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Posts

April 13, 2014

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12:14 AM | Letting Time Fly and Remembering...
I haven't blogged for a while, sad to say.  It has been a pretty challenging semester, with my 48 "wild" freshmen, teaching "The Unity of Life" (in other words, introductory cell and molecular biology) here at the University of Puget Sound. My students are smart and capable young women and men, and it's my job to get them thinking like biologists, and to become used to the work ethic and philosophy of science courses---and more specifically, prepare them for the kinds of future courses […]

April 12, 2014

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8:50 PM | 7.6M Quake Solomon Islands: No Pacific Wide Tsunami Expected
Credit USGS      # 8466   A shallow (10km) and fairly large (M7.6 – 7.8) earthquake has struck in the Solomon Islands.  While we are awaiting reports, here is a link and excerpts from the Tsunami bulletins being issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.     Note: This earthquake was originally reported as an 8.4, but has been downgraded. At this only local warnings have been issued. BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A DESTRUCTIVE […]
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6:43 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 4 More MERS-CoV Cases In Jeddah
# 8466   The MERS outbreak in Jeddah continues to expand with the announcement this afternoon of an additional four cases. Two (ages 58 & 71) are listed in stable condition, while two others (ages 26 & 39)  are reportedly asymptomatic.   Although the Jeddah cluster began more than two weeks ago, over the past 48 hours we’ve seen 10 new cases announced, bringing the total to over 20 cases.   Both asymptomatic cases and the 58 year-old in stable […]
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3:03 PM | Referral: VDU Blog - Professor Ali Mohamed Zaki On MERS-CoV
Coronavirus – Credit CDC PHIL     # 8465   During the summer of 2012 Egyptian virologist Dr Ali Mohamed Zaki, working at the Virology Laboratory of Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia isolated a previously unknown coronavirus from a 60-year old male patient with pneumonia and acute renal failure.  That virus, we know today as MERS-CoV.   The story of his discovery, and eventual `reward’ (he was fired for going public with his […]
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11:47 AM | KSA: Public Health Messaging On MERS
  Credit KSA MOH   # 8464   In my last blog (see MERS-CoV: The Twitter Of Their Discontent) I wrote about some of the dubious medical advice being purveyed by Arabic newspapers and on Twitter for dealing with the MERS Coronavirus.  Luckily, more reasoned public health advice is being promoted as well. An example comes from a widely tweeted link to the following SAAID.net story.   8 important questions of Corona Dr. Mohammed Al-Filali Doctor in […]
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10:57 AM | MERS-CoV: The Twitter Of Their Discontent
  Looking down the rabbit hole     # 8463   Three days ago in MERS, The Twitterverse & MOH Damage Control, I wrote about the outpouring of concern, the proliferation of rumors, and growing criticisms of the Saudi government over the recent surge in MERS coronavirus cases reported in Saudi Arabia on the popular social media platform twitter.   While twitter traffic containing the word   كورونا (`SK’ or […]
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2:16 AM | Norovirus outbreak: why do bad things seem to happen at Chuck E Cheese?
Health officials say they’re seriously concerned about an outbreak of Norovirus linked to a well-known restaurant. Hundreds of people walk through the doors for birthday parties – but when Kelly Green left this Chuck E Cheese’s she was not celebrating. … Continue reading →
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2:09 AM | French court fines former owner, director of Marcel Baey for 2010-2011 Listeria cover-up
A French court condemned the former director of salmon smoker Marcel Baey on April 8 in relation to an investigation into unreported listeria occurrences and misleading marketing material at the company in 2010 and 2011, reported La Voix du Nord. … Continue reading →
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2:01 AM | European Hepatitis A-frozen berry update
More than 1,300 hepatitis A cases have been reported in eleven Member States since January 2013, with 240 confirmed cases related to the ongoing outbreak. Initially the outbreak was associated with people who had travelled to Italy. However seven Member … Continue reading →
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1:57 AM | Health fair attendees stricken with food poisoning
The Rio Grande County Public Health Department in Colorado is investigating an outbreak of food poisoning possibly linked to food that was served at the 9Health Fair in Monte Vista on Saturday, April 5. 9Health Fair says the food at … Continue reading →
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1:47 AM | Health department says Bonicki’s outbreak could have resulted from improper food storage
The Michigan Department of Community Health reports that an outbreak of foodborne illness at Bonicki’s Sports Bistro, could have resulted from improper food storage. In a news release Friday morning, April 11, the health department officials said the investigation at … Continue reading →
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1:41 AM | Evans of CFIA gets honorary degree
Dr. Brian Evans, former chief vet at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the point-man on the first mad cow disease outbreak in 2003, is the first recipient of an honorary degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Calgary. … Continue reading →

April 11, 2014

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10:26 PM | TWiM #76: Genetic biopixels and a pathogenic sweet tooth
Vincent, Elio, Michael, and Michelle discuss the use of bacteria to build a genetic sensor for heavy metals, and how host sugars help enteric pathogens to expand after antibiotic treatment.  
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10:17 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 3 New MERS Cases (1 Fatal)
# 8462   While I was away from my desk for an hour the Saudi MOH posted an update (at midnight their time) describing three additional cases in Jeddah (see Saudi MOH Announces 3 More MERS-CoV Cases In Jeddah and Saudi MOH Statement On Jeddah Cluster for earlier reports on this cluster). In addition to seeing more mild or asymptomatic infections being reported, in recent weeks we have also seen a younger cohort of patients than we’ve seen in the past, with many cases […]
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8:21 PM | It was the buns, with Salmonella, in the buffet line
In January 2014 over 30 patrons of Maple Grove MN’s Old Country Buffet fell ill with salmonellosis. Following the illnesses, health authorities investigated the pathogen source and according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal are pointing to contaminated dinner rolls … Continue reading →
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5:55 PM | Crash Course in Blastocystis Subtyping
The intestinal micro-eukaryote Blastocystis continues to puzzle the world. Is it good, is it bad? Currently, we have no tools to differentiate colonisation from infection, but what we can do for now is to subtype Blastocystis isolates using simple molecular methods. Over at the Blastocystis Parasite Blog, I made an inventory of online tools (SOPs, […]
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5:00 PM | Cool animation following the breakdown of starch through the gut
Cool animation following the breakdown of starch through the gut
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3:22 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Julia Stevens
Julia Stevens has traveled to more countries than she has states in the US. Before she was a globe-trotting scientist, Julia was a middle school student in St. Louis, MO, and Dallas, TX, where she played on both the volleyball and basketball teams. Middle school was the time when Julia learned to be fiercely independent and to try to not care what everyone else thought of her. Learn about her life before she was a scientist… Lea: Do any memorable classroom moments stand out from middle […]
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2:38 PM | Where do viruses come from?
Read more   The post Where do viruses come from? appeared first on MicrobiologyBytes.
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1:54 PM | Unraveling the NEIDL
The NEIDL (National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory) at Boston University is a newly constructed biosafety level 4 facility which can be used to study the most dangerous human pathogens. The facility is amazingly safe, as we documented in our film about the facility, Threading the NEIDL. Some members of the Boston City Council think otherwise […]
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1:32 PM | WHO MERS-CoV: Jordan Reports Case With Travel History To KSA
  Photo Credit WHO       # 8461   With the UAE reporting a cluster over night, and Saudi Arabia dealing with a cluster of fairly long duration in Jeddah, I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised to see a MERS case has turned up in Jordan.   According to this release from the World Health Organization, this patient had recent travel history to Jeddah, and visited a hospital there.     Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus […]
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11:47 AM | Saudi MOA Spokesman: Camel Link Unproven, MERS-CoV Is MOH Problem
  Photo Credit Wikipedia   # 8460   Even as evidence that camels are – at least partially – involved in the carriage and transmission of the MERS Coronavirus mounts (see CIDRAP NEWS report WHO sees camels as MERS source, but route uncertain) , the spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture has stated that MERS is essentially not their problem, but the problem of the MOH. Camels are part of the Saudi national identity. Any restrictions on (or […]
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11:23 AM | Reasons to be cheeful: Influenza treatment
Maybe there is some reason to be more optimistic about treating influenza. The post Reasons to be cheeful: Influenza treatment appeared first on MicrobiologyBytes.
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10:40 AM | UAE Ministry Of Interior Announces 6 MERS-CoV Cases (1 Fatality)
AL AIN (aka AL AYN) population 568,000 (2010)   UPDATED 0800 EDT:   Although earlier reports were ambiguous, additional English Language reporting now makes it appear that there are 6 cases, and 1 fatality in this cluster (see Mers virus claims another victim in UAE –khaleejtimes).   # 8459   The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior’s official twitter stream is https://twitter.com/AbuDhabiPolice, which over the past few hours has been […]
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3:25 AM | Charlotte Papa John’s manager diagnosed with hepatitis A
Food business owners should worry about hepatitis A. Individuals can shed the virus without showing symptoms and even an infected handwashing superstar will result in lineups outside the business or at the health department while patrons get their post-exposure shots. … Continue reading →

April 10, 2014

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9:53 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 3 More MERS-CoV Cases In Jeddah
  # 8458   While the Saudi Twitterverse has been rife with (unconfirmed) rumors of additional MERS cases (see yesterday’s MERS, The Twitterverse & MOH Damage Control) over the past 24 hours, we have an announcement late this afternoon from the Saudi MOH confirming three more cases from Jeddah.   Few details are provided, so we don’t know exactly how – epidemiologically speaking - these cases fit into the previously announced outbreak (see Saudi MOH […]
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9:40 PM | London’s Golden Triangle of Scientific Innovation
The Mayor of London today launched MedCity, a partnership between UCLPartners, King’s Health Partners, Imperial College AHSC, Oxford, Cambridge and the Greater London Authority, to establish London and the Greater South East as a world-leading cluster for life sciences. MedCity will provide a ‘front door’ for industry, and will build partnerships to attract investment in [...]
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7:33 PM | The CDC Responds To The Cochrane Tamiflu Study
Photo Credit CDC   # 8457   Earlier today, in Revisiting Tamiflu Efficacy (Again), I wrote at some length on the BMJ –  Cochrane Library review Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults and children – that examined a subset of the scientific literature and cast doubt on its effectiveness in treating influenza. While I too lamented the lack of solid, well mounted Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) proving the […]
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3:13 PM | And let the microbiology word play begin (re Entamoeba feeding)
New paper out about feeding by the parasitic amoeba Entamoeba histolytica.  Apparently, the work shows that this organism feeds by in essence taking bites out of cells.  (I say apparently because the paper is not open access and I don't have access to it from where I am writing).Anyway - there are a lot of news stories about this.  And for some reason (I am not quite sure why) this has inspired headline writers to get out their pun pens and creative thinking caps.  Here are […]
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1:50 PM | Your Wild Life goes to NSTA|Boston
This past weekend I attended the National Science Teachers Association conference in Boston, joining 11,500 other educators who were passionate and enthusiastic about SCIENCE! I learned a lot about what science teachers are looking for in regards to materials in support of the Next Generation Science Standards as well as the increasing demand for citizen science-based lesson plans so that students can be more involved in their community (and as a bonus, a network of scientists). It […]
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