November 30, 2014

11:24 PM | Turkish Delight in Bransholme (U.K.) not so delightful after health inspectors award zero-rating
Risk factors in restaurant inspections mean more to me than appearances (the old school floors/walls/ceilings). I look for the stuff that actually makes folks sick like improper temperatures, cross-contamination and poor hygiene. According to Hull Daily Mail, a recent inspection … Continue reading →
10:48 PM | Cards Against Humanity offers poop for Black (or brown?) Friday
My Black Friday experience consisted of a quick trip to Best Buy (for a gift for my dad) and some browsing of Amazon. I’m not into lineups, traffic or parking rage. While my Email inbox has been littered with television, … Continue reading →
3:17 PM | TWiV 313: With viruses like these, who needs enemas?
On episode #313 of the science show This Week in Virology, Vincent, Alan, and Rich discuss how norovirus, an enteric virus, can replace the functions of the gut microbiome. You can find TWiV #313 at
1:48 PM | Italy: AIFA Investigating Deaths Among Flu Vaccine Recipients
  # 9389   Flu vaccines have a long and enviable history of safety, and while side effects have been reported, serious reactions are very rare.  But no vaccine, or any other drug or medicine for that matter, is 100% safe or benign.    Complicating matters, drugs and vaccines are often used by the elderly or those with pre-existing medical problems, making it difficult to sort out the cause whenever an untoward medical event occurs.    This […]
12:03 PM | Zhejiang Province Reports H7N9 Case
Credit Wikipedia   #9388   On Friday, in H7N9 Case In Guangdong Province, I mentioned there have been local media reports suggesting a couple of other H7N9 cases in China over the past week, but no announcement at the provincial level. While the government health sites still aren’t carrying any notifications, today we have the next best thing;  China’s official news agency Xinhua is reporting details on a case from Jiaxing city (Zhejiang Province) from […]
11:15 AM | Netherlands: Bird Flu Outbreak In Zoeterwoude
Credit   # 9387   It’s been more than a week since the last announced bird flu outbreak in the Netherlands (see Netherlands: 2nd Farm At Kamperveen Showing Signs Of Bird Flu), but it appears this respite was short lived, as today the Central Government website announced the culling of 28K chickens for an H5 infection at a farm in Zoeterwoude.  This farm is about 10 km from Ter Aar which reported an outbreak 10 days ago. […]
9:11 AM | Tales from the Ivory Tower: when ‘Publish or Perish’ becomes ‘Publish & Perish’
For many scientists, it isn't 'Publish or Perish' but 'Get Funded or Perish', a pressure which can have devastating consequences.

November 29, 2014

3:39 PM | Saudi MOH: 1 MERS Case In Rafha
# 9386   While camels are strongly suspected to be the primary zoonotic source of human MERS infection, according to an interview by Dr. Tariq Ahmed Madani last week, only about 3% of human MERS cases actually acquire the virus directly from an animal source.    Limited, and thus far inefficient, human-to-human transmissions – mostly in healthcare settings – are responsible for the rest.   While zoonotic transmission represents only a small […]
12:13 PM | Japan: H5N8 Detected In Izumi Crane
H5N8 Branching Out To Europe & Japan   # 9385   Like the Mission San Juan Capistrano’s annual return of the swallows,  Izumi City on southern tip of Japan is famous for the yearly arrival and overwintering of thousands of rare Hooded, and White-naped cranes.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists both species as Vulnerable (one step up from Endangered).   Both species spend their summers in Mongolia, Siberia, or […]
7:45 AM | This Month in Blastocystis Research (NOV 2014): Blasting Blastocystis Edition
The 'This Month' post is triggered by a paper emerging in the journal Gut Pathogens describing a clinical pilot study on the efficacy of triple antibiotic therapy in Blastocystis positive IBS patients. The article is free for download here. The triple therapy consisted of fourteen days of diloxanide furoate 500 mg thrice daily, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (cotrimoxazole) 160/80 mg twice daily, and secnidazole 400 mg thrice daily. Six of ten patients achieved eradication. […]

Nagel R, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H & Traub R (2014). Clinical pilot study: efficacy of triple antibiotic therapy in Blastocystis positive irritable bowel syndrome patients., Gut pathogens, 6 34. PMID:


November 28, 2014

10:36 PM | Over 100 exposed to hepatitis A after virus-shedding kids go to school
Getting my kids to wash their hands is a constant struggle. I’m likely not alone. There’s not a whole lot of great information on this outbreak but Heart is reporting that an outbreak of hepatitis A in Wessex (U.K.) has … Continue reading →
10:22 PM | U.K. health authority’s lack of public information questioned in E. coli O55 outbreak
Doug chronicled one of the issues that public health folks deal with regularly – what to tell the public about investigations into outbreaks, and when – for his most recent column for Texas A&M’s Center for Food Safety, Go public … Continue reading →
4:24 PM | H7N9 Case In Guangdong Province
Credit Wikipedia   # 9384   Although there have been local media reports suggesting a couple of other H7N9 cases in China over the past week, so far only today’s case – announced by Hong Kong’s CHP – that of a 31 year old woman hailing from Guangdong province, has been officially announced.   Wed don’t seem to be seeing near the detail (or timeliness) of case reporting in recent months that we grew accustomed to during the first two waves. […]
3:59 PM | Saudi MOH Reports 2 MERS Cases (Sakaka & Taif)
# 9383   Two weeks after reporting a pair of cases in Sakaka -  the capital of Al Jawf Province in the north of Saudi Arabia – the MOH is reporting a 3rd infection, that of a 34 y.o. old male. Taif, which has seen the most cases this fall, records another case today as well, this time a 40 y.o. male.  Both are Ex-pats, and a route of exposure for these cases has not been determined.
1:02 PM | A Dog & Cat Flu Review
  # 9382   Until about a decade ago, it was widely (and erroneously) believed that dogs and cats were not generally susceptible to influenza A infections.    That perception began to change in 2004 with two unrelated events; the jump of equine H3N8 influenza from horses to Florida greyhounds, and the infection by avian H5N1 of tigers fed infected chickens in Thailand.   While not considered major players (yet) in the spread of human or novel influenza […]
10:27 AM | WHO On Ebola In Semen Of Convalescent Men
Credit CDC PHIL   # 9381   One of the more unusual aspects of an Ebola virus infection is that even after a man has recovered, he can shed the virus in his semen for up the three months.   This is a topic that we’ve looked at in the past, most recently in Lancet: Mackay & Arden On Ebola In Semen Of Convalescent Men, and prior to that in a pair of VDU blogs Ebola virus in semen is the real deal.... &  Ebola: Blood, sweat and tears. While […]

November 27, 2014

8:56 PM | Thanksgiving in space
According to the food safety nerd historians (and every HACCP class) the world of food safety was revolutionized by a partnership between NASA and Pillsbury. Jennifer Ross-Nazzal writes about the history in Societal Impact of Space Flight. Concerned about safety, … Continue reading →
8:00 PM | Food porn: Thanksgiving edition
Still have some time left to roast. Looking for 165F.
1:45 PM | Bird Flu Reports From India, Japan, Korea & Taiwan
Credit UK Defra   # 9380   Between 2004 and 2007 the H5N1 avian flu virus expanded its range, going from basically being a problem for a handful of Southeast Asian countries, to being a problem for much of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  We saw huge wild bird die offs in China, Indonesia, and Eastern Europe, along with thousands of poultry infestations and culling operations.     Along the way, several hundred humans were infected as well. […]
1:39 PM | Cheating the Peer Review Process
Publish or perish. That is the motto that constantly rings in the ears of scientists across the globe. One must regularly publish data in peer reviewed journals or risk losing funding and academic status. However, publishing a paper can take years of hard work and may involve a little bit, (read: a ton), of luck. […]
8:24 AM | Gross? Just how hygienic is Mumbai’s street food?
No matter the time of night or day, somewhere on the streets of Mumbai there is a plate of deep-fried, mashed-potato patties called vada-pav being served with green chutney; or a bowl of pav-bhaji, a spicy mixture of mashed tomatoes … Continue reading →
8:21 AM | Bean sprouts tainted with banned additive are again found in China
Bean sprouts are back in the news for all the wrong reasons. Not for the first time, Chinese inspectors have found bean sprouts tainted with a banned food additive, in this instance in a production center on the southern outskirts … Continue reading →
8:05 AM | Looks like I picked the right week to leave Brisbane as hail strikes
This is what the apartment building across from us looks like.             This is what our next-door neighbor’s place looks like.               This was my response:
12:13 AM | TWiM #92: Flying biofilms
Vincent, Elio, Michael and Michele discuss the possible eradication of wild poliovirus type 3, and how microsporidian parasites prevent locust swarming behavior.  

November 26, 2014

10:26 PM | From the uh, no, that’s not evidence-based file: ‘You never want to cook a turkey frozen.’
Thanksgiving food safety coverage is saturating the Interwebs and some of it is good (evidence-based) some isn’t. Here’s a gem from WVIB in Buffalo: “You never want to cook a turkey frozen,” said [James] Malley. Malley, who’s been a culinary … Continue reading →
10:13 PM | U.K. restaurant fines are no joke; caterer fined £20k for outbreak
Wedding season for Dani and I lasted three years. Not our wedding (which was organized somewhat hastily) but the ones we attended and participated in for our friends. At one point we had attended 30 in 24 months. We didn’t … Continue reading →
9:49 PM | U.K. nursery closed following E. coli O55 outbreak
BBC reports that the Blandford Children’s Centre Nursery in Dorset (U.K.) was closed as health officials investigate a cluster of rare E. coli illnesses. Vanessa Glenn, head of family support at Dorset County Council, which runs the nursery in Black … Continue reading →
9:22 PM | Thanksgiving is my favorite U.S. holiday
After six years in the U.S. celebrating Thanksgiving, this holiday is by far my favorite. The Canadian version occurs on a Monday with two days of weekend buildup and back to real life immediately after the meal. The American iteration … Continue reading →
9:00 PM | Talking Turkey Parts
The male wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), weighing in at around 20 pounds, is one of the largest birds in North America. By comparison, many domestic turkeys — the kind you’ll likely be feasting on at the Thanksgiving table — weigh twice as much. Female wild turkeys are roughly half the size of the male. The heads of male wild turkeys are featherless and colorful, with odd sounding structures: the snood, caruncles, and wattle. Their head can even change color depending […]
6:56 PM | WHO Ebola Response Roadmap - Situation Report 26 Nov
    # 9379   The World Health Organization has released their latest weekly Ebola situation report, and while case counts and death tallies are still believed to be under-counted, they report that the number of new cases appears to be stable or declining in Liberia and Guinea, but may be rising again in Sierra Leone. The toll on healthcare workers continues to run high, with nearly 600 infected, and 330 deaths.   Follow the link below ro read the full […]
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