• Toxic newts lose war against immune-enhanced garter snakes

    A newt is armed with a poison so deadly that a single animal can kill a dozen people; garter snakes, the newt’s main predator, have developed resistance to the poison; researchers say this does not bode well for humans: Our bodies may develop resistance which would make medications ineffective

  • Pandemic flu may be well mitigated until vaccine is available

    New study shows that high levels of compliance, ascertainment, and social distancing would make it possible to mitigate a flu pandemic until a vaccine is available

  • U.S. water supply contaminated by pharmaceuticals

    There are 302 million people in the United States, but over the past five years, the number of U.S. prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion, while nonprescription drug purchases reached 3.3 billion; ingredients of these medications find their way to, and contaminate, the U.S. water supply; federal, state, and local governments do not regulate medical discharges into drinking water

  • FSIS exemplifies growing inadequacy of U.S. food inspection regime

    Decline and fall: In FY 1981, FSIS spent $13.22 per thousand pounds of meat and poultry inspected and passed; by FY 2007, the figure had fallen to $8.26 per thousand pounds; in FY 1981 FSIS employed about 190 workers per billion pounds of meat and poultry inspected and passed; by FY 2007, FSIS employed fewer than 88 workers per billion pounds

  • Killing bugs dead

    A new device, based on the old-fashioned mechanical air-pump technology, destroys airborne pathogens by rapidly heating contaminated air under pressure and mechanically compressing it

  • New sensor detects airborne pathogens

    MIT lab develops an advanced sensor for airborne pathogen; current sensors take at least twenty minutes to detect harmful bacteria or viruses in the air, but the PANTHER sensors can perform detection and identification in less than three minutes

  • MPRI to help CDC prepare for disasters

    Simulation and virtualization are becoming more popular as tools for preparedness; MPRI, a subsidiary of L-3 company, will use its simulation and training expertise to help CDC prepare for all-hazard disasters, including bioterrorism and pandemic outbreaks

  • Infectious diseases on the rise around the world

    Researchers offer proof that there is distinct, measurable rise in infectious diseases around the world; most of these diseases, including SARS and the Ebola virus, originated in wildlife; antibiotic drug resistance has been cited as another culprit, leading to diseases such as extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB)

  • MIT researchers explain spread, lethality of 1918 flu

    The 1918 pandemic outbreak that killed at least fifty million people; MIT researchers explain that the lethality of the 1918 pandemic was the result of an influenza strain which developed two mutations in a surface molecule called hemagglutinin, which allowed it to bind tightly to receptors in the human upper respiratory tract

  • San Diego measles outbreak

    A measles-infected seven-year old passenger on a plane from Switzerland infects other passengers; measles was widespread in the United States before a vaccine was developed in the early 1960s

  • Indonesian girl contracts bird flu, possibly from relative

    A fifteen-year old Indonesian girl contracts H5N1; health authorities fear this is a case of human-to-human infection — signifying a dangerous development in H5N1 trajectory

  • Cost to Irish economy from bird flu outbreak: €2 billion

    Experts say that over a 15-week bird flu pandemic in Ireland, there would be a hospitalization rate of between 0.55 percent and 3.70 percent of the population, and among those hospitalized, a fatality rate of between 0.37 percent and 2.50 percent

  • CDC says influenza B strain does not match vaccine

    The U.S. flu season started out slowly, but activity has increased sharply, which is typically the case; the bad news is that most circulating influenza B viruses tested so far this season do not match this year’s vaccine, signaling that two of the three vaccine components are off-target

  • New method for anthrax decontamination developed

    Yellow Jackets, SMD researchers develop an X-rays and UV-C light-based method for anthrax decontamination; it is rapid and nondisruptive, and also less expensive than currently available decontamination methods; it kills anthrax spores — even those hidden in crevices and cracks — within two to three hours without any lingering effects

  • New vaccine against deadliest strain of avian flu tested by scientists

    University of Pittsburgh researchers test new H5N1 vaccine; unlike other avian flu vaccines, which are partially developed from live viruses, the new vaccine uses a virus-like particle which is recognized by the immune system as a real virus but lacks genetic information to reproduce, making it a potentially safer alternative for a human vaccine