Posts

October 05, 2014

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4:28 PM | Uganda Reporting Apparent Marburg Outbreak
      # 9150   We've word today of what appears to be an outbreak of Marburg Virus – another hemorrhagic fever similar to  Ebola  – coming out of Uganda. That country saw a similar outbreak in 2012 which involved a total of 20 cases, including 9 deaths from 4 districts in Uganda (Kabale, Ibanda, Mbarara, and Kampala) (see Marburg haemorrhagic fever in Uganda – update). First a couple of press reports on the current outbreak, then […]
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12:17 PM | TWiV 305: Rhymes with shinola
On episode #305 of the science show This Week in Virology, Vincent, Alan, and Kathy continue their coverage of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, with a discussion of case fatality ratio, reproductive index, a conspiracy theory, and spread of the virus to the United States. You can find TWiV #305 at www.twiv.tv.
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10:52 AM | CDC Updated Guidance: Environmental Infection Control in Hospitals for Ebola Virus
Credit CDC PHIL   # 9148   The CDC continues to roll out interim guidance documents for dealing with possible introduction of Ebola cases into the United States, and on Friday updated and reworked their previously published Hospital Environmental Infection Control guidance.   As always, these are `works in progress’, and are subject to revision over time as more is learned about dealing with this virus.   While laboratory experiments have shown that the […]

October 04, 2014

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5:45 PM | Nerd Nite East Bay talk
I was recently invited to give a talk at Nerd Nite East Bay! Before the show and during intermissions I […]
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5:20 PM | Saudi MOH Announces Another MERS Case In Taif
# 9147   Over the past three weeks Saudi Arabia has announced a dozen new cases of MERS, with six of those cases coming from Taif – located about 60 miles east of the Holy City of Mecca where 2 million pilgrims are gathered for the Hajj.   Today’s case is a 60 year old male who reportedly had recent contact with camels.   In the most recent WHO DON Update On MERS from Saudi Arabia, 4 of the past 15 cases reported contact with camels, sheep, or camel […]
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5:10 PM | I’m going to be the new Huxley Fellow at Rice!
I’m ridiculously excited to announce that I’ll be joining Rice University’s BioSciences department as the new Huxley Fellow. It’s a […]
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1:28 PM | Ebola Risk Communications
      # 9046   The debate over what is meant by Ebola not being `airborne’ and what constitutes `direct contact’  continues, with a growing chorus of discontent in the media, and online, as to how the CDC describes the risks of transmission to the general public.    Last night, a clearly frustrated Dr. Ian Mackay wrote What words would you use to separate influenza spread from Ebola virus disease spread?    Thoughtful and […]

October 03, 2014

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4:02 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Anne Madden
Interviewing Anne Madden was both enlightening and entertaining, I’ve never before wished that a recorder would break so I could repeat an interview — it was that much fun. Anne is a postdoctoral researcher — an early career scientist — and yet her life experiences and work in industry prior to graduate school have given her a very nuanced and intriguing perspective on science. Read on to learn about how her clinically diagnosed phobia of middle school did not stop her […]
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3:30 PM | Me: Will survey results be published openly. Them: yes. Me: OK - will do survey. #opensurveys
Got this email:Dear Jonathan, Your peers at the University of California, Riverside, Stanford University, and the Coachella Valley Association of Governments are seeking participation in a survey designed to explore the relevancy and perceptions of basic natural history knowledge and skills among professionals and graduate students in environmental science-related fields.Professionals and Faculty (including post-doctoral researchers) may access the survey through the following […]
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3:18 PM | Statement From The UN Mission For Ebola Emergency Response Regarding Transmission Of Ebola
Credit WHO   # 9145   In a sane world, an official could at least raise the possibility of low probability-high impact event without it being blown all out of proportion by the press, the internet, and through osmosis -  the public.    But measured, rational discussions don’t sell papers, drive web traffic, or grab cable news viewers.    And so any acknowledgement of an infinitesimal risk – such as an asteroid strike,  a […]
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2:43 PM | The most promising ebola treatments are based on basic immunology
Though for many of us, the ebola crises is oceans away, the epidemic lies heavily on the hearts and minds of people all over the world. For some researchers, public health officials and drug developers, it is the driving force of all daily activity. Right now, there are two vaccines and eight treatments being developed […]
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12:35 PM | An Appropriate Level Of Concern Over Ebola In The US
Credit CDC     # 9144   Given that I write about emergency preparedness often, I’m getting a lot of inquires - from friends and readers alike - as to what I’m doing to prepare now that Ebola has reached the United States.   Rather than deal with this question a hundred times over, I’ll lay it out here.   Nothing special.  That is, nothing I wouldn’t be doing anyway.    Although my crystal ball fogs up […]
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11:00 AM | TWiM #88: A Century of Excellence in Microbiology
Michele speaks with members of the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, on the occasion of its designation as a Milestones in Microbiology site, where they discuss how the department has advanced the science and teaching of microbiology.
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10:56 AM | CDC EV-D68 Update – Oct 2nd
43 states and the District of Columbia   # 9143   It has been just over a month since the first reports of a rarely seen enterovirus (EV-D68) outbreak began to emerge from Missouri and Chicago (see Kansas City Outbreak Identified As HEV 68 & Enterovirus D-68 (HEV-D68) Update), and in that time the virus has managed to pretty much blanket the country.    The few states not reporting the virus likely have it – but testing is currently backlogged. […]
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10:39 AM | EFSA: Scientific Opinion on the risk posed by Salmonella in melons
Melons and watermelons are ready-to-eat foods, with an internal pH of 5.1 to 6.7 and can be consumed whole, as fresh-cut products or as fresh juices. Epidemiological data from the EU identified one salmonellosis outbreak associated with consumption of both … Continue reading →
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10:31 AM | EFSA: Scientific Opinion on the risk posed by Salmonella and Norovirus in tomatoes
Tomatoes may be minimally processed to obtain ready-to-eat products, and these steps include selection, washing, cleaning, stem removal, cutting, packaging and storage. Epidemiological data from the EU have identified one salmonellosis outbreak and one Norovirus outbreak associated with tomato consumption between … Continue reading →
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10:12 AM | 2 sick with E.coli O157 in UK linked to raw milk
The UK Food Standards Agency reports Barton Farm Dairy (Kentisbury, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4NQ) is recalling its raw cow’s drinking milk due to a potential link to two cases of E.coli O157 infection. If you have bought this product, do not consume … Continue reading →
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7:29 AM | 4 dead, 23000 sickened in 2012 from Salmonella Thompson related to smoked salmon in the Netherlands
On 15 August 2012, an increase in the number of Salmonella Thompson cases was noticed by the Salmonella surveillance in the Netherlands. A case–control study was performed, followed by a food investigation. In total 1,149 cases were laboratory-confirmed between August … Continue reading →
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7:26 AM | Why I Tweet and Blog: Captured by Beryl Lieff Benderly
You know, many people ask me - why do I talk to science reporters so often.  They ask this and then claim that science reporters are just all kinds of evil because they always get quotes and facts and concepts wrong.  Well, that has really not been my experience.  Sure, I have my examples of problems.  But overall, I have been impressed and pleased more often than not.  And here is a great example. I was interviewed a while back by Beryl Lieff Benderly about my somewhat […]
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6:50 AM | Raya the Muppet talks about poop and is proud of it
NPR asked, “Why did the superhero go to the toilet? “Because it was her duty!” Raya exclaims as she throws her head back laughing. Six-year-old Raya is not shy at all — especially when it comes to talking about poop. … Continue reading →
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6:42 AM | UK wedding party full of police officers struck down with Norovirus after pub serves food found to be ‘unfit for human consumption’
A wedding party with 80 guests - including 60 serving police officers – fell ill with norovirus after being served food ‘unfit for human consumption’. The happy couple and the majority of their guests became unwell with the vomiting bug … Continue reading →

October 02, 2014

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7:58 PM | Dog’s Epigenome Gives Clues to Human Cancer
The bond between humans and dogs is strong and ancient. From being the protector of the first herds in a faithful pet, dogs and people share many aspects of life. The relationship between the two species has been studied by psychologists, anthropologists, ethnologists and also by genetic and molecular biologists. In this sense, dogs are […]
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6:44 PM | Ebola virus enters the United States
Given the extent of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, transport of an infected individual to the US was bound to happen. The case is an adult who had contact with an Ebola virus-infected woman in Liberia, then traveled to Dallas. He had no symptoms before arriving in the US and therefore did not likely […]
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3:37 PM | This week in bad ideas: Wart grafting
As described in this excerpt from James G. McCully’s Good Times In The Hospital, warts can be so extensive that they require a skin graft. In the 19th century, skin grafts took many forms. By 1912 the process was down to a science, as detailed in Leonard Freeman’s Skin Grafting for Surgeons and General Practitioners. The […]
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3:25 PM | Mackay On Ebola `Direct Contact’ & Droplet Transmission
  # 9142   Dr. Ian Mackay once again takes on the subtleties of Ebola transmission on his excellent VDU blog today, and brings a new level of clarity.   As he and I have discussed before (see VDU Blog: Droplets vs Airborne - Demystifying Ebola Transmission), Ebola isn’t an `airborne’ virus – but you can be infected via droplets emanating from an infected individual. What I’ve dubbed `spittle range’ where large droplets of […]
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1:28 PM | COCA Call Friday: Neurologic Illness with Limb Weakness in Children
Credit CDC – Non Polio-Enteroviruses     # 9141   Although a causal link has not been established, the recent outbreak of EV-D68 which has rapidly spread across the nation has been tentatively associated with a number of children presenting with varying degrees of neurological illness, including limb weakness or paralysis.   Last Friday we saw a CDC HAN: Acute Neurologic Illness with Focal Limb Weakness of Unknown Etiology in Children issued, and […]
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12:58 PM | WHO Update On Austrian (Imported) MERS Case
# 9140   We’ve details this morning on Tuesday’s reported MERS case in Vienna, Austria – that of a 29 year-old woman who recently arrived from Saudi Arabia.  Aside from her travel history, we learn she had no exposure to camels or their products, no healthcare stays, an no contact with a known or suspected MERS case.   Two close contacts, who have presented with respiratory symptoms, have been hospitalized are are being tested for the virus.   […]
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12:36 PM | WHO DON Update On MERS - Saudi Arabia
  # 9139   With the Hajj upon us, and more than two million religious pilgrims in Saudi Arabia this morn, over the past three weeks we’ve been following the slow uptick in MERS reports out of Saudi Arabia (including one exported case to Austria) with particular interest. Today the World Health Organization has issued the following update, indicating that a fair number of these recent cases appear to have had significant camel and/or camel product contact.  […]
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12:19 PM | Texas: Statement On Home Quarantine Of Ebola Patient’s Family
# 9138   Without providing details as to why they felt compelled to issue a written order, the State of Texas last night delivered orders to the family of America’s first imported Ebola case to remain home, and not accept unapproved visitors, while being monitored for possible symptoms until October 19th.  First the statement, then I’ll be back with a bit more on the issues of isolation vs. quarantine.     Texas Department of State Health […]
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11:05 AM | Blogging Microbes- Communicating Microbiology to Netizens
There was a conference on Blogging microbes at Nottingham University, with talks from Alan Cann, Shuna Gold, James Gurney and Oscar Rosales, organised by Ivan Lafayette from the Toxicologist Today.Oh yeah, and I was there as well, talking about how blogging can enhance your scientific career.We had a lot of fun there, it was crazy meeting other bloggers, and the people who read blogs. It was a really great atmosphere, and it was interesting meeting some of the other people in the community in […]
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