Viruses and pathogens

  • Hospital fountains a dangerous source of bacterial outbreaks

    A recent study conducted by researchers at the Wisconsin Division of Public Health found that fountains in health care facilities can actually be a dangerous source of air-borne bacterial diseases; “Fountains and health-care facilities don’t mix,” said Thomas Haupt, a respiratory diseases epidemiologist and the study’s lead author

  • Solving antibiotic resistance in humans -- and premature bee death

    The stomachs of wild honey bees are full of healthy lactic acid bacteria that can fight bacterial infections in both bees and humans; the finding is a step toward solving the problems of both bee deaths and antibiotic resistance in humans

  • University of Florida Clinical Toxicology Online Graduate Course. Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction. Arm yourself with knowledge.
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  • Balancing safety, risk in the debate over the new H5N1 viruses

    This fall, the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) set off a debate when it asked the authors of two recent H5N1 research studies and the scientific journals that planned to publish them to withhold important details of the research in the interest of biosecurity; the scientific community is divided over the issue of best to balance free research and security

  • CDC study finds raw milk is most likely source of dairy outbreaks

    A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds thatraw milk is 150 times more likely to be the cause offood-borne illnesses than pasteurized milk; a growing number of states have permitted the sale of raw milk

  • Anthrax-decontamination foam used in meth lab cleanup

    The meth cleanup problem in the United States is a big one; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists thousands of locations where law enforcement agencies have found chemicals or paraphernalia indicating the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dumpsites; Sandia’s decontamination foam, originally developed to deal with anthrax, is now also a meth eraser

  • Cell phone-based sensor detects E. coli

    Researchers have developed a new cell phone-based fluorescent imaging and sensing platform that can detect the presence of the bacterium Escherichia coli in food and water

  • Thwarting the botulinum neurotoxin

    The botulinum neurotoxin is the most poisonous substance known to man, causing botulism; it can be used by terrorists for deadly attacks; the toxin paralyzes muscle cells by disrupting their connections with the nerves that tell them how and when to move

  • 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

  • U.S. extends zero tolerance policy to six additional E.Coli serogroups

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has taken additional steps to fight E. coli in the food supply; the new policy adds six E. coli serogroups to the list of sergroups which are not allowed to be present in raw ground beef or the meat used to make raw ground beef; the beef industry says it will be too expensive to implement, and U.S. trading partners said preventing their beef from entering the U.S. unless tested for the six serogroups would violate existing trade agreement

  • 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

  • Kansas biolab project on life support

    In 2008, DHS chose Manhattan, Kansas, as the location for a new, $650 million BioLab Level 4; the new lab was planned as a replacement for the aging Plum Island facility; critics argued that the lab’s location — in the middle of Tornado Alley and at the center a region which is home to a large portion of the U.S. beef industry – was not ideal for a facility doing research on deadly animal and human pathogens; it now appears that budgetary considerations have doomed to project

  • Discovery paves way for salmonella vaccine

    More than 1.4 million cases of salmonella occur annually in the United States, at an estimated cost of $3 billion and the loss of 580 lives; around the world, this increasingly antibiotic-resistant food-borne bacteria that kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year; , immunologists have taken an important step toward an effective vaccine against salmonella

  • Georgia Tech’s software for rapid analysis of food-borne pathogens

    A team of Goergia Tech bioinformatics graduate students, led by a biology professor, worked in close collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create an integrated suite of computational tools for the analysis of microbial genome sequences

  • A bioterrorism threat for the birds?

    In his first guest column, Leonard A. Cole, an expert on bioterrorism and on terror medicine who teaches at Rutgers University, explores the recent controversy over bird flu research, its implications on national security, and why efforts to curb information regarding the research will likely have limited success

  • Compound to help combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs

    Chemists have created a compound that makes existing antibiotics sixteen times more effective against recently discovered antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”