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April 09, 2014

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11:59 AM | Reminder: CDC COCA Call On Tickborne Diseases Tomorrow
(Credit CDC) # 8453   Although I announced this more than a week ago, the CDC will hold a COCA call tomorrow afternoon on tickborne diseases, with an emphasis on Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.   While primarily of interest to clinicians, the CDC holds frequent COCA (Clinician Outreach Communication Activity) calls which are designed to ensure that practitioners have up-to-date information for their practices.   If you are unable to attend the […]
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11:28 AM | Xinhua News: Extensive H5N1 Outbreaks In North Korean Poultry
  # 8452   Although we occasionally get hints of outbreaks of bird flu, or FMD, in North Korea, very rarely do we details out of that closed and secretive nation. Given the amount of bird flu activity (H5N1 & H5N8) we’ve seen reported out of South Korea over the past decade, the assumption has been that unreported bird flu outbreaks probably occur with some regularity in the DPRK as well.   This morning Yonhap News, Xinhua News, and others are reporting on a […]
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10:28 AM | Saudi MOH Announces 4 MERS Cases In Riyadh (1 fatal)
  # 8451   Although most of the MERS-CoV reportage the past week has centered around Jeddah (see Saudi MOH Statement On Jeddah Cluster), the Riyadh region continues to provide its share of Coronavirus reports as well.  On April 2nd we saw a report of 2 cases in the Saudi Capital, and overnight the MOH has announced an additional 4 cases there.   Unlike in Jeddah, where some cases have been described as asymptomatic, all four of these cases are serious enough to […]
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9:51 AM | No one wants their kid to get sick from animals: best practices paper published
From North Carolina, U.S. to Brisbane, Australia, outbreaks of E. coli, Salmonella and other pathogens related to petting zoos or animal exhibits have been devastating to the families involved. We wanted to provide a checklist for parents, and the teachers … Continue reading →
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9:05 AM | Does food safety risk analysis have a public hope? How politics make us stupid
I have no time for scientists who bitch behind closed doors about how they’re misunderstood by the public. As Thomas Jefferson famously stated, which I always use to introduce my risk analysis course, “I know no safe depository of the … Continue reading →
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6:25 AM | Taiwau Bozu: The bald geisha plague of 1901
The strange disease which has produced so much hilarity came, it is said, from Formosa; and a person may conclude that he has been attacked by it when he gets up in the morning and finds a hitherto hairy poll as bare as a billiard ball. No other symptoms make their appearance. It is bad […]
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2:50 AM | Amazon Mycorenewal Project launches campaign to clean up world’s largest oil spill with microbes
Deep in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon lies one of the worst environmental disasters in human history. Over the past several decades, oil companies have discharged more than 18 billion gallons of petroleum contaminated wastewater into the Sucumbíos region in northeastern Ecuador. The contamination, which spans a geographic region roughly the size of Rhode Island, is described by…
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1:57 AM | Crown Princess cruise ship hit with fourth norovirus outbreak in four years
Earlier this year Time Magazine included Princess Cruise Line’s ship, the Crown Princess on a list of the 13 worst cruise-related norovirus outbreaks. Twice. 4. Princess Cruises, Crown Princess (January 2010) Total number sick: 396 In 2010, there were 14 outbreaks of illnesses … Continue reading →
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1:30 AM | Las Vegas’ Firefly has food safety problems again
In June 2013 Las Vegas’ Firefly Tapas Kitchen and Bar was linked to over 250 cases of salmonellosis. Investigators fingered cross-contaminated chorizo as the likely source. At the time of the outbreak owner Tabitha Simmons was quoted as saying, “It’s just … Continue reading →

April 08, 2014

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8:03 PM | Guest post by Kevin Penn: In Search of Bacteria on Drugs: Secondary Metabolites and Microbial Ecology
Below is a guest post from Kevin Penn, who used to work in my lab ...I am a former Research Associate of Jonathan’s interested in understanding evolution and ecology of microbes in natural environments.  Recently I’ve become interested in learning about the expression of secondary metabolite related genes in natural settings to put the gene’s products into an ecological context, because almost certainly microbes are not making natural products just to benefit humans. […]
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7:37 PM | Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital™ PCR Technology Highlighted at the 2014 AACR Annual Meeting
Helping doctors monitor their melanoma patients’ progress in response to treatment is just one of the many exciting applications of Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR™) technology being showcased at the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting taking place in San Diego, CA from April 5–9. Introduced less than three years ago, ddPCR [...]
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6:01 PM | 20 cops suffered from diarrhea during Sehat Ka Insaaf drive in Pakistan
At least 20 constables suffered from diarrhea and were admitted to hospitals when they eat food during the “Sehat Ka Insaf programme”, hospital sources told The Nation on Monday. They said that district administration has made food arrangements for police … Continue reading →
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5:52 PM | Fancy food ain’t safe food – Welsh curry edition
A curry house voted the best in Wales only last year has been fined £10,000 after food hygiene inspectors found rat droppings on the premises. The owners of Llanymynech’s Bengal Spices, Rabiul Alam, 34, and Mizanur Chowdhury, 43, pleaded guilty … Continue reading →
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5:40 PM | Wilbur Feagan and food safety
A fitting obituary for Wilbur S. Feagan, who died March 29 at his Springfield, Missouri home at the age of 100. Feagan, who founded the Black Pearl Award via the International Association for Food Protection with an endowment of $35,000, … Continue reading →
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5:24 PM | Man arrested at NY airport for smuggling cocaine in frozen meat
Many years ago when I was a teenager, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (Canada), some friends went to Jamacia, and came back with a wooden owl – filled with ganga. Things haven’t changed much. From … Continue reading →
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3:25 PM | Saudi MOH Statement On Jeddah Cluster
    # 8450 Amid escalating media reports on the cluster of MERS cases in Jeddah, and the recent announced closure of the King Fahd Hospital Emergency Room (see More MERS-CoV Reports From Jeddah), the Saudi MOH has released a lengthy press release detailing their response, and reassuring the public that the situation is `stable’.   Among the points made:   The closure of the King Fahd Hospital ER is for 24 hours, for disinfection purposes. […]
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1:53 PM | Meanwhile, In The UAE . . .
UAE’s Proximity to Saudi Arabia     # 8449   The Abu Dhabi Health Authority has announced the detection of a new case of MERS-CoV, this time a 59-year old renal patient.  Shiloh on FluTrackers has a version of the story from Arabian Business News, while I’ve a report from Gulf News below. Thus far, we’ve no indication of how or where this patient contracted the virus.   New coronavirus case in Abu Dhabi 59-year-old Abu Dhabi […]
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1:16 PM | WHO Ebola Update, West Africa – April 7th
Credit @UNMILNews   # 8448   Later today the World Health Organization will host a virtual press conference on the Ebola outbreak, but for now we have a few twitter comments by WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl (posted this morning), and the latest GAR (Global Alert & Response) Report, dated April 7th.     Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update Disease Outbreak News 7 April 2014 - As of 7 April, a cumulative total of 151 clinically compatible […]
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12:46 PM | More MERS-CoV Reports From Jeddah
Coronavirus – Credit CDC PHIL   # 8447     Given some of the governmental reprisals against outspoken journalists in Saudi Arabia in recent years, the media’s sudden willingness to cover the MERS-CoV outbreak at King Fahd hospital in Jeddah (see here & here) is both surprising and encouraging.    Overnight there have been well over a dozen  newspaper articles in the Arabic press announcing the closure of that hospital’s Emergency […]
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2:55 AM | ‘I wasn’t really informed’ spring chicks can bring Salmonella
Springtime and the approaching Easter holiday are causing concern among health officials. This is the time of year people tend to buy chicks and ducklings for their backyard flocks. As a result, the number of people who become infected with … Continue reading →
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2:49 AM | 26 poisoned by sushi in Sonora, Mexico
The number of people with symptoms of food poisoning from eating sushi increased to 26, reported the Ministry of Health of the state. All affected persons have noted that the ingested products in the branch “Rodriguez” chain restaurants That Roll … Continue reading →
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2:27 AM | Fancy food ain’t safe food – NZ edition
As New York City somewhat quietly enacted its first paid sick leave law on April 1, wedding guests and eight serving staff at the exclusive Northern Club in Auckland, New Zealand fell sick in a suspected norovirus outbreak. The wedding … Continue reading →
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2:19 AM | Over 300 report Norovirus symptoms linked to Japanese steakhouse in Michigan
With more than 300 people now reporting symptoms consistent with norovirus linked to the Wild Chef Japenese Steakhouse in Michigan, public health types have now said it’s safe to reopen. Ottawa County Public Health spokeswoman Kristina Wieghmink said the department … Continue reading →
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2:06 AM | I’m barfing; does it matter where foodborne illness happens?
Some people publish in peer-reviewed journals; some publish reports; some publish for a vanity press. According to a report from the U.S. Center for Science in the Public Interest, outbreak data show that Americans are twice as likely to get … Continue reading →
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1:17 AM | 80 crypto cases a year; handwashing is never enough: UK health chief warns over risk of infection from region’s petting farms
We have a paper coming out shortly about best practices at petting zoos and farm visits and state fairs and just hanging out with animals. I’ll follow my own best practice and wait until it’s published to talk about it, … Continue reading →

April 07, 2014

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10:12 PM | Serving Up Beer (and Science!)
Generally speaking, any time we get to leave the confines of our labs and offices to engage the public in the science of their daily lives, we’re pretty stoked. When that public engagement has something to do with BEER, well, that’s just AWESOME. So was the case Saturday when Your Wild Life, in partnership with the NC Science Festival and the NC State Brewing Lab, set up shop in the Science of Beer Tent at the World Beer Festival in downtown Raleigh. We served up samples of three […]
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8:34 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 4 More MERS-CoV Cases
  # 8446   It’s been a confusing couple of days, trying to decipher the announcements coming out of Saudi Arabia on their latest MERS cases.  Yesterday, they announced 5 people tested positive (albeit 4 were asymptomatic), yet they only incremented their case count by 1 (see Saudi MOH Adds 1 New MERS-CoV Case & 2 Fatalities).   Roughly 10 hours ago, the KSA MOH site updated their case count, adding four new cases (TTL=171), but posted no […]
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7:49 PM | EID Journal: Stability Of MERS-CoV In Milk
Photo Credit Wikipedia   # 8445     Although limited human-to-human transmission of the MERS Coronavirus has been established, and there’s pretty good evidence to suggest repeated introduction of the virus to humans via camels (see CIDRAP NEWS report WHO sees camels as MERS source, but route uncertain), the full ecology of this virus remains murky at best.    Today we’ve a letter that appears in the CDC’s EID Journal that looks at […]
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6:12 PM | Study: Chikungunya’s Growing Threat To The Americas
One of two highly competent vectors in the Americas   # 8443   Up until about a decade ago,Chikungunya (CHKV) - a mosquito-borne virus - was only seen in central Africa.  In 2005 it jumped to  Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, where it sparked a major epidemic infecting tens of thousands. Since then it has spread rapidly to counties such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and others in  Asia and  the Western Pacific.   […]
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5:44 PM | Parasitic Mind Control
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