• 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

  • Jefferson County tests flu pandemic vaccination capabilities

    Local public health authorities in Jefferson County, New York are currently testing their ability to administer large quantities of flu vaccines in the event of a pandemic by offering to inoculate its residents for free

  • Flu shots not effective enough in global outbreak, report finds

    A new study reveals that seasonal flu shots are not effective enough to protect people in the event of a pandemic; “Today’s flu shot is like an iPhone 1.0,” said the study’s author, Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance at the University of Minnesota; “What we need is an iPhone 10.0”

  • Google Earth typhoid maps traces disease outbreaks

    Recent advances in DNA sequencing have allowed scientists accurately to track the spread of some diseases by measuring mutations in the pathogen’s DNA when the DNA replicates; tracing the spread of typhoid, however, has proved challenging because these mutations are small in number and not detectable by most techniques in use

  • Elusive killer parasite being traced in Peru

    Chagas disease, primarily seen in South America, Central America, and Mexico, is the most deadly parasitic disease in the Americas; Penn epidemiological study takes snap shot of long-term Chagas disease outbreak

  • Real-time disease monitoring can help improve diagnoses

    Discovering epidemics or knowing when one is brewing is particularly difficult at the local level as doctors lack a broader perspective of what is occurring; to help provide local doctors with better information that could help stem the spread of infectious diseases, public health officials are pushing for the creation of a real-time national disease monitoring system

  • Japanese attenuated smallpox vaccine shows promise in U.S. trial

    An attenuated smallpox vaccine that was developed in Japan in the 1970s compared well with a conventional smallpox vaccine in a phase 1-2 clinical trial in the United States

  • Mapping the spread of drug-resistant influenza

    The movie “Contagion” is not based on real events, but it is not science fiction, either: certain strains of influenza are becoming resistant to common treatments; a team of researchers map out how this phenomenon is happening globally

  • Biological weapons: U.S. must not repeat the failure of imagination

    Joel McCleary, a biological weapons expert, is the chairman and co-founder of Q Global and the founder of PharmAthene; he argues that the U.S. government has not done enough to protect the nation against a biological attack, warns of the need for presidential leadership, and underscores the dangers of biological weapons

  • Scientists "domesticate" -- and disarm -- malaria parasite

    Malaria is one of the Earth’s most notorious scourges, accounting for more than 250 million new cases — and one million deaths — each year, researchers have developed a novel technique to “tame” the malaria parasite by forcing it to depend on an external supply of a vital chemical; this could help to speed up drug development and provide the basis for the first effective vaccine against malaria

  • Anthrax forensics help ID source of Haitian cholera outbreak

    Researchers have discovered the source of the deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti that killed more than 6,000 people and sickened 300,000; the study determined that Nepalese peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti, when they came to assist the country’s rebuilding efforts following the massive earthquake in January 2010

  • How did the deadly plague bacterium develop?

    In a relatively short time — in evolutionary terms — a bacterium that causes mild stomach irritation evolved into a deadly pathogen responsible for the most devastating pandemics in human history; how did the mild-mannered Yersinia pseudotuberculosis become Yersinia pestis, more commonly known as the Plague? New study explains what happened — and sheds light on fighting deadly diseases

  • Experts anxious about appearance of a variant strain of Bird Flu

    Since 2003 H5N1 has killed or forced the culling of more than 400 million domestic poultry and caused an estimated $20 billion of economic damage across the globe before it was eliminated from most of the sixty-three countries infected at its peak in 2006; the UN health agency now calls for increased preparedness and surveillance against a re-emerging variant strain of H5N1

  • The malaria mosquito is disappearing – researchers wonder why

    The incidence of malaria in many African countries south of the Sahara is falling rapidly; a research group has discovered that the mosquito carrying the malaria parasite has practically disappeared from villages without organized mosquito control; there are several hypotheses about the cause of the decline, but without proper data researchers cannot say whether malaria is being eradicated or whether it is just resting up before returning with renewed vigor

  • Common bacterium stops mosquitoes from transmitting Dengue virus

    Strains of a bacterium commonly found in fruit flies can prevent the Aedes aegypti mosquito from transmitting the virus that causes dengue fever, researchers have found; the discovery could lead to a more effective way to control dengue worldwide