News Briefs


K-State infectious disease expert advocates for virus research

As the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne virus outbreak grows, Director of the Biosecurity Research Institute Stephen Higgs advocates for research.

“One of the strengths that we have here at the Biosecurity Research institute is the development of diagnostics and vaccine work,” Higgs said to K-State News and Communications Services. “That is exactly what is needed to enable timely responses to new diseases as they come along.”

The institute, while not currently researching Zika virus, is researching a similar mosquito-born virus called Japanese encephalitis, according to K-State News and Communications Services.

“What is unusual with this current epidemic in the Americas is that we are seeing cases where pregnant women who get infected are passing on the virus,” Higgs said to K-State News and Communications Services. “In Brazil, there have been almost 4,000 cases of babies born with birth defects. This aspect of infection has never been seen with Zika virus and, unfortunately, we don’t know why this is suddenly occurring in the Americas.”

K-State study shows millennials do not choose ethical chocolate

Millennials participating in a recent study selected ethical chocolate when in focus groups but only 14 percent chose ethical chocolate in the individual choice, according to a research by Michael Young, professor of psychological sciences department. Ethical ad social factor labelings included organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, non-GMO and Fair Trade.

“For most participants, their choice behavior reflected minimal concern for ethical factors, whereas their public declarations in a focus group suggested otherwise,” Young said to K-State News and Communications Services. “Participants who modestly preferred a candy with certain labels in our focus group may be unwilling to pay much more to obtain it.”

The study evaluated 80 participants focusing on millennials, ages ranging fro 18-25 years old and 26-35 years old

“We got the impression in the focus groups that millennials were learning in college what attitudes were popular to express regarding their food,” Young said to K-State News and Communications Services. “But many of the older millennials confessed that they often were not making purchases consistent with those expressed attitudes due to limited financial resources.”

Young millennials were said to discuss favorites, companies, fat, calories and other words related to brand names. Older millennials focused on company, ingredients, organic, fair trade, vegan, price and other words related to location of purchase and packaging, according to K-State News and Communications Services.

“Although older millennials voice their interest in certified ethical chocolate, it is too early to tell if this is a fad or a shift in consumer preferences,” Young said to K-State News and Communications Services. “However, ethical sourcing is a laudable goal and companies should lay the groundwork for possible change in consumer preference.”

My name is Jamie Teixeira and I am a senior English and journalism with a minor in Leadership. I am the president of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, a tutor at the K-State Writing Center,and a member of the K-State Tap Dance Ensemble. My future plans are to become an editor or publisher of children's literature. Outside of school I love to read and cuddle with my kitten, Bert.