Posts

March 19, 2015

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4:28 PM | EID Journal: Three Looks At The H5N8 Virus In Europe
H5N8 Branching Out To Europe & Japan     # 9847   The EID Journal has posted four articles today on the H5N8 virus, three of which are closely related enough to deserve mention in the same blog post.   All three find the H5N8 virus detected in England, Germany, and The Netherlands to be closely related to the Asian/Korean strains. Despite the reservations expressed by the UN CMS/FAO Co-Convened Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds and […]
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3:58 PM | H7N9: No News Is . . . . Curious
Credit WHO – January 2015   # 9846   During the first two waves of H7N9 in China we saw cases run from early winter until early May, with the peak numbers falling between February and March. So it is curious that the last official H7N9 notification to be published by Hong Kong’s CHP came 10 days ago, on March 9th (see CHP notified of additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Mainland).   Since then, we’ve seen one notification of an H5N1 […]
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3:33 PM | Dirty Dining, Vegas style
Darcy Spears of KTNV Channel 13 writes there is a four-way tie for the dirtiest dining in Las Vegas this week. At Beijing Chinese Cuisine on Eastern and Serene, inspectors found pork blood dripping onto noodles in a loosely covered … Continue reading →
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3:30 PM | We’re Celebrating Our 100th Cat-iversary!
Cat Tracker launched in May 2014. In a little less than one year, we’ve enrolled over 500 indoor/outdoor kitties from 9 different states and several foreign countries! Today we are pleased to announce that we have recorded tracks from over 100 cats! So what have we learned so far? In examining the home ranges of our first 1oo cats, we’ve found that the cats’ tracks are just as unique as the cats themselves. The majority of our 100 cats travel less than 5 hectares (about 12 […]
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2:50 PM | Why not today? Can China up food safety if 2022 Olympics held in Beijing?
If China wants to up its food safety, white mice as food tasters is not the way to do it. But an article in Shanghai Daily states that as a candidate for 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Beijing is eager to … Continue reading →
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2:37 PM | Pretty safe: How safe are food courts in Montreal?
With a team of microbiologists from McGill University, CBC Montreal Investigates/Radio-Canada conducted tests for bacteria on tables, trays and garbage bins at four different shopping centres in the Montreal area: Fairview Pointe-Claire, the Eaton Centre, Complexe Desjardins and Champlain Mall. … Continue reading →
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1:18 PM | Hong Kong Investigating Three Cases Of Ocular Dirofilariasis
    # 9845   Dirofilariasis is a fairly rare vector borne disease with a high squick factor, as it results in the implantation and growth of filarial nematodes (roundworms) in the affected host.   Primarily infecting dogs, canids, cats, and raccoons – Dirofilaria occasionally finds its way into human hosts, where it can set up housekeeping in the lungs, in nodules under the skin, or even in the eye.   The CDC website describes Dirofilariasis as: […]
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11:06 AM | CIDRAP: Role Of Migratory Birds Questioned In US H5N2 Outbreaks
Major Global Migratory Flyways – Credit FAO   # 9843   Four months ago, in Bird Flu Spread: The Flyway Or The Highway?, we looked at the often contentious debate over the role that migratory birds play in the global spread of avian influenza viruses.  A week later, in H5N8: A Case Of Deja Flu?, we compared the recent spread of HPAI H5N8 to the 2005-2006 geographic expansion of H5N1.   While poultry producers are often quick to blame wild or migratory birds, […]
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7:00 AM | A Talmudic Conversation
We posted Talmudic Questions #118 and #119 together because they struck us as being inter-related, both sending our thoughts down similar avenues. Their appearance together on the blog prompted a lively conversation that we thought too interesting to leave buried out of sight. Moreover, we note that it is not too late to take part by posting a comment. You don't have to be an expert to contribute a comment here, or on any of our posts. We invite you to join in...
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4:00 AM | What’s a snake when there’s Wilson Pickett?
Last week it was a snake in a box of cereal, today it was a snake curled up in a sealed bag of potatoes bought from Woolworths. Who knows if these things are true, but Australia does have, uh, interesting … Continue reading →
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2:19 AM | 61 sickened: Report released in Kansas Meals on Wheels Norovirus outbreak
The most likely source of a norovirus infection in Jan. in Kansas that sickened at least 61 was the Meals on Wheels kitchen in Chanute, but enough data to pinpoint a more specific source could not be obtained. The outbreak … Continue reading →
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2:09 AM | Food fraud: Iron dust in tea and brick powder in chilli in India
Frequent warnings and raids seem to have little impact on rampant food adulteration in the district. Over the last six months, food safety officials registered 45 cases against producers and shopkeepers for selling adulterated packed food following complaints and random … Continue reading →
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2:03 AM | Going public: Why did KFC let a TV crew inside its chicken operation?
BBC television, according to Bloomberg Business, is about to give viewers an in-depth look at how KFC raises, kills, and serves millions of chickens to its British customers every year. The fast-food chain gave BBC journalists access to its operations … Continue reading →

March 18, 2015

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9:44 PM | TWiM #100: Omnis cellula e cellula
Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Michael Schmidt, Elio Schaechter and Jo Handelsman.   The TWiM team celebrates 100 episodes with a Talmudic question, and discussion of how a single mutation alters bacterial host tropism. Subscribe to TWiM (free) on iTunes, via RSS feed, by email or listen on your mobile device with the Microbeworld app. Links for this episode A single mutation alters bacterial tropism (Nat Gen) Talmudic […]
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7:30 PM | OIE Notification: LPAI H7N3 At California Turkey Farm
Merced County - Credit Wikipedia   # 9842   This news was telegraphed several hours ago when we saw the announcement that  Hong Kong bans import of poultry meat and products from Merced County, California, US, but we now have an OIE notification with preliminary details of this low path H7N3 outbreak.   In it’s HPAI form, H7N3 has caused major losses and disruptions in the poultry industry, including in the 2005 Fraser Valley (B.C.) outbreak in 2004 that […]
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6:40 PM | Analysis for Salmonella of all imported beef products sampled for Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC)
This notice provides instructions for import inspection personnel to follow when collecting samples for Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 and other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) that will also be analyzed for Salmonella. Raw beef samples, including import MT08 and … Continue reading →
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6:34 PM | Georgia Waffle House fails second inspection
There was this one time, it was Sorenne’s birthday and we were driving to Florida, so she got to pick where we ate. It was a Waffle house. It was awful. A Waffle House in Henry County, Georgia, temporarily closed … Continue reading →
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5:59 PM | Macaroni & metal
Kraft Foods Group is voluntarily recalling approximately 242,000 cases of select code dates and manufacturing codes of the Original flavor of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner – due to the possibility that some boxes may contain small pieces of metal. … Continue reading →
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2:17 PM | Avian Flu Antibody Survey In Poultry Workers – Taiwan 2012
    # 9841   The recent emergence and rapid spread of several new HPAI H5 viruses (H5N8, H5N2, H5N3, and a `new’ H5N1), and the infection of a woman in Taiwan in 2013 with H6N1, has elevated concerns that one of these avian viruses could someday adapt well enough to humans to pose a public health threat.    The good news is, thus far, none have shown an ability to infect and sicken humans. But most our reassurances about their poor infectivity in […]
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12:55 PM | Dr. Eleanor Dishes about Ants!
Looking for a new podcast to listen to while waiting for the next season of Serial? Check out Under The Microscope — available for free on iTunes — where you can even hear a friendly voice, Dr. Eleanor Spicer-Rice, discuss ants with Daniel Hill and Clint Bergeron. Under the Microscope Ants, with Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice — Episode 3  Released Feb 01, 2015 Join us as we chat with Senior Science Editor Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice (who literally wrote the […]
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11:59 AM | Referral VDU Blog: Catching Ebola: mistakes, messages and madness
  Credit CDC PHIL     # 9840   One of the early `voices of reason’  on the threat posed by the Ebola Virus outside of Africa, was Dr. Ian Mackay on his VDU Blog.  While many in  the news media, social media, and the tabloids went nuts last August over improbable `Ebola doomsday scenarios’  (see A Look Down The Ebola Rabbit Hole) –   Ian produced a series of focused, and scientifically grounded looks at the `real […]
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10:55 AM | Grants and My friend the Chocolate Cake
I'm miles behind on my blogging, but in the meantime we've written an ARC Discovery Grant and three National Health and Medical Research Grants. The  last of those were submitted to Canberra today. As I was walking home from University today I was listening to some old 1990s music on my headphones, and happened to be listening to "I've got a plan" by My Friend the Chocolate Cake.The lyrics "I've got another plan, this time it will work" seemed appropriate given the grant writing we've been […]
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10:17 AM | Media Reports: H5N6 Reported In Thanh Hóa Poultry
Thanh Hoa Province – Credit Wikipedia   # 9839   One of the `second generation’ of HPAI H5 viruses to appear over the past 18 months – H5N6 – is one that that, unlike H5N8 and H5N2, has shown an ability to infect and seriously sicken humans. We first saw it appear, infecting poultry and killing one person, last April in Nanchong City (see Sichuan China: 1st Known Human Infection With H5N6 Avian Flu).    Once the threat was identified, local […]
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3:42 AM | 4 of the most commonly recalled foods (and how to buy them safely)
We talked to former professor of food safety, Douglas Powell, about the safest ways to eat the things we love. Baked Goods The Concern: While it’s been more than 10 years since the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act … Continue reading →
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3:31 AM | The foodborne illness parade
I have a few signature dishes that I cook regularly: corn/basil salad, beef bourguignon, butternut squash soup and steak salad. They are in a weekly rotation. People (Dani) tells me that the meals are good. But I wouldn’t sell them. … Continue reading →
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12:41 AM | Jersey restaurants’ 4-strike rule: Hamilton considers stiff fines, closure for failed health inspections
In an attempt to make sure restaurant workers are washing their hands and keeping the kitchen clean, Hamilton officials are preparing to bring the hammer down on restaurant owners who frequently violate health codes. The township council on Tuesday is … Continue reading →
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12:21 AM | Scotch and a smoke with your kid? Raw milk fans cheer state laws
Bioethicist Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics, at New York University, tells Today Health, “Adults drive, cliff dive and smoke, but they have to be informed about risks. The ethical considerations become much more difficult when kids … Continue reading →

March 17, 2015

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11:46 PM | Soil microbiology interview for British Science Week
MMU Engage interviewed me for British Science Week to find out about the research being done at MMU by various researchers. In the video I explain how we extracted DNA from the sand of the Kalahari in Botswana, which we then used to identify the microbial communities that glue the …
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11:34 PM | Everything comes down to poo
My mom said she got foodborne illness a couple of years ago, and it affected her for over a year. She didn’t contact the health unit and didn’t go the hospital, because that’s how we roll. My mom’s like most … Continue reading →
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10:15 PM | Cryptosporidium: 22 years since Milwaukee outbreak killed 69 sickened 400K
Twenty-two years ago this month, residents of Milwaukee started falling ill with nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. At first, a highly contagious intestinal virus was blamed. But as symptoms struck tens of thousands of people – closing schools and businesses … Continue reading →
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