Carpet Beetles are Welcome in my House if it Means not Having Bed Bugs! | The EPA Blog

Source: Carpet Beetles are Welcome in my House if it Means not Having Bed Bugs! | The EPA Blog

By Marcia Anderson

Several months ago I received an e-mail from a city resident who was getting bites at night that she thought were from a spider. Large, and itchy, but with a burning sensation that told her they weren’t mosquito bites. The problem escalated until she had over 40 red welts on her legs. “I was getting groups of about 5-20 ‘bites’ every night, and my husband had none, and he wore boxers! Also, after the first few nights, I was wearing heavy sweat pants to bed tucked into my socks, and still found marks!“

She cleaned and vacuumed everything in the bedroom and changed the sheets, but the next morning she still had a few bites. She then went on the internet, and found that this was NOT the work of a spider, but possibly bed bugs. They quarantined the bedroom after thoroughly cleaning and spraying everything with over-the-counter pesticides, but no evidence of ANY bugs was found. She checked the sheets for blood spots, actual bugs – dead or alive, and shed skins, but found none.

One pest company had given her a quote of $1200 to come and treat for bed bugs, but a second pest company suspected carpet beetles instead of bed bugs due to the fact that the wife was getting the ‘bites’ and the husband was not. Some people are allergic to carpet beetles and some are not, however, almost everyone has some allergy to bed bugs. The pest company arrived, and upon inspection, no bed bugs were found, however, a few dead carpet beetles were discovered.

Just like bed bugs: 1.) carpet beetles are attracted to you when you are sleeping because of the CO2 gas you exhale, 2.) carpet beetles are very shy, so they are hard to find, and 3.) carpet beetles also usually come out in the wee hours of the morning. The difference is: bed bugs bite, but carpet beetles eat natural fibers, like wool blankets, natural fibers and feathers, and do not bite.

She learned that they did not need to chemically treat for carpet beetles, as it isn’t the live insects that cause the allergy. Carpet beetle larvae have prickly little hairs that cause a reaction in some people that looks very much like bed bug bites. The solution is to make sure all the allergens (the hairs) are removed from the environment. People with sensitivity to the hairs may get some relief by not wearing shoes or socks in the house. A build-up of static electricity can cause the micro fine hairs on the larvae to impale themselves in human skin, thus creating a small pin-prick-like wound. The ‘bite reaction’ under clothes is symptomatic of carpet beetles, as the hairs can pass though all but the finest of weaves on clothes.

The treatment: she had her carpets steam cleaned.

The moral to this story is: if you search for bed bug signs and find no traces, carpet beetles could be the pest, especially if you are getting a number of bites every night. Check the area (with a magnifying glass) for the shed larval skins remembering that even a single carpet beetle skin could result in multiple “bite like” reactions due to the number of hairs they carry.

About the Author: Marcia is the bed bug and vector management specialist for the Pesticides Program in Edison. She has a BS in Biology from Monmouth, second degree in Environmental Design-Landscape Architecture from Rutgers, Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from Kean, and is a PhD in Environmental Management candidate from Montclair – specializing in Integrated Pest Management and Environmental Communications. Prior to EPA, and concurrently, she has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology and Oceanography at Kean University for 14 years.

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Hackers Actively Exploiting Latest Drupal RCE Flaw Published Last Week

drupal hacking exploit

Cybercriminals have actively started exploiting an already patched security vulnerability in the wild to install cryptocurrency miners on vulnerable Drupal websites that have not yet applied patches and are still vulnerable.

Last week, developers of the popular open-source content management system Drupal patched a critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability (CVE-2019-6340) in Drupal Core that could allow attackers to hack affected websites.

Despite releasing no technical details of the security vulnerability, the proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit code for the vulnerability was made publicly available on the Internet just two days after the Drupal security team rolled out the patched version of its software.

Now, security researchers at data center security vendor Imperva discovered a series of attacks—that began just a day after the exploit code went public—against its customers’ websites using an exploit that leverages the CVE-2019-6340 security flaw.

The attacks originated from several attackers and countries have found targeting vulnerable Drupal websites, including sites in government and the financial services industry, that are still vulnerable to the recently patched Drupal Core vulnerability.

According to the researchers, the attacks started on February 23, just three days after the Drupal developers patched the vulnerability, and attempted to inject a JavaScript cryptocurrency miner named CoinIMP on the vulnerable Drupal websites to mine Monero and Webchain cryptocurrencies for attackers.

Similar to the infamous CoinHive service, CoinIMP is a browser-based cryptocurrency mining script that attackers injected into the index.php file of the vulnerable Drupal websites so that site visitors will run the mining script and mine cryptocurrency when they browse the site’s main page.

This is not the first time when we saw attackers targeting vulnerable Drupal websites exploiting a recently patched vulnerability.

Last year, attackers targeted hundreds of thousands of Drupal websites in mass attacks using in the wild exploits leveraging two separate critical remote code execution vulnerabilities, which were dubbed Drupalgeddon2 and Drupalgeddon3.

In that case as well, the attacks started after security researchers released PoC exploit code for theDrupalgeddon2 and Drupalgeddon3 vulnerabilities on the Internet, which was then followed by large-scale Internet scanning and exploitation attempts.

While notifying you of the latest Drupal release last week that addressed this critical remote code execution vulnerability, The Hacker News also warned its readers about how popular Drupal exploits are among hackers and that you need to update your CMS as soon as possible.

Since it’s better late than never, sites administrators still running vulnerable versions of Drupal are highly recommended to patch the vulnerability by updating their CMS to Drupal 8.6.10 or Drupal 8.5.11 as soon as possible to avoid exploits.

However, if your website has already been compromised, merely updating your Drupal website would not remove the “backdoors or malware code.” To fully resolve the issue you are recommended to follow the Drupal guide.

Last week, Check Point also disclosed a 19-year-old RCE vulnerability in the popular WinRAR software, which has also been found actively exploiting in the wild to install malware on computers still running the vulnerable version of the software.

Cyber criminals have started exploiting the latest remote code execution vulnerability in Drupal websites to inject cryptocurrency miners.

Source: Hackers Actively Exploiting Latest Drupal RCE Flaw Published Last Week

Ascariasis: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Ascariasis

What is ascariasis?

Ascariasis is an infection of the small intestine caused by Ascaris lumbricoides (A. lumbricoides), which is a species of roundworm.

Roundworms are a type of parasitic worm. Infections caused by roundworms are fairly common. Ascariasis is the most common roundworm infection. About 10 percent of the developing world is infected with intestinal worms, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, infections with parasitic worms are not as common in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Learn more: Parasitic infections »

Ascariasis is most common in places without modern sanitation. People get it through unsafe food and water. The infection usually causes no symptoms, but higher numbers of roundworms (heavier infestations) can lead to problems in the lungs or intestines.

What causes an ascariasis infection?

You can become infected with ascariasis after accidentally ingesting the eggs of the A. lumbricoides roundworm. The eggs can be found in soil contaminated by human feces or uncooked food contaminated by soil that contains roundworm eggs. Children often become infected when they put their hands in their mouths after playing in contaminated soil, according to WHO. Ascariasis can also be passed directly from person-to-person.

After ingestion, the A. lumbricoides roundworm reproduces inside your intestine. The worm goes through several stages:

  • Swallowed eggs first hatch in the intestine.
  • The larvae then move through your bloodstream to your lungs.
  • After maturing, the roundworms leave your lungs and travel to your throat.
  • You’ll either cough up or swallow the roundworms in your throat. The worms that are swallowed will travel back to your intestine.
  • Once they’re back in your intestine, the worms will mate and lay more eggs.
  • The cycle continues. Some eggs are excreted through your feces. Other eggs hatch and return to the lungs.
Who is at risk for ascariasis?

The roundworm is found worldwide, but it’s more frequently found in tropical and subtropical regions, including Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. It’s also more common in areas where sanitation is poor.

Environmental risk factors for ascariasis include:

  • lack of modern hygiene and sanitation infrastructure
  • use of human feces for fertilizer
  • living in or visiting a warm climate
  • exposure to an environment where dirt might be ingested

You can limit your exposure to roundworms by avoiding unsafe food and water. Keeping your immediate environment clean also helps. This includes laundering clothing exposed to unsanitary conditions and cleaning cooking surfaces well.

You should make sure to take precautions if you’re visiting a remote area. It’s important to:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before eating or preparing food.
  • Boil or filter your water.
  • Inspect food preparation facilities.
  • Avoid unclean common areas for bathing.
  • Peel or cook unwashed vegetables and fruit in regions that lack sanitation infrastructure or that use human feces for fertilizer.

Children who are 3 to 8 years old are most likely to be infected because of their contact with soil while playing.

Read more: Hygiene habits for kids »

What are the symptoms of ascariasis?

People with ascariasis often have no symptoms. Symptoms become more noticeable when the roundworm infestation grows.

Roundworms in your lungs can cause:

Roundworms in your intestines can cause:

Some people with a large infestation may have other symptoms, such as fatigue and fever. A major infestation can cause extreme discomfort. You may have all or many of the above symptoms if you don’t receive prompt treatment.

What are the complications of ascariasis?

Most cases of ascariasis are mild and don’t cause major problems. However, heavy infestations can spread to other parts of the body and lead to dangerous complications. They can include:

  • Intestinal blockage occurs when a mass of worms blocks your intestines causing severe pain and vomiting. Intestinal blockage is considered a medical emergency and requires treatment right away.
  • Duct blockages occur when the worms block the small passageways to your liver or pancreas.
  • Infections that lead to loss of appetite and poor absorption of nutrients puts children at risk of not getting enough nutrients, which can affect their growth.

Children are more likely to have gastrointestinal complications because their small intestines increase their chances of having an intestinal blockage.

How is ascariasis diagnosed?

Doctors generally make the diagnosis by examining a stool sample for parasites and ova (eggs). If your doctor suspects you have ascariasis, he or she will ask for a stool sample from you.

If you’re diagnosed with ascariasis, you may need more tests, such as one of these imaging tests:

Imaging tests can show:

  • how many worms have grown to maturity
  • where major groups of worms are inside the body

To evaluate your risk for complications, it’s important for your doctor to determine how long you’ve been infected.

How is ascariasis treated?

Doctors usually treat roundworm with antiparasitic drugs. Medications most commonly used include:

  • albendazole (Albenza)
  • ivermectin (Stromectol)
  • mebendazole (Vermox)

If you have an advanced case, you may need other treatment. Your doctor may recommend surgery to control a larger infestation. You’ll need surgery if the roundworms are completely blocking your intestines.

What is the long-term outlook for an ascariasis infection?

Many people recover from ascariasis with minimal treatment. Symptoms may go away even before all the worms are gone.

However, ascariasis can cause complications when there are large infestations. If you think you’ve been infected with roundworms, be sure to see your doctor.

The best way to avoid ascariasis is by:

  • Practicing good hygiene. That means always wash your hands with soap and water before eating or handling food, and after using the bathroom. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Dining only at reputable places.
  • Drinking only bottled water and avoiding raw fruits and vegetables unless you’re able to wash and peel them yourself when you’re in places without modern sanitation.

 

Roundworms are a type of parasitic worm. Infections caused by roundworms are relatively common. Ascariasis is the most common roundworm infection.

Source: Ascariasis: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis