• SuperbugsAntibiotic-Resistant E coli Found in U.S. Veterinary Hospital

    Animals treated in Philadelphia veterinary hospital were found to be infected with a antibiotic-resistant strain of E coli. In the United States, the gene has been detected in only a few human bacterial infections, and never in companion animals. Only a handful of cases in dogs have been reported worldwide.

  • PerspectiveScary Fact: Vaccination Rates are Falling in Some States

    When Peter J. Hotez moved from Boston to Texas to become the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, he was surprised to discover the how many children in Texas and other Western states are not vaccinated owing to various exemptions. “In the past year, Europe has been inundated with measles, including dozens of deaths, due to large declines in vaccine coverage. I’m concerned the U.S. could suffer a similar fate,” he writes.

  • SuperbugsNovel Coronavirus in China's Outbreak

    As suspected, a novel coronavirus has been identified in some patients who are part of a cluster of unexplained pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. Experts say that the identification of what now appears to be a third novel coronavirus that can cause serious human disease in the last 20 years signals a paradigm shift for coronaviruses.

  • MeaslesDRC Measles Deaths Top 6,000

    Deaths in a massive measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have now topped 6,000, prompting a call from the World Health Organization (WHO) for more funding to curb the spread of the disease.

  • Snake venomNew Technique to Transform Anti-Venom Production

    Snake bites kill more than 120,000 people a year, more than a third of them in India. About 400,000 lose limbs after amputations become necessary to prevent the spread of the venom. The number of people bitten by snakes is increasing as a result of more people living near areas which are snake habitats, but the production of venom antidotes has not changed much since anti-venom was first produced in 1896. Scientists are ready to transform the production of anti-venom after mapping the DNA of the Indian cobra for the first time.

  • Public healthQuestions Swirl over China's Unexplained Pneumonia Outbreak

    Investigations are still under way to identify the pathogen involved in an unexplained pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, as local health officials announced Sunday fifteen more cases and said tests have ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

  • SuperbugsTackling the Problem of Antimicrobial Resistance

    The CDC recently announced in its latest report that each year 2.8 million Americans are infected with a drug-resistant organism, and that 35,000 of them would later die. The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is not new, though, and the problem has been growing for decades, but now it seems that we’re starting to truly take it seriously.

  • Preventable diseasesCalifornia's Stricter Vaccine Exemption Policy Improves Vaccination Rates

    California’s elimination, in 2016, of non-medical vaccine exemptions from school entry requirements was associated with an estimated increase in vaccination coverage at state and county levels, according to a new study.

  • Nuclear safetyA New Way to Remove Contaminants from Nuclear Wastewater

    By David L. Chandler

    Nuclear power continues to expand globally, propelled, in part, by the fact that it produces few greenhouse gas emissions while providing steady power output. But along with that expansion comes an increased need for dealing with the large volumes of water used for cooling these plants, which becomes contaminated with radioactive isotopes that require special long-term disposal. New method concentrates radionuclides in a small portion of a nuclear plant’s wastewater, allowing the rest to be recycled.

  • Nuclear safetyHelping Keep U.S. Nuclear Deterrent Safe from Radiation

    Advanced modeling speeds up weapons research, development and qualification. It also lets researchers model changes in experimental conditions that increase the total radiation dose, change how fast a device gets that dose, and mix and match destructive elements like neutrons, energy and heat in environments that cannot be recreated in experimental facilities.

  • SmallpoxSmallpox Was Declared Eradicated 40 Years Ago This Month, but Worries Remain

    Forty years ago – more precisely, on 9 December 1979 – the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that smallpox had been confirmed as eradicated. A few months later, the World Health Assembly (WHA) officially declared that “the world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox.” Yet, four decades later, two nations — the United States and the Russian Federation — keep stockpiles of the variola virus which causes smallpox. Some scientists and security experts say that the risks of retaining the stockpiles outweigh the benefits.

  • SuperbugsAntibiotic Over-Prescribing for Kids in Poorer Nations

    A new study has found that children in eight low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) receive a remarkably high number of antibiotics by the time they reach the age of 5. The study, which looked at data on sick children who attended healthcare facilities in Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Namibia, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda over a 10-year period, found that the average number of antibiotic prescriptions written for children between birth and the age of 5 in these countries was 25.

  • FloodsComparing Floodplain Protection Today to Predicted Future Flood Losses

    A new study seeks to answer an important question related to flooding in the United States – pay now to protect undeveloped areas that are likely to flood in the future or allow developments to go ahead and pay for damage when it occurs.

  • Public healthThe Spread and Mutation of Zika Virus

    Researchers have found that outbreaks of human disease, such as the 2015 Zika virus epidemic, may be due to genetic mutation, and viruses may undergo further changes as they expand their geographic range.

  • PerspectiveSeizure-Triggering Attack Is Stark Example of How Social Media Can Be Weaponized

    Followers of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Twitter handle were targeted last month with posts containing strobe light GIFs and videos which could have caused seizures for people with epilepsy, the foundation announced Monday. “While this kind of activity may not bear the hallmarks of a cyberattack, which can trick users into clicking malicious links or knock a website offline by flooding it with junk traffic, this attack shows that platforms can have even their normal functions weaponized in order to cause physical harm,” Shannon Vavra writes.