April 12, 2014

1:41 AM | Evans of CFIA gets honorary degree
Dr. Brian Evans, former chief vet at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the point-man on the first mad cow disease outbreak in 2003, is the first recipient of an honorary degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Calgary. … Continue reading →

April 11, 2014

10:26 PM | TWiM #76: Genetic biopixels and a pathogenic sweet tooth
Vincent, Elio, Michael, and Michelle discuss the use of bacteria to build a genetic sensor for heavy metals, and how host sugars help enteric pathogens to expand after antibiotic treatment.  
10:17 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 3 New MERS Cases (1 Fatal)
# 8462   While I was away from my desk for an hour the Saudi MOH posted an update (at midnight their time) describing three additional cases in Jeddah (see Saudi MOH Announces 3 More MERS-CoV Cases In Jeddah and Saudi MOH Statement On Jeddah Cluster for earlier reports on this cluster). In addition to seeing more mild or asymptomatic infections being reported, in recent weeks we have also seen a younger cohort of patients than we’ve seen in the past, with many cases […]
8:21 PM | It was the buns, with Salmonella, in the buffet line
In January 2014 over 30 patrons of Maple Grove MN’s Old Country Buffet fell ill with salmonellosis. Following the illnesses, health authorities investigated the pathogen source and according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal are pointing to contaminated dinner rolls … Continue reading →
5:55 PM | Crash Course in Blastocystis Subtyping
The intestinal micro-eukaryote Blastocystis continues to puzzle the world. Is it good, is it bad? Currently, we have no tools to differentiate colonisation from infection, but what we can do for now is to subtype Blastocystis isolates using simple molecular methods. Over at the Blastocystis Parasite Blog, I made an inventory of online tools (SOPs, […]
5:00 PM | Cool animation following the breakdown of starch through the gut
Cool animation following the breakdown of starch through the gut
3:22 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Julia Stevens
Julia Stevens has traveled to more countries than she has states in the US. Before she was a globe-trotting scientist, Julia was a middle school student in St. Louis, MO, and Dallas, TX, where she played on both the volleyball and basketball teams. Middle school was the time when Julia learned to be fiercely independent and to try to not care what everyone else thought of her. Learn about her life before she was a scientist… Lea: Do any memorable classroom moments stand out from middle […]
2:38 PM | Where do viruses come from?
Read more   The post Where do viruses come from? appeared first on MicrobiologyBytes.
1:54 PM | Unraveling the NEIDL
The NEIDL (National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory) at Boston University is a newly constructed biosafety level 4 facility which can be used to study the most dangerous human pathogens. The facility is amazingly safe, as we documented in our film about the facility, Threading the NEIDL. Some members of the Boston City Council think otherwise […]
1:32 PM | WHO MERS-CoV: Jordan Reports Case With Travel History To KSA
  Photo Credit WHO       # 8461   With the UAE reporting a cluster over night, and Saudi Arabia dealing with a cluster of fairly long duration in Jeddah, I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised to see a MERS case has turned up in Jordan.   According to this release from the World Health Organization, this patient had recent travel history to Jeddah, and visited a hospital there.     Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus […]
11:47 AM | Saudi MOA Spokesman: Camel Link Unproven, MERS-CoV Is MOH Problem
  Photo Credit Wikipedia   # 8460   Even as evidence that camels are – at least partially – involved in the carriage and transmission of the MERS Coronavirus mounts (see CIDRAP NEWS report WHO sees camels as MERS source, but route uncertain) , the spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture has stated that MERS is essentially not their problem, but the problem of the MOH. Camels are part of the Saudi national identity. Any restrictions on (or […]
11:23 AM | Reasons to be cheeful: Influenza treatment
Maybe there is some reason to be more optimistic about treating influenza. The post Reasons to be cheeful: Influenza treatment appeared first on MicrobiologyBytes.
10:40 AM | UAE Ministry Of Interior Announces 6 MERS-CoV Cases (1 Fatality)
AL AIN (aka AL AYN) population 568,000 (2010)   UPDATED 0800 EDT:   Although earlier reports were ambiguous, additional English Language reporting now makes it appear that there are 6 cases, and 1 fatality in this cluster (see Mers virus claims another victim in UAE –khaleejtimes).   # 8459   The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior’s official twitter stream is https://twitter.com/AbuDhabiPolice, which over the past few hours has been […]
3:25 AM | Charlotte Papa John’s manager diagnosed with hepatitis A
Food business owners should worry about hepatitis A. Individuals can shed the virus without showing symptoms and even an infected handwashing superstar will result in lineups outside the business or at the health department while patrons get their post-exposure shots. … Continue reading →

April 10, 2014

9:53 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 3 More MERS-CoV Cases In Jeddah
  # 8458   While the Saudi Twitterverse has been rife with (unconfirmed) rumors of additional MERS cases (see yesterday’s MERS, The Twitterverse & MOH Damage Control) over the past 24 hours, we have an announcement late this afternoon from the Saudi MOH confirming three more cases from Jeddah.   Few details are provided, so we don’t know exactly how – epidemiologically speaking - these cases fit into the previously announced outbreak (see Saudi MOH […]
9:40 PM | London’s Golden Triangle of Scientific Innovation
The Mayor of London today launched MedCity, a partnership between UCLPartners, King’s Health Partners, Imperial College AHSC, Oxford, Cambridge and the Greater London Authority, to establish London and the Greater South East as a world-leading cluster for life sciences. MedCity will provide a ‘front door’ for industry, and will build partnerships to attract investment in [...]
7:33 PM | The CDC Responds To The Cochrane Tamiflu Study
Photo Credit CDC   # 8457   Earlier today, in Revisiting Tamiflu Efficacy (Again), I wrote at some length on the BMJ –  Cochrane Library review Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults and children – that examined a subset of the scientific literature and cast doubt on its effectiveness in treating influenza. While I too lamented the lack of solid, well mounted Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) proving the […]
3:13 PM | And let the microbiology word play begin (re Entamoeba feeding)
New paper out about feeding by the parasitic amoeba Entamoeba histolytica.  Apparently, the work shows that this organism feeds by in essence taking bites out of cells.  (I say apparently because the paper is not open access and I don't have access to it from where I am writing).Anyway - there are a lot of news stories about this.  And for some reason (I am not quite sure why) this has inspired headline writers to get out their pun pens and creative thinking caps.  Here are […]
1:50 PM | Your Wild Life goes to NSTA|Boston
This past weekend I attended the National Science Teachers Association conference in Boston, joining 11,500 other educators who were passionate and enthusiastic about SCIENCE! I learned a lot about what science teachers are looking for in regards to materials in support of the Next Generation Science Standards as well as the increasing demand for citizen science-based lesson plans so that students can be more involved in their community (and as a bonus, a network of scientists). It […]
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 →
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