Posts

February 27, 2015

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8:48 PM | Cold Feet, Warm Heart
Raleigh has had a fit of cold, snowy (and icy) weather this week. So while I watched this snow-covered Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) swim around an icy lake near my house, I couldn’t help but think “Brrrrr.” The core temperature of a goose, wrapped in its fluffy down coat, is ~104° Fahrenheit. But what about those feet? They must be freezing! In a way, they are. The feet of this goose are only ~35°. As warm blood from the body travels to the toes, it transfers heat […]
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7:55 PM | Market impacts of E. coli vaccination in US feedlot cattle
Immunization through vaccination has been a commercially available pre-harvest intervention to reduce E. coli shedding in cattle for about five years. Despite demonstrated substantial improvement in human health that vaccine adoption offers, it has not been widely adopted. This highlights … Continue reading →
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7:43 PM | Minnesota vs. California: Investigators can’t identify source of E. coli O157 outbreak; celery or caterers suspected
The root of last summer’s E. coli outbreak linked to California grown celery remains a mystery. After six months of inspections and testing, investigators found no local sources of E. coli contamination – good news for Salinas Valley growers and … Continue reading →
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7:35 PM | In China, visitors to resort have to sign Norovirus waiver
Hundreds of Taiwanese visitors to Taichung’s Hoya Resort Hotel in Wuling have signed an affidavit that they are staying at the resort at their own risk in the midst of an outbreak of norovirus GII.17, a genotype common in certain … Continue reading →
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7:19 PM | Salmonella in tahini sauce in Canada
Amira brand Tahini Sauce has been recalled for Salmonella as part of an investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) into a foodborne illness outbreak. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. That’s going … Continue reading →
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7:14 PM | Oman Worries Over H5N1 Blowin’ In The Wind
Dust Movement Across The Globe – Credit NASA     # 9765   An unusual story has appeared in Omani press his week, where worries are expressed that avian flu (or MERS) might be carried in from other regions via the long-lived dust storms that frequent the Middle East during the spring.   While there isn’t a lot of evidence to support the notion that viable avian flu viruses could be carried sucessfully over long distances by dust storms, the idea […]
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12:10 PM | WHO: H5 Currently The Most Obvious Avian Flu Threat
How viruses shuffle their genes (reassort)   # 9763     In the `Good Old Days’ – that is, before the spring of 2013 – the bird flu threat around the world was pretty much centered around the H5N1 virus, which re-emerged in 2003 after making a brief appearance in the mid-1990s in Hong Kong and Southern China.    Sure, there were some `minor’ players – primarily H7 viruses and H9N2 – that had shown the ability to infect […]
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9:07 AM | Life in Our Phage World
"[the] molecular biology of higher organisms does not stand on the shoulder of giants, but on the shoulder of dwarfs like phage T4 and lambda." Continue reading →
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8:18 AM | It’s not just chicken but UK wants piping hot bang for its intervention dollar: Campy results released
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today published the latest set of results from its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Campylobacter is a food bug mainly found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning … Continue reading →
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8:03 AM | Food safety nerd alert: FDA launches iRISK 2.0
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released FDA-iRISK 2.0, an enhanced version of the free web-based tool that helps users conduct their own quantitative risk assessments in support of food safety. The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied … Continue reading →
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3:31 AM | Blocking HIV infection with two soluble receptors
Because viruses must bind to cell surface molecules to initiate replication, the use of soluble receptors to block virus infection has long been an attractive therapeutic option. Soluble receptors have been developed that block infection with rhinoviruses and HIV-1, but these have not been licensed due to their suboptimal potency. A newly designed soluble receptor […]
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2:00 AM | What foods make people sick? It’s complicated, so follow the bug
Sometimes it’s best to let things ruminate, ferment, instead of simply repeating public relations drivel. Guess that’s one reason people write books. Or journal articles. Various U.S. government agencies patted themselves on the back for their “improved method for analyzing … Continue reading →
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1:00 AM | ‘Lab confirmation should never be a requisite to implicating food in an outbreak’ Epidemiology is getting hammered to protect interests
From Australia to Wisconsin to cucumbers, epidemiology is getting hammered with a bunch of people defending their turf by saying, there’s no definitive proof. The hepatitis A outbreak in Australia linked to Chinese frozen berries that has now sickened 19 … Continue reading →
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12:19 AM | WHO Warns On Evolving Influenza Threat
Credit NIAID     # 9762   The World Health Organization has issued a lengthy and strong statement on the emergence and proliferation of new subtypes of novel influenza around the world, and the potential risks they pose to global health.  Themes that are familiar to regular readers of this blog.   Helen Branswell has a report this evening summarizing the statement, and I’ve posted a link to it and a few excerpts.  I’ll have more to say […]

February 26, 2015

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10:08 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 3 New MERS Cases & 3 Deaths
  # 9761   We’ve an unusually late update today from the Saudi MOH, where they cite 3 new cases and three recent fatalities. But disappointingly, and without explanation, their English version doesn’t carry the usual line listing.   The Arabic version (see below) has a line listing, but as it is a graphic format, doesn’t lend itself to our normal translation tools. However, we can piece together that one case is from Al-Jawaf, another from Riyadh, […]
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10:02 PM | Always the kids: raw goats milk in Idaho sickens at least 2
On August 27, 2014, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Division of Public Health (DPH) was notified of two cases of cryptosporidiosis in siblings aged <3 years. Idaho’s Southwest District Health (SWDH) investigated and found that both children had … Continue reading →
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5:54 PM | ECDC: Rapid Risk Assessment On Novel Bornavirus Detected In EU
Variegated Squirrel – Credit Wikipedia    # 9760   As it’s been nearly a week since I’ve written about a newly discovered, deadly zoonotic pathogen affecting humans (see CDC & EID Journal On The Recently Discovered Bourbon Virus), allow me to introduce you to a recently identified bornavirus that appears to be behind a cluster of acute fatal encephalitis in three squirrel breeders in Europe.   Variegated squirrel breeders may have died as a […]
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4:38 PM | WHO: Recommended Composition Of 2015-16 Northern Hemisphere Flu Vaccine
Credit NIAID   # 9759   Twice each year influenza experts gather to discuss recent developments in human and animal influenza viruses around the world, and to decide on the composition of the next influenza season’s flu vaccine. Due to the time it takes to manufacture and distribute a vaccine, decisions on which strains to include must be made six months in advance.   Which means the composition of the northern hemisphere’s vaccine must be decided upon in […]
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4:05 PM | WHO Releases Updated Egyptian H5N1 Numbers
  # 9758   Yesterday, in Egypt’s Uncertain H5N1 Case Count, we looked at the efforts of Sharon Sanders to maintain FluTracker’s  Egypt - 2015 WHO/MoH/Provincial Health Depts H5N1 Confirmed Case List, which today shows 74 cases for the year, and 20 deaths for the year.    Today I was pleased to stumble upon a new report, issued by the World Health Organization, that closely matches Sharon’s totals, indicating that since September 24th Egypt has […]
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2:43 PM | Deconstructing the 90% Of Camels Have MERS Meme
Credit FAO   # 9757   Earlier this week a big story hit the Arabic press – and has caused heavy (and very concerned)  traffic on Arabic Twitter – stating that 90% of Saudi Camels have the MERS virus.  I mentioned it briefly two days ago in Postcards From The MERS Twitterverse, but have been unable to find any paper, or study to back up this assertion.    First a media report on this story, after which I’ll be back with reasons why I […]
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1:00 PM | Michael Goldberg, Thirty Years The ASM's Executive Director
by Elio | You must have heard it said that no one is indispensable to an institution. Maybe so, but such truths come in degrees. Every so often someone comes along who makes a genuine difference in how an organization functions. I turn here to Michael Goldberg, who thirty years ago began...
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12:51 PM | Do You Still Have A CPO?
125 Years of Pandemics – Credit ECDC    # 9756   Although the next pandemic may not arrive for years, or even decades, the next big global health crisis could just as easily emerge this year or next. While many think we’ve `already had our pandemic’,  there is no mandated minimum `time out’ period between these global events.   We’ve seen 6 influenza pandemics over the past 120 years (plus several `close calls’ in 1951, […]
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11:15 AM | Myanmar Reports H5N1 Outbreak
  # 9755   It’s been several years since we last heard about H5N1 in  Myanmar (aka `Burma’), although like other low-resource, developing, and/or secretive areas of the world we don’t exactly enjoy a reliable stream of news and disease outbreak information from there.    Many areas are remote, and exotic disease surveillance – if it exists at all – is often very patchy.   Myanmar first reported H5N1 in 2006, but the […]
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9:22 AM | Internet cheese? Be careful Europeans
The suitability for consumers of a variety of raw milk cheeses purchased over the Internet was investigated in terms of packaging, labelling, physicochemical parameters and microbiological safety. 108 purchases from seven European countries were examined. The prevalences of Salmonella spp., … Continue reading →
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9:00 AM | HIV Rev – Really Exasperating Virus protein
Two papers provide a more detailed structural picture of how HIV Rev works. Continue reading →
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1:03 AM | Except for the Salmonella: Fairway ‘Like No Other Market’ recalls raw hazelnuts (Filberts)
Fairway “Like No Other Market” of New York, NY, is recalling Fairway brand Raw Hazelnuts (Filberts), because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The Fairway brand Raw Hazelnuts (Filberts) were distributed to Fairway stores in New York, … Continue reading →
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12:07 AM | Food purchases remain faith-based, at market or megalomart: 4 sick with scombroid from tuna in Sydney
As the buy-local mantra becomes indoctrinated in Australia with 18 confirmed sick with hepatitis A from frozen Chinese berries, a Sydney café has vowed to change suppliers after four were sickened with scombroid poisoning linked to tuna from Thailand. No … Continue reading →

February 25, 2015

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10:59 PM | Floating strip club in Alaska got in trouble for dumping poop in the water
A strip club housed in an old crab fishing boat docked off the coast of Alaska is in trouble for allegedly dumping all their waste into the ocean. The owners of The Wild Alaskan, Darren Byler and Kimberly Riedel-Byler, are pleading not guilty … Continue reading →
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10:47 PM | You see a lizard, I see foodborne illness: 36 students vomit after eating dish in India
As many as 36 students of a government school in Ulupakkudi area complained of nausea after eating ‘paniyaram’ from a roadside eatery which had parts of lizard in it, police said. Paniyaram is a fried dish available both in sweet … Continue reading →
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9:23 PM | Today's all male genomics meeting brought to you by Oxford Nanopores
The Tweets about this really say it all so I am just going to embed them here:Disappointed that 9/9 speakers lined up for @nanopore’s MinION conference are men http://t.co/UJ8gSy32Rn #YAMMM cc @phylogenomics @hollybik— Karen James (@kejames) February 25, 2015@kejames Was it renamed ManIon conference? @nanopore @phylogenomics @hollybik— Claudia Taake (@ct_la) February 25, 2015@kejames @nanopore @phylogenomics @hollybik However, close to 100% of the attendees are woman, […]
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