Our friend and colleague, Jackie Thornton (VP & COO, Alvin Pest Control) contacted me on Friday evening (July 29th) to make me aware that he has been positively diagnosed with Zika virus disease (ZVD). He recently returned from a mission trip to Dominica, where he now knows he became infected. To the best of our knowledge, Jackie is the first pest management professional in the US to become stricken with ZVD.
I interviewed Jackie on Saturday (July 30th) and he reported that he suffered from all of the typical symptoms that are common to ZVD. While still in Dominica he began to experience intense headaches (July 18th). On July 25th, after returning to the US, he began to experience body aches. This prompted him to seek medical attention. Interestingly, while traveling to meet with his physician he broke out in a measle-like rash across the entirety of his body. Additionally, he has suffered from significant joint pain in his hands, elbows, knees, and feet, and developed a stiffness in his hands that he described as the sensation of ‘wearing heavy gloves’. He was officially diagnosed with ZVD through blood tests and physical examination by his physician. Notably, four of his traveling companions have likewise been positively diagnosed with ZVD.
Jackie explained that while many of his symptoms persist, most are subsiding and he is beginning to feel normal again. If you know Jackie, you’ll not be surprised to know that he worked all week, but took extra precautions (full coverage clothing and mosquito repellent) to insure that he was not bitten by mosquitoes. We are hopeful that Jackie will continue to have a rapid recovery.
We are all very concerned about this mosquito borne illness. In fact, Dr. Sonja Swiger and Dr. Mike Merchant (Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension) have developed the fact sheet found at the link below to share what we currently know about ZVD and what precautions can be taken to limit your risk of exposure to the mosquitoes that are known to transmit Zika. Should you need additional information, please feel free to contact me directly.
Robert T. Puckett, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Extension Entomologist
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Department of Entomology
Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Facility
College Station, TX 77843-2475 USA
Today we are running a termite bioassay. This experiment helps us to determine how well new pesticides designed to control termites work. We set up a trial with a very small amount of pesticide and expose live termites to the soil. We then measure how far the termites tunnel through the soil as well as mortality (how many die). The purpose of this is to determine if a pesticide will work before large field trials (experiments) are conducted.
The little things…
During a recent trial, we found one of the roaches like this. She was “hiding” behind the leaf. We immediately made the analogy of a small child playing hide and seek, only to have their shoes sticking out from behind the curtains. Laughter ensued for a good while. Who says you can’t have fun and work at the same time?