killed off many species early on in evolution. ;-)

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