Viruses and pathogens

  • Electron beam reduces virus-related health risk in lettuce, spinach

    Current health-care costs in the United States associated with foodborne viruses are estimated at about $6 billion; scientists show that electron-beam irradiation can reduce the health risks in iceberg lettuce and spinach, but note that electron-beams are not meant to be used as a “stand-alone” or “clean-up” technology

  • Cold plasma reduces harmful bacteria on raw chicken

    Recent high-profile outbreaks of foodborne illness have involved contaminated fresh produce, but the most common source of harmful bacteria in food is uncooked poultry and other meat products; studies have shown that plasma could successfully reduce pathogens on the surface of fruits and vegetables without cooking them, and scientists demonstrates that plasma can be an effective method for killing pathogens on uncooked poultry

  • University of Florida Clinical Toxicology Online Graduate Course. Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction. Arm yourself with knowledge.
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  • Understanding – and averting -- drug resistance in bacteria

    Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is growing exponentially, contributing to an estimated 99,000 deaths from hospital-associated infections in the U.S. annually; one reason that this is happening is that drug resistant proteins are transporting “good” antibiotics, or inhibitors, out of the cells, leaving them to mutate

  • Research collaboration to fight Campylobacter jejuni

    Campylobacter, primarily C. jejuni, is the third leading cause of death from foodborne infections in the world; in the United States alone, it affects nearly 2.4 million people, causes an estimated 58,000 illnesses and 200 deaths, and costs companies millions of dollars in recall losses each year

  • Portable device quickly detects pathogens in developing countries

    Two Cornell University researchers will combine their inventions to develop a handheld pathogen detector that will give health care workers in the developing world speedy results to identify in the field such pathogens as tuberculosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV

  • Protein study to help in superbug battle

    Scientists have shed light on the way superbugs such as MRSA are able to become resistant to antibiotics; the researchers have done it by mapping the complex molecular structure of an enzyme found in many bacteria

  • 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

  • How new viruses evolve and become deadly

    Scientists demonstrate how a new virus evolves, which sheds light on how easy it can be for diseases to gain dangerous mutations; this demonstration follows recent news that scientists in the United States and the Netherlands produced a deadly version of bird flu

  • Scientists urge accelerated flu research

    The discovery by scientists that H5N1 virus could potentially be transmitted between mammals has led to fears both of misuse and of accidental release – and to requests of two leading science publication to edit and redact portions of two articles in which the findings of the research are reported; a leading specialist argues that H5N1 viruses circulating in nature may already pose a threat because influenza viruses constantly mutate and can cause pandemics

  • Scientists urge more study of use of antimicrobial in food animals

    The FDA the other day banned the use of some antibiotics in food animals in order to preserve the effectiveness of these antibiotics in humans; the EU is set to follow suit; scientists argue, however, that the use of antibiotics in the animal populations is unlikely to be the major source of drug resistance in humans, and question policies that restrict the use of antimicrobials in animals

  • Better understanding of Listeria

    About 20 percent of people diagnosed with listeriosis die, compared to less than 1 percent of those inflicted by Salmonella; the harmful strains of Listeria are thus more lethal than Salmonella, but it exists in benign species and strains as well; scientists discover why some forms of Listeria are fatal and others are not

  • FDA bans use of some antibiotic in animals

    The cephalosporin class of drugs is important in treating human diseases, such as pneumonia, skin and tissue infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other conditions; the FDA has just restricted the use of the cephalosporin class of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals in order to preserve the effectiveness of these drugs in treating humans

  • 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.

  • 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