April 10, 2014

11:14 AM | WHO MERS-CoV Update KSA & UAE – April 10th
Photo Credit NIAID     # 8456   The World Health Organization has posted an update on the MERS coronavirus, with details on 5 recent cases (4 from Saudi Arabia, 1 from the UAE).  The two cases from Jeddah are part of a much larger event (see Saudi MOH Statement On Jeddah Cluster) which has received considerable attention over the past couple of days, and additional case information is expected.     Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus […]
11:00 AM | Talmudic Question #107
Suppose you are once again strolling on that deserted beach and again, on cue, the genie reappears. This time he is offering you some mice from a lineage that he has bred for hundreds or more generations under germ-free conditions. Would you expect to find any genetic changes in these mice? If so, what might they be?
10:52 AM | Revisiting Tamiflu Efficacy (Again)
      # 8455   Just over two years ago in The Tamiflu Controversy Continues, we looked at the ongoing debate over the effectiveness of oseltamivir (Tamiflu ®) in the wake of the release of a Cochrane group analysis that found insufficient evidence to show whether the drug reduces influenza complications and transmission.   Three weeks later the CDC responded with a statement on their Have You Heard? website, which published their rationale for continuing to […]
6:36 AM | Racing up the Best Seller's List
Currently #285,426 on Amazon's best seller list (how the hell did it get that high?) is our new book on Molecular Methods in Environmental Microbiology. Andy and I would like to thank all our contributors for their hard work and their patience, as this book took a long time to see the light of day. I now remember why it was over a decade since I last edited a book.
5:16 AM | WTF? 524 now confirmed sick with Salmonella linked to Foster Farms chicken
This is why microbial food safety should be marketed so consumers have a choice. As of April 7, 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports a total of 524 people have been infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella … Continue reading →
5:02 AM | Resources For Blastocystis Epidemiology Research
 I often get questions related to Blastocystis epidemiology research, and many of these are 'how-to' questions.And as announced, I've chosen to dedicate a separate post listing some easy-to-use tools for subtyping Blastocystis from humans and animals.First, I want to guide your attention to the YouTube video that I made; it takes you through various important steps of subtyping and introduces you to the online database that can be used to call subtypes by BLASTing batches of fasta files - […]

Stensvold CR (2013). Comparison of sequencing (barcode region) and sequence-tagged-site PCR for Blastocystis subtyping., Journal of clinical microbiology, 51 (1) 190-4. PMID:

Alfellani MA, Taner-Mulla D, Jacob AS, Imeede CA, Yoshikawa H, Stensvold CR & Clark CG (2013). Genetic Diversity of Blastocystis in Livestock and Zoo Animals., Protist, 164 (4) 497-509. PMID:

Stensvold CR (2013). Blastocystis: Genetic diversity and molecular methods for diagnosis and epidemiology., Tropical parasitology, 3 (1) 26-34. PMID:

Alfellani MA, Stensvold CR, Vidal-Lapiedra A, Onuoha ES, Fagbenro-Beyioku AF & Clark CG (2013). Variable geographic distribution of Blastocystis subtypes and its potential implications., Acta tropica, 126 (1) 11-8. PMID:

Clark CG, van der Giezen M, Alfellani MA & Stensvold CR (2013). Recent developments in blastocystis research., Advances in parasitology, 82 1-32. PMID:

Stensvold CR, Ahmed UN, Andersen LO & Nielsen HV (2012). Development and Evaluation of a Genus-Specific, Probe-Based, Internal-Process-Controlled Real-Time PCR Assay for Sensitive and Specific Detection of Blastocystis spp., Journal of clinical microbiology, 50 (6) 1847-51. PMID:

Stensvold CR, Suresh GK, Tan KS, Thompson RC, Traub RJ, Viscogliosi E, Yoshikawa H & Clark CG (2007). Terminology for Blastocystis subtypes--a consensus., Trends in parasitology, 23 (3) 93-6. PMID:

2:32 AM | Potential outbreak at Muskegon sports bar
Muskegon, MI birthplace of the Detroit Red Wings’ Justin Abdelkader and punk rocker Iggy Pop is also home to what looks like a foodborne illness outbreak. According to Mlive, patrons of Bonicki’s Bistro reported illnesses to owner Norm Spyke as well as … Continue reading →
2:30 AM | WTF? New Zealand dairy cleared to sell raw milk after Campylobacter outbreak, two kids get E. coli from different NZ raw milk
As Village Milk Timaru in New Zealand begins selling raw milk after being linked to seven Campylobacter illnesses, at least two Timaru pupils have contracted E. coli following school trips, with raw milk being a possible cause. Who serves raw … Continue reading →
2:28 AM | And in non shocking news of the day - more overselling of the microbiome
Well, just read this story: Possible link between bacteria and breast cancer: study | CTV London News.  Serious overselling of the microbiome going on here.  As far as I can tell, all that was shown in the work discussed here (for which there is no publication or presentation of any kind reported) is that the bacteria found in canecrous breast tissue differs from that in non cancerous tissue.  Interesting perhaps.  But not really that informative as just about every […]
2:05 AM | WTF? Keep food safety out of AIB, Kansas State proposal
A former colleague at Kansas State University asked me yesterday if I would deliver my annual talk with summer public health students despite being unceremoniously dumped last year. I said sure, I’ll always talk with students: they shouldn’t have to … Continue reading →
1:25 AM | Why did UK pool stay open 11 days after diarrhea alert?
The Aqua Vale Swimming Pool remained open for 11 days even though environmental health chiefs raised concerns about a dangerous contamination. Its two pools were later shut down, on April 3, after tests revealed that cryptosporidium was present in the … Continue reading →
1:11 AM | 7 outbreaks of Norovirus in Vegas
The Southern Nevada Health District Office of Epidemiology has, since March 29, 2014, identified 7 clusters and outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis illness in the Las Vegas area. Venues associated with these clusters and outbreaks include a hotel conference, several private … Continue reading →

April 09, 2014

7:44 PM | Inspiring Female Scientists
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3:04 PM | Briefing: banana disease
More The post Briefing: banana disease appeared first on MicrobiologyBytes.
2:59 PM | MERS, The Twitterverse & MOH Damage Control
  # 8454   A sign of increasing concern among residents of Saudi Arabia is that Arabic social media – in particular twitter – has gone ballistic this morning over the MERS coronavirus.     I’m tracking about 30 new tweets a minute containing the word  كورونا (`SK’ or `Corona’) coming across the transom, many with photos attached.  Before Chrome can auto translate a batch, another […]
2:17 PM | Helper's available...
Greetings,       Immune system is a subject of interest to us for a variety of reasons. Vaccines is just one of them (but considered a major). However, here is an important point made by someone. Most of the vaccines that have been created are not the work of immunologist, but rather a microbiologist who by trial and error, comes across a potential antigen which may be significant. Further experiments, establishes how the immune system works. Such a reverse approach is often […]

Eyerich, S., Eyerich, K., Pennino, D., Carbone, T., Nasorri, F., Pallotta, S., Cianfarani, F., Odorisio, T., Traidl-Hoffmann, C., Behrendt, H. & Durham, S. (2009). Th22 cells represent a distinct human T cell subset involved in epidermal immunity and remodeling, Journal of Clinical Investigation, DOI:

Kara EE, Comerford I, Fenix KA, Bastow CR, Gregor CE, McKenzie DR & McColl SR (2014). Tailored immune responses: novel effector helper T cell subsets in protective immunity., PLoS pathogens, 10 (2) PMID:

1:44 PM | Virology question of the week
On the science show This Week in Virology we receive many questions and comments, which are read every week. I also get many questions here on virology blog, which I tend to answer by email. However I think that everyone could benefit from these questions, so I’ve decided to post one here each week along […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 →
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 →
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 […]
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…
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 →
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

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. […]
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 [...]
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 →
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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