Posts

January 31, 2015

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10:11 PM | Botulism: Rice snack shuts down New Zealand man’s organs
A spicy rice snack pack very nearly turned into the last meal Richard Strang ate. It left him in a four-day induced coma in Wellington Hospital, his stay due to a toxin not seen in New Zealand for more than … Continue reading →
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9:41 PM | Wyoming Food Freedom Act threatens public safety
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle writes in an editorial that House Bill 56, the Food Freedom Act, is a bad move for public health. The bill would let Wyomingites make direct purchases of foodstuffs from farmers and ranchers but there are … Continue reading →
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8:22 PM | Quick post - wanted - input on best practices for sample processing & storage for microbiome studies
Over at microBEnet I have a post that may be of interest to many readers: Best practices for sample processing and storage prior to microbiome DNA analysis freeze? buffer? process? | microBEnet: the microbiology of the Built Environment network.  Basically I am hoping to get a discussion going about the ins and outs of sample processing and storage for microbiome studies.  We have been having lots of discussions in my lab and with collaborators about this and thought it would be […]
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6:41 PM | NDSU Microbiology Part 2
In an earlier post I had a little fun with the Hektoen agar plates. I figured I would try my hand at a bit more art work this week. Below is the North Dakota State University logo. Again, the school colors are yellow and green, so the Hektoen plates are perfect. Enjoy!NDSU Logo with slightly sloppy lettering.NDSU Logo without letteringAnd the original:Submit your pics to ‪#‎ASM‬ via www.microbeworld.org‪#‎potd‬ […]
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3:51 PM | Bulgaria: Additional H5N1 Outbreak Reported
# 9657 Earlier this week we saw media reports, and then an OIE Notification Of H5N1 In Bulgaria, when a dead pelican near the Poda Protected Area located south of the port city of Bourgas on the Black Sea tested positive for avian flu. This was the first detection of the virus in Bulgaria since 2010. Today there are media reports of a small outbreak in the nearby village of Konstantinovo.     Secondary outbreak of bird flu discovered in Bulgaria’s […]
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3:04 PM | CDC Interim Guidance On Antiviral Chemoprophylaxis For Persons With Exposure To Avian Flu
Photo Credit – FAO   # 9656   Last night the CDC released a pair of interim guidance documents for clinicians and public health officials on how to deal with patients suspected of being exposed to novel (primarily avian) influenza. I blogged about the first guidance document earlier today in CDC Interim Guidance For Testing For Novel Flu. Although we haven’t had to deal with HPAI much in North America, the standard procedure it to treat – […]
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2:37 PM | CDC Interim Guidance For Testing For Novel Flu
  Credit NIAID    # 9654   While the risk to the public remains low, the importation this month of two cases of H7N9 into Canada from China, the ongoing outbreak of H5N1 in Egypt, and the recent introduction of HPAI H5 viruses via wild and migratory birds into North America are all reasons why doctors around the country need to be aware of the potential for seeing novel flu cases. The HPAI H5 viruses currently circulating in North America have not been […]
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1:58 PM | HK CHP Notified Of 2 H7N9 Cases In Guangdong Province
Credit Wikipedia   # 9653 Guangdong Province’s streak of H7N9 reports continues with two more cases reported to Hong Kong’s CHP today.     CHP notified of two human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guangdong The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (January 31) closely monitoring two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) notified by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong […]
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1:35 PM | CIDRAP News On The Lancet Oseltamivir (Tamiflu ®) Meta-Analysis
Photo Credit – Wikipedia     # 9552   I had plans this morning to write an overview of meta-analysis of Tamiflu effectiveness published January 29th in The Lancet, but I’m happy to note that last night Robert Roos of CIDRAP News has beaten me to it. Since I’m unlikely to improve upon his reportage, I’ll direct you to his excellent review – which you’ll want to read in its entirety - after which I’ll return with a little bit more. […]
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12:20 PM | Nevada Reports HPAI H5N8 in Wild Bird
  # 9651   Nevada becomes the sixth western state to report HPAI H5 in wild birds this winter, as we learn from this release from the Nevada Department of Agriculture.    Dept. of Ag Says Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu Found in Nevada Posted: Jan 30, 2015 7:57 PM EST Updated: Jan 30, 2015 7:57 PM EST From the Nevada Department of Agriculture: The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) confirms the first case of Highly […]
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9:41 AM | Top Melbourne Chinese restaurant fined 15K over cockroach infestation
The operators of a top Chinese restaurant in Melbourne have been fined $15,000 after pleading guilty to multiple breaches of food hygiene laws. City food inspectors found the Red Emperor in Southbank infested with cockroaches, mouse droppings and fruit flies … Continue reading →

January 30, 2015

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9:31 PM | How sequencing foods’ DNA could help us prevent diseases
Davey Alba asks in Wired, what’s almost as important to life as food? Food safety. Last year, in the US, according to the CDC, one in six people were affected by food-borne diseases, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths, and an … Continue reading →
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8:10 PM | Popular Canberra bakery fined 10K for food safety breaches
The clean up took only hours, but the risk to public health through potentially contaminated food has seen one of Canberra’s largest private bakeries fined $10,000. That Bagel Place, also known as Bread Nerds, pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates … Continue reading →
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7:42 PM | 12 cases of salmonella confirmed in Texas
The mystery remains on what exactly is causing Dalhart residents to catch salmonella. Coon Memorial Hospital says that the first case was reported several weeks ago, and since then, it’s increased at a steady rate. Improper handling of food is often a … Continue reading →
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7:22 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Mariano Vázquez
I recently interviewed physicist Mariano Vázquez. From his office in Barcelona, Spain, Mariano told me about the supercomputer encased in a crystal box located in a century old church a few hundred meters away from him. Read on as this Argentina native recounts how his time spent traveling around the world in a merchant ship with his family, the giant map on his childhood bedroom wall, and the invention of his own term for “scientist” all ultimately led him to a life of […]
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7:02 PM | Are Australian raw milk pushers the same as U.S. anti-vaxxers?
Adults can choose to do many things, like drink unpasteurized milk or not get vaccinated, but those choices should not be inflicted on children. A growing number of parents in recent years, especially in the U.S., have skipped their children’s … Continue reading →
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5:30 PM | FluView Week 3: Senior Hospitalizations Soar & H1N1v In Minnesota
    *** Correction ***  H1N1v was inadvertently listed as H3N2v in original post – Mea culpa.   # 9650   Since we’ve got a drifted `H3N2’ virus running rampant across much of the northern hemisphere, an unusually vigorous outbreak of H5N1 in Egypt, our regular winter H7N9 mini-epidemic in China, avian HPAI H5 viruses spreading impressively internationally, and even a pair of imported H7N9 cases in Canada this week  . . .it makes perfect […]
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2:29 PM | Saudi Arabia Reports 2 New MERS Cases
# 9649   Saudi Arabia’s intermittent outbreak of winter MERS cases continues today after a couple of days with no reports, with two new cases , bringing January’s total to 20. Yesterday, in anticipation of seeing more cases later in the spring, the CDC’s MMWR posted a  MERS Epidemiological Update & Guidance document for clinicians, public health, and the public.
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1:02 PM | Guangdong’s H5N6 Patient Recovers
Credit Wikipedia   # 9648   Normally the recovery of a single avian flu patient wouldn’t rate a separate blog entry, but since this is only the second human H5N6 case diagnosed - and the first one was fatal (see Sichuan China: 1st Known Human Infection With H5N6 Avian Flu) - the recovery of the 58-year old man diagnosed last December from Guangdong Province is not only good news, it is newsworthy.   Guangdong The first H5N6 bird flu patient rehabilitation […]
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12:24 PM | Taiwan Bird Flu: Eating Chicken Is Safe – Raw Raw Raw!
Credit China Times   # 9647   One of last year’s genuinely `bad ideas’ came from Saudi Arabia, where for a time it became a thing to post pictures of people kissing camels in order to prove that `beauty’  did not spread the MERS coronavirus.    While there is no evidence that anyone died from this practice, it nonetheless undermined their public health’s messaging on MERS prevention, which recommends wearing masks and gloves around […]
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12:17 PM | Bacterial Flagella: Twist, Stick or Dodge
The bacterial flagellum is an intricate multi protein assembly with many functions. Continue reading →
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11:15 AM | H7N9 Confirmed In 2nd B.C. Patient
Credit Wikipedia # 9646   On Monday we learned of the first known imported case of H7N9 into North America (see PHAC Statement On Canada’s Imported H7N9 Case) when a woman, recently returned from China with her husband, developed flu-like symptoms and was tested by her doctor in Vancouver.     Her husband briefly developed flu-like symptoms as well, and also suspected as having been infected. Neither were sick enough to be hospitalized, self-isolated at […]
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3:58 AM | Litchi fruit connection? Outbreaks of unexplained neurologic illness in India
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that outbreaks of an unexplained acute neurologic illness affecting young children and associated with high case-fatality rates have been reported in the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar state in India since 1995. … Continue reading →
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2:53 AM | Why inspectors fret about rats: Rodents as hosts of infectious diseases
Rodents are recognized as hosts of more than 60 zoonotic diseases that represent a serious threat to human health (Meerburg et al. 2009, Luis et al. 2013). This special issue emerges from a workshop organized in Bangkok at the Faculty … Continue reading →
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2:32 AM | Yikes
Well its been over 2 months since I've managed to carve out any time to put up a blog post. December was a blur of talks and interview for faculty candidates at MQ. I gave 5 talks in two weeks. Perhaps the most unusual was a talk at a Workshop on the Ethics and Regulation of Synthetic Biology. This workshop was held in the Trinity Chapel at Robert Menzies College. I can honestly say that was the first time I've ever given a scientific talk in a church. Luckily, I didn't get struck by lightning, […]
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2:00 AM | Vaccinating Against the Dark Side
The measles outbreak emerging from "the happiest place on Earth" in Anaheim, California, is grabbing headlines and provoking conversation in the media regarding how best to appeal to parents opposed to vaccines. Using clear facts and appealing to common logic has failed, repeatedly. Blaming and shaming only seem to provoke heel-in-the-sand reactions and encourage retreat. So how does one persuasively sway opinion and convince the skeptics of the safety and utility of vaccinating against preve
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2:00 AM | Vaccinating Against the Dark Side
The measles outbreak emerging from "the happiest place on Earth" in Anaheim, California, is grabbing headlines and provoking conversation in the media regarding how best to appeal to parents opposed to vaccines. Using clear facts and appealing to common logic has failed, repeatedly. Blaming and shaming only seem to provoke heel-in-the-sand reactions and encourage retreat. So how does one persuasively sway opinion and convince the skeptics of the safety and utility of vaccinating against preve
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12:36 AM | Infectious agents with no genome
If the reader does not believe that viroids and satellites are distinctive, then surely prions, infectious agents composed only of protein, must impress. The question of whether infectious agents exist without genomes arose with the discovery and characterization of infectious agents associated with a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). These diseases are […]
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12:08 AM | Media not paying attention in Lebanon so police to begin raiding non-compliant restaurants
Minister Wael Abu Faour announced Wednesday a new strategy to refocus the media’s attention on his food safety campaign: raids. The ministry will order a food shop or factory found to be selling contaminated food to stop. If they don’t, … Continue reading →

January 29, 2015

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11:59 PM | Transparency? Hepatitis A outbreaks in Belize, UK schools
The Ministry of Health is working to contain a localized outbreak of Hepatitis A at a government school in Buena Vista, Cayo. According to reports, there was one case of the virus reported before Christmas, and since then at least … Continue reading →
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