Infectious disease

  • Public health expert: budget cuts will erode response capabilities

    Homeland Security NewsWire’s executive editor Eugene K. Chow recently got the opportunity to speak with Dr. John R. Finnegan, the dean of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health; in their interview, Dr. Finnegan discusses the devastating effects of proposed budget cuts on the U.S. public health system, why it was a wise decision to censor the release of H5N1 flu research; and the creation of a medical reserve corps at universities

  • New repellant frightens mosquitoes to death

    Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes carry and spread diseases, including malaria, the second most deadly transmitted disease in Africa; mosquitoes zero in on their next meal – human blood — using their keen sense of smell; a new repellent would bombard the mosquitoes with so many strong odors, it would scare them away from human odors

  • Drug-resistant MRSA in livestock now infects humans

    A novel form of MRSA, a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus called ST398, can now be found in pigs, turkeys, cattle, and other livestock and has been detected in 47 percent of meat samples in the United States; the figures illustrate a very close link between antibiotic use on the farm and potentially lethal human infections

  • Antibiotic alternative to overcome drug-resisting infections

    About 700 million people have symptomatic group A Streptococcus (GAS)  infections around the world each year, and the infection can be fatal; researchers have found a potential alternative to conventional antibiotics that could fight infection with a reduced risk of antibiotic resistance

  • Using ozone to kill prions dead

    Prions are among the worst infectious-disease agents; these proteins are resistant to a wide variety of extreme disinfectant procedures; they have been identified as the culprits behind mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in animals and humans, and are also implicated in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other prion-related disorders

  • Scientists offer new information for fighting flu

    Influenza is the world’s leading cause of morbidity and mortality; seasonal viruses affect up to 15 percent of the human population and cause severe illness in five million people a year; in the United States, financial losses caused by seasonal influenza are estimated to exceed $87 billion annually

  • Stealthy leprosy pathogen evades immune response

    Leprosy, one of the world’s oldest known diseases, is a chronic infectious disease that affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes and can lead to disfigurement of the hands, face, and feet; scientists’ findings point to new treatment pathways for leprosy – and other infectious diseases

  • U.S. drug shortages a threat to public health, patient care

    Shortages in the United States of key drugs used to fight infections represent a public health emergency and can put patients at risk; frequent anti-infective shortages can substantially alter clinical care and may lead to worse outcomes for patients

  • New Ebola vaccine protects mice

    An experimental vaccine against deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever protected more than 80 percent of mice given a lethal dose of the virus, and may protect humans as well. Unlike previous experimental vaccines, the new vaccine, which is grown in tobacco plants, is also stable enough to stockpile in case of bioterrorism.

  • New wireless sensor quickly detects E. coli in water samples

    Fecal contamination of public beaches caused by sewage overflow is both dangerous for swimmers and costly for state and local economies; current methods to detect E.coli, a bacterium highly indicative of the presence of fecal matter in water, typically require 24-48 hours to produce a result; new detection method cuts this time to 1-8 hours

  • Progress made toward a vaccine for Ebola

    Ebola is one of the most lethal, naturally occurring pathogens on earth, killing up to 90 percent of its victims, and producing a terrifying constellation of symptoms known as hemorrhagic fever; scientists have now made significant progress toward a vaccine against the deadly virus – and this Ebola vaccine could be stockpiled for use in the United States, should the country fall victim to a natural outbreak or a bioterrorism event in which a weaponized strain of the virus were unleashed on soldiers or the public

  • Natural killer cells help human body fight off infections

    Researchers have discovered a new type of cell which boosts the human body’s ability to fight off infections and life-threatening diseases; the researchers found a type of cell which recognizes lipid antigens, or foreign molecules, which sit on infectious bacteria which invade the body

  • New compound breaks down HIV's outer envelope

    One of the reasons HIV is so difficult to treat is that it continually evolves the proteins on its membrane to increase its resistance to immune systems; researchers at Texas A&M University and the Scripps Research Institute have now discovered a compound which breaks down the outer envelope of HIV

  • CDC concludes NBA outbreak investigation

    A recently concluded investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that norovirus was the cause of an outbreak that sidelined more than twenty-four NBA players and staff members from thirteen teams in 2010

  • Schools help spot disease outbreaks early

    Local public health authorities in Canada are teaming up with schools to develop an early warning disease tracking system; in an effort to spot potential disease outbreaks before they occur, health officials in Peel, Canada are monitoring school absenteeism and emergency department visits