Posts

March 01, 2015

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4:40 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 7 MERS Cases, 1 Death
  # 9672   MERS comes in like a lion today, with 7 new cases reported by the Saudi MOH, 6 of which hail from Riyadh.  Included in today’s report are three HCWs (2 from Riyadh,1 Buraydah).   
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3:59 PM | TWiV 326: Giving HIV a flat tyr
On episode #326 of the science show This Week in Virology, the sternutating TWiVers discuss preventing infection of cells and animals by a soluble CD4-CCR5 molecule that binds to HIV-1 virus particles. You can find TWiV #326 at www.twiv.tv.
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1:56 PM | Hong Kong Notified Of 2 More H7N9 Cases In Guangdong
Credit Wikipedia   # 9771   Although there are doubts we are getting the full story from all of Mainland China’s provinces, Guangdong Province has taken a sizable lead in the number of  H7N0 cases reported.  All the more impressive given they didn’t report any human cases during the first wave (spring of 2013).     CHP notified of two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guangdong The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of […]
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1:43 PM | Media: WHO H5N1 Mission To Egypt
# 9770   The Egyptian (Arabic & English) press is filled this morning with reports that the World Health Organization will send an expert envoy (led by Dr Keiji Fukuda) to Cairo later this month to assist the MOH in dealing with their H5N1 outbreak.   Aside from the news that Egypt has invited the WHO in, these reports provide some interesting insight on how the MOH continues to `manage’  the outbreak news information.   First, the English language […]
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11:11 AM | HK’s Imported H7N9 Case Dies, Seasonal Flu Continues Strong
  # 9769   As the City of Hong Kong struggles with a particularly severe H3N2 flu season, its 3rd imported H7N9 case of the winter (and 13th overall) has reportedly died in a local hospital a week after his case was announced.  Of the two other H7N9 cases imported into Hong Kong this season, one has recovered while the other remains hospitalized in critical condition. H7N9 bird flu infected man dead Sing Tao Daily  Had earlier to the mainland, after his […]
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3:25 AM | When Cells Attack!
The cells of our immune system are the guardians of the human body, forever contending with various unwelcome intruders from viruses to drugs to lowly yet painful splinters. They are as industrious as they are indispensable. Each cell of the immune system has its own objective, its own do-or-die mission. Some of our guardians devour bacteria and fungi in a process known as phagocytosis. Others produce carefully tailored antibodies earmarked for the destruction of pathogenic […]
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3:25 AM | When Cells Attack!
The cells of our immune system are the guardians of the human body, forever contending with various unwelcome intruders from viruses to drugs to lowly yet painful splinters. They are as industrious as they are indispensable. Each cell of the immune system has its own objective, its own do-or-die mission. Some of our guardians devour bacteria and fungi in a process known as phagocytosis. Others produce carefully tailored antibodies earmarked for the destruction of pathogenic […]

February 28, 2015

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8:59 PM | This Month in Blastocystis Research (FEB 2015)
Before heading off to visit dear colleagues at the Public Health Agency of Sweden tomorrow morning, I thought I'd do a quick 'This Month...' post.Tropical Parasitology has published a paper by Elghareeb and colleagues on  'Laboratory Diagnosis of Blastocystis in Diarrheic Patients'. I was asked to do a Guest Commentary on their paper, and if your're interested you can download my comments here for free (html version). The paper by Elghareeb et al. should also be free for download at the […]
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4:01 PM | Saudi MOH: 4 New MERS Cases
  # 9768 After reporting no new cases yesterday, the Saudi MOH adds 4 new cases to close out month of February – the fourth biggest month on record.  Three are from Riyadh – and while one of those is listed as a HCW –   a bit surprisingly, none are listed as having nosocomial exposures.   The MOH also announces one recovery and one fatality.  
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2:42 PM | It Happens Every Spring
  # 9767   Baby chicks and ducklings are popular gifts around Easter, but practically every year they are linked to outbreaks of Salmonella in humans. Beyond the risk of illness, once the novelty wears off  -  these irresistibly cute and cuddly baby birds often come to a bad end - as this National Audubon Society report explains (see Colored Chicks Raise Concerns But, After Easter, Many Face Fates Worse Than Dye). But from a public health perspective, […]
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12:45 PM | CDC H5 Avian Flu Update
Major Global Migratory Flyways – Credit FAO   # 9766   Although currently a far greater concern to poultry producers than to public health, we’ve been watching the first incursion of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) Eurasian H5 viruses into North America over the past few months, as has the CDC.     Until November of last year, HPAI H5N8 had been essentially a threat only to East Asia.   It first appeared in Korea in January of […]
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11:00 AM | Guangdong & Anhui Provinces Report H7N9 Cases
      # 9765   Unlike last winter, day-to-day reporting of H7N9 cases from much of Mainland China has been slow, although it isn’t entirely clear how much of this is due to an actual reduction in cases and how much is due to a change in the way some provinces are reporting.    We’ve seen some case announcements turn up belatedly in Provincial EOM epidemiological reports. Earlier this week the World Health Organization, in their most […]
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6:37 AM | Salmonella and E. coli in sprouts in Mexico, oh my
Data on the presence of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes (DEPs) in alfalfa sprouts and correlations between the presence of coliform bacteria (CB), fecal coliforms (FC), E. coli, DEPs, and Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts are not available. The presence of and … Continue reading →
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6:27 AM | Would you like E. coli with that Saeng-go-gi (it’s raw beef)
This study investigated the bacterial contamination levels in ready-to-eat fresh raw beef, Saeng-go-gi in Korean, sold in restaurants. A total of 462 samples were analyzed by performing an aerobic bacterial plate count, a coliform count, and an Escherichia coli O157:H7 … Continue reading →
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4:00 AM | E. coli turns into nightmare for Iowa toddler
When the Meincke family of rural Stockton got together in July at husband and father Kyle’s softball game, 3-year-old Logan just wasn’t himself. The toddler had a touch of diarrhea, which meant his mother, Jenny, took him to the restroom … Continue reading →
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3:17 AM | Health department links undercooked and reheated barbecue linked to Salmonella illnesses
Growing up in Canada, barbecue was an event, or an outside cooking appliance. In North Carolina barbecue is a food. And for some, sort of a religion. Barbecue is made by slow cooking pork (often a whole hog) in a smoker for hours until the meat … Continue reading →
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2:16 AM | New Food Safety Infosheet: Hepatitis A illnesses linked to frozen berries in Australia
Australian public health officials have identified an outbreak of hepatitis A and linked illnesses to consuming Nanna’s frozen berries sold by Patties Foods. Food safety infosheet highlights: –  Health officials have confirmed 20 illnesses to date. – The berries were … Continue reading →

February 27, 2015

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8:48 PM | Cold Feet, Warm Heart
Raleigh has had a fit of cold, snowy (and icy) weather this week. So while I watched this snow-covered Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) swim around an icy lake near my house, I couldn’t help but think “Brrrrr.” The core temperature of a goose, wrapped in its fluffy down coat, is ~104° Fahrenheit. But what about those feet? They must be freezing! In a way, they are. The feet of this goose are only ~35°. As warm blood from the body travels to the toes, it transfers heat […]
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7:55 PM | Market impacts of E. coli vaccination in US feedlot cattle
Immunization through vaccination has been a commercially available pre-harvest intervention to reduce E. coli shedding in cattle for about five years. Despite demonstrated substantial improvement in human health that vaccine adoption offers, it has not been widely adopted. This highlights … Continue reading →
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7:43 PM | Minnesota vs. California: Investigators can’t identify source of E. coli O157 outbreak; celery or caterers suspected
The root of last summer’s E. coli outbreak linked to California grown celery remains a mystery. After six months of inspections and testing, investigators found no local sources of E. coli contamination – good news for Salinas Valley growers and … Continue reading →
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7:35 PM | In China, visitors to resort have to sign Norovirus waiver
Hundreds of Taiwanese visitors to Taichung’s Hoya Resort Hotel in Wuling have signed an affidavit that they are staying at the resort at their own risk in the midst of an outbreak of norovirus GII.17, a genotype common in certain … Continue reading →
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7:19 PM | Salmonella in tahini sauce in Canada
Amira brand Tahini Sauce has been recalled for Salmonella as part of an investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) into a foodborne illness outbreak. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. That’s going … Continue reading →
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7:14 PM | Oman Worries Over H5N1 Blowin’ In The Wind
Dust Movement Across The Globe – Credit NASA     # 9765   An unusual story has appeared in Omani press his week, where worries are expressed that avian flu (or MERS) might be carried in from other regions via the long-lived dust storms that frequent the Middle East during the spring.   While there isn’t a lot of evidence to support the notion that viable avian flu viruses could be carried sucessfully over long distances by dust storms, the idea […]
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12:10 PM | WHO: H5 Currently The Most Obvious Avian Flu Threat
How viruses shuffle their genes (reassort)   # 9763     In the `Good Old Days’ – that is, before the spring of 2013 – the bird flu threat around the world was pretty much centered around the H5N1 virus, which re-emerged in 2003 after making a brief appearance in the mid-1990s in Hong Kong and Southern China.    Sure, there were some `minor’ players – primarily H7 viruses and H9N2 – that had shown the ability to infect […]
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9:07 AM | Life in Our Phage World
"[the] molecular biology of higher organisms does not stand on the shoulder of giants, but on the shoulder of dwarfs like phage T4 and lambda." Continue reading →
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8:18 AM | It’s not just chicken but UK wants piping hot bang for its intervention dollar: Campy results released
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today published the latest set of results from its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Campylobacter is a food bug mainly found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning … Continue reading →
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8:03 AM | Food safety nerd alert: FDA launches iRISK 2.0
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released FDA-iRISK 2.0, an enhanced version of the free web-based tool that helps users conduct their own quantitative risk assessments in support of food safety. The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied … Continue reading →
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3:31 AM | Blocking HIV infection with two soluble receptors
Because viruses must bind to cell surface molecules to initiate replication, the use of soluble receptors to block virus infection has long been an attractive therapeutic option. Soluble receptors have been developed that block infection with rhinoviruses and HIV-1, but these have not been licensed due to their suboptimal potency. A newly designed soluble receptor […]
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2:00 AM | What foods make people sick? It’s complicated, so follow the bug
Sometimes it’s best to let things ruminate, ferment, instead of simply repeating public relations drivel. Guess that’s one reason people write books. Or journal articles. Various U.S. government agencies patted themselves on the back for their “improved method for analyzing … Continue reading →
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1:00 AM | ‘Lab confirmation should never be a requisite to implicating food in an outbreak’ Epidemiology is getting hammered to protect interests
From Australia to Wisconsin to cucumbers, epidemiology is getting hammered with a bunch of people defending their turf by saying, there’s no definitive proof. The hepatitis A outbreak in Australia linked to Chinese frozen berries that has now sickened 19 … Continue reading →
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