Posts

February 18, 2015

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1:58 PM | Referral: VDU Blog On Closure Of Guangdong’s Live Markets
Credit FAO     # 9725   Amid news of another H7N9 case reported from Guangdong Province (see CHP notified of additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guangdong),  Dr. Ian Mackay weighs in with a blog on the importance of closing live bird markets (LBMs)  in China in order to reduce the spread of the virus.   Follow the link to read:   Guangdong sees sense among the feathers... Guangdong province in southern China is suspending […]
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1:02 PM | JCI: Preexisting Human Antibodies Neutralize H7N9 influenza strains
  Credit NIAID   # 9724   Based on some of the press coverage overnight (see below) one could be forgiven for coming away with the impression that if you’ve gotten the flu shot recently, you are probably immune to the avian H7N9 flu.   But of course, things are never as simple as the headline writers would have us believe. First, this excerpt from Agence France-Presse.   Flu shot protects against new strain H7N9: study February 18, […]
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2:10 AM | Measles in the brain: Fusion gone awry
The entry of enveloped viruses into cells begins when the membrane that surrounds these virus particles fuse with a cell membrane. The process of virus-cell fusion must be tightly regulated, to make sure it happens in the right cells. The fusion activity of measles viruses isolated from the brains of AIDS patients is not properly regulated, […]

February 17, 2015

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10:19 PM | Universities increasingly irrelevant
When I talk with my older four daughters, I increasingly find myself quoting my father: I don’t care if you go to university, but be really good at something. The cost-benefit simply isn’t worth it. And university presidents are increasingly … Continue reading →
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5:24 PM | Two Eisen lab papers selected for the PeerJ 2015 Collection
Cool.  Two paper from my lab were selected as highlights of 2014 papers in the Peer J: PeerJ Collection: PeerJ Picks 2015 CollectionThe papers wereThe microbes we eat: abundance and taxonomy of microbes consumed in a day’s worth of meals for three diet typesJenna M. Lang,  Jonathan A. Eisen,  Angela M. Zivkovicand PhyloSift: phylogenetic analysis of genomes and metagenomesAaron E. Darling,  Guillaume Jospin,  Eric […]
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3:06 PM | SNL, Who, lab?
Saturday Night Live is like The Who – a greatest hits group (I always preferred Townsend’s solo stuff). So while the 40th anniversary of SNL provided a lot of laughs, it took 40 years to get to those gems. And … Continue reading →
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3:01 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 5 More MERS Cases
# 9723     For the second day in a row the Saudi MOH has announced 5 new cases, bringing their 7-day total to 39, and February’s total so far to 51.   Of today’s 5 cases, only one is listed as having a known risk exposure (contact with a case in a hospital).   For a discussion of what we know, and don’t know, about community transmission you may wish to revisit my first blog of this morning (WHO MERS Update – Saudi Arabia).  […]
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1:33 PM | CIDRAP/Wellcome Trust: Recommendations For Accelerating The Development Of Ebola Vaccines
  # 9722   While the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has slowed, it is far from ended, and the specter of future outbreaks still remains, even when this epidemic ends.  The best hope for reducing the impact of future outbreaks – particularly among healthcare providers – is the development of a safe and effective vaccine.   Today CIDRAP has announced the publication of a major (84 page PDF) expert committee report (Recommendations  for Accelerating […]
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12:32 PM | H7N9 In Guangdong, Seasonal Flu In Hong Kong
Credit HK CHP     # 9721   Hong Kong’s CHP has been notified of an additional H7N9 in Guangdong Province, bringing to 54 the number of cases reported from their neighboring province this winter.  Unfortunately, timely reports from the rest of mainland China are in short supply, making it difficult to characterize this year’s outbreak. 17 February 2015 CHP notified of additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guangdong  The […]
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11:43 AM | WHO MERS Update – Saudi Arabia
One of MANY Updated MERS-CoV Graphs by Dr. Ian Mackay    # 7920   As the chart above (courtesy of Dr. Ian Mackay’s VDU Blog)  illustrates – even though we are just over halfway through the month of February - this month is already the fourth most active month for MERS cases on record (n=41).  Although we track the daily numbers via the Saudi MOH announcements, those reports are represented by charts, and contain few epidemiological […]
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8:01 AM | Updated programme for the 1st International Blastocystis Symposium + Pre-Symposium Course programme
There has been changes to the programme for the 1st International Blastocystis Symposium (May 28-29), please go here to see the updated programme.Also, the Pre-Symposium Course programme (May 27) can be viewed here. We will be absolutely spoilt with speakers!Please do not forget to visit the official website for updates on the social programme plus abstract/registration deadlines.
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1:20 AM | Mardi Gras at the Leprosarium
Laissez les bons temps rouler! Tomorrow is the final and momentous hurrah of the Carnival season, which culminates with Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday. In New Orleans, the city I call home, Carnival is a season of festivities, decadence, and tradition, one that is celebrated amongst neighbours and visitors alike. Our revelry is an egalitarian one - everyone is welcome to come witness and participate in Carnival. But, for over a century, just a couple of hours […]
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1:20 AM | Mardi Gras at the Leprosarium
Laissez les bons temps rouler! Tomorrow is the final and momentous hurrah of the Carnival season, which culminates with Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday. In New Orleans, the city I call home, Carnival is a season of festivities, decadence, and tradition, one that is celebrated amongst neighbours and visitors alike. Our revelry is an egalitarian one - everyone is welcome to come witness and participate in Carnival. But, for over a century, just a couple of hours […]
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1:17 AM | Portland TV investigative report details food safety issues at Foster Farms in 2014
Kyle Iboshi, Senior Investigative Reporter at KGW TV reports that USDA inspection reports that were acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request (below, exactly as shown) detail multiple violations at a Kelso, WA Foster Farms processing plant in 2014. Foster … Continue reading →
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12:22 AM | Charlotte restaurant server diagnosed with hepatitis A
When I was a PhD student I volunteered as a dishwasher in a restaurant as part of my food safety-related research. I saw lots of things, but the two things I remember most is that I was often asked to work … Continue reading →

February 16, 2015

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8:26 PM | Somehow, I’d rather be doing this
Coaching hockey or skating.             Or coaching swimming (which I have no idea how to do, but someone was needed)           Or coaching cooking (thanks for the thermometers, Chapman, and our … Continue reading →
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6:33 PM | ‘I’m massively jaundice and my liver’s pretty crappy’; hepatitis A victim speaks
Hepatitis A is a pretty nasty foodborne virus, often leading to long term liver issues. According to the Daily Mail, one of the folks in a cluster of hep A illnesses linked Chinese-grown berries in Australia is speaking out. Trudie Sims, … Continue reading →
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4:37 PM | Our Bodies Are a Habitat
Thanks to PBS Digital Studios and YouTuber Coma Niddy we can now add face mites to the list of subjects featured in a science parody music video! “You might not think you have mites. But you do! So face it, our bodies are a habitat!” Head on over to Coma Niddy’s original post to read more about his experience meeting his face mites!
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4:07 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 5 More MERS Cases
  # 9719   Saudi Arabia’s streak of consecutive days with multiple MERS cases continues for the sixth day, with 5 new cases reported from four locations around the Kingdom. This brings February’s total to 46, more than 4 times the number reported by Saudi Arabia in February of last year.   Three of the five cases have no known risk exposures, while the one from Khobar is a Health Care Worker with hospital exposure, and the one from Jeddah is reported to be […]
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2:52 PM | BacterioFiles 202 - Controlling Coliform Computers
This episode: Programming bacteria to sense and keep genomic records of environmental inputs! Download Episode (15.9 MB, 17.4 minutes)Show notes:News item 1/News item 2/Journal Paper Other interesting stories: Biocontrol fungus responds offensively to plant pathogen (paper) Fungi that zombify ants lurk in wait outside ant colony for fresh victims We need caution interpreting microbiome data Algal viruses can have big impact on algal blooms, and thus on CO2 Some cyanobacteria can grow using […]
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1:40 PM | Guangxi Zoo Reports 2 Tiger Deaths Due To H5N1
Credit Wikipedia   # 9718   That cats – including tigers – can be infected by the H5N1 virus is hardly news (see A Dog & Cat Flu Review), but it has been quite some time since we’ve heard of a large H5N1 outbreak among big cats at a zoo.     Those with long memories will recall the events of 2003-2004 where Thailand lost more than 140 of these magnificent creatures due to the virus (see WHO 2006 update H5N1 avian influenza in domestic […]
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12:46 PM | UK: Scarlet Fever On The Ascendant (Again)
Group A streptococcal infections: update on seasonal activity, 2014 to 2015 Ref: HPR 9(5)   # 9717   In 2014 the UK saw a huge increase in the number of Scarlet Fever cases (blue line in chart above), after a decade of declining or flat numbers.  We looked at that rising tide of cases last March in UK : Sharp Rise In Scarlet Fever Cases In 2014, but the peak in cases didn’t occur until April.   Before the year ended, more than 14,000 Scarlet fever cases […]
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12:09 PM | Poliovirus replication – many generations per cell
Viruses with RNA genomes can multiply quickly, but not very accurately. This means that errors, or mutations, occur when the RNA is copied to create new viruses. The advantage of this rapid, but mistake-filled, RNA replication process is that some … Continue reading →
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11:31 AM | Welcome Lisa!
We're very pleased to welcome Professor Lisa Moore from the University of Southern Maine, who is visiting us on sabbatical for four months. Lisa's visit is supported by a prestigious Endeavour Foundation Fellowship. Lisa is an expert on the physiology of Prochlorococcus, a photosynthetic marine cyanobacterium that is one of the key primary producers underlying the entire marine food web.Fun fact- there are an estimated 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Prochlorococcus cells in the world's […]
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6:33 AM | Noncoding DNA and Bacterial Evolution
by S. Marvin Friedman | The rapid pace of bacterial evolution is thought to result from the ease with which these organisms acquire new genetic information. What is the source of the genetic variation behind these bits of razzle-dazzle? The primary basis of bacterial phenotypic plasticity has long been considered to be changes in gene content resulting from horizontal gene transfer (HGT) as well as...
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1:22 AM | The cost of an outbreak: hepatitis A edition
The folks who run food safety at big companies often talk about the challenges they face when it comes to asking for resources. It’s all about return on investment. I don’t know much about ROI, an 18% drop in stock isn’t good. According to … Continue reading →
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1:14 AM | Going public: Is this why companies incorporate in Conn? Food safety info, public in the dark
Rob Cribb of the Toronto Star points out failings in transparency at Health Canada, and repeats a phrase I’ve often used, that there is no way the U.S would tolerate the amount of public service hidings that go on in … Continue reading →

February 15, 2015

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10:08 PM | Duck blood? Major eateries in Taiwan using stuff with biotoxins
The Taichung Health Bureau yesterday stated that an investigation into several manufacturers of duck blood confirmed to be contaminated with metallic biotoxins indicated that major chain restaurants such as Tripod King, Wulao and Spicy Fans are supplied by these manufacturers. … Continue reading →
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9:48 PM | Food safety systems in India challenged by hygiene related problems
Indian food safety systems are challenged by the rapidly growing population, hygiene related problems, incidences of residues of antibiotics and heavy metals, foodborne pathogens, incidence of infectious diseases in food producing animals and anti- microbial resistance. These observations were made … Continue reading →
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9:40 PM | Diarrhea downs 200 at export processing firm in Philippines
Diarrhea downed 200 employees of an export processing company in Danao City on Thursday, with investigators looking at contaminated food or water as among the possible causes. Of the 200 affected employees of Mitsumi, two were confined at the Danao … Continue reading →
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