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Posts

April 19, 2014

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1:17 AM | Former Research Students and Their Success Stories, Part I!
At a small liberal arts institution, I don't have postdoctoral students, technicians, or graduate students.  I lack vast infrastructure or much in the way of grant support (and I am pretty much out of money---gulp!).  Nor do I have much time, with teaching taking up most of my hours on campus (and off, given grading and prep time).  I have very little time to reflect and plan and be creative, though I do my best.What I am very fortunate to have are wonderful undergraduate […]

April 18, 2014

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11:50 PM | Not a good week for North Carolina Papa John’s
First a manager at a Charlotte Papa John’s was diagnosed with hepatitis A resulting in hundreds of IgG shots and now a Raleigh-area outlet has been questioned about storing and transporting raw dough unsafely. One situation is a real public … Continue reading →
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8:46 PM | Greece: MOH On 1st Imported Case Of MERS-CoV
  # 8495   My thanks to Gert van der Hoek on Flutrackers for finding the first press account, and Sharon Sanders for the Greek MOH press release, announcing that country’s first MERS coronavirus case.   As with the Malaysian religious pilgrim who died earlier this week (see Malaysian MOH Statement On Imported (Fatal) Case Of MERS-CoV), this patient recently traveled to Jeddah.   You’ll find the (only slightly syntax-challenged) machine translation […]
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7:52 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 6 More MERS Cases In Jeddah (1 Fatal)
# 8494     This is the second update today from the Saudi MOH, which when added to the earlier one (see Saudi Arabia Announces 6 More MERS Cases – In Riyadh), makes an even dozen new coronavirus cases out of Saudi Arabia today.   Three are listed as asymptomatic, including 1 health care worker (age 26) and a 13 year-old.  A second health care worker (age 60) is listed in stable condition, while a 49 year-old is in intensive care.  The fatality is […]
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4:22 PM | Portland to flush 38M gallon reservoir after teen uses it as a toilet
Portland will dispose of 38 million gallons of treated reservoir water after learning that a 19-year-old man urinated into it, even though urine-tainted drinking water is apparently not much of a health risk.  Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff said that animals … Continue reading →
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4:21 PM | KSA: Red Crescent Orders Ambulances & ERs To Accept MERS Cases
  # 8493   Over the past several days there have been reports (mostly on twitter) indicating that some hospitals and/or ambulances were refusing to accept  patients with MERS-like symptoms.  Most of these tweets have been cryptic and difficult to verify, but today we have a report that appears to validate at least some of these reports.   Saudi Arabia’s Red Crescent Authority has issued orders to ambulances and emergency rooms that they must accept MERS […]
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4:11 PM | Is it safe to keep a pig’s head with baked goods? Judge reserves decision on New Zealand bakery
The Bulls Bakery could be closed down because of problems with food safety, including a pig’s head kept with baked goods. In Wanganui District Court on April 11, Judge David Cameron heard the Rangitikei District Council’s case for closing the … Continue reading →
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4:03 PM | Salmonella, staph, poop on sushi that sickened 220 in Mexico
Salmonella, fecal waste and Staphylococcus aureus were the bacteria that caused food poisoning in 36 customers three branches of Qué Rollo Sushi (Sushi Roll) and sickened up to 220. Sergio Olvera Alba, director of Epidemiology, Ministry of Health, revealed the … Continue reading →
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3:44 PM | 8 dead, 26 sickened in Listeria outbreak linked to Quargel cheese in Austria; genomic sequencing
A large listeriosis outbreak occurred in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic in 2009 and 2010. The outbreak was traced back to a traditional Austrian curd cheese called Quargel which was contaminated with two distinct serovar 1/2a Listeria monocytogenes strains … Continue reading →
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3:23 PM | 104 sickened: increase in Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections associated with consumption of Atlantic coast shellfish — 2013
I don’t eat raw oysters. This is why. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is found naturally in coastal saltwater. In the United States, Vp causes an estimated 35,000 domestically acquired foodborne infections annually (1), of … Continue reading →
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3:16 PM | 27 sick with Yersinia and Campylobacter from raw milk in Finland
The first results from milk samples at a farm in Askola, Finland taken April 7 revealed Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Campylobacter jejuni. The number of people who drank milk from Uljaan tilamaito and experienced symptoms has still increased in Porvoo and … Continue reading →
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2:06 PM | ECDC: MERS-CoV Epidemiological Update & Risk Assessment
  Credit ECDC   # 8492     As part of their larger overall weekly Communicable Disease Threats report, the ECDC today has updated their assessment of the MERS outbreak in the Middle East.    Middle East respiratory syndrome- coronavirus (MERS CoV) – Multistate Opening date: 24 September 2012 Latest update: 17 April 2014 Epidemiological summary Since April 2012 and as of 18 April 2014, 275 laboratory-confirmed […]
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12:30 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Barry Brook
 I recently sat down with Dr. Barry Brook, a leading environmental scientist from Australia, to talk about his middle school years. Learn about how living next to a giant astronomical observatory and frequent visits to a natural history museum as a kid set Barry up for a successful career in science. He also shares some interesting insights about what he’d do with a superpower… Lea: So, we’re thinking back to middle school. Barry: I’ll just think about my two boys […]
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12:21 PM | Saudi Arabia Announces 6 More MERS Cases – In Riyadh
    # 8491   While we’ve been focused on the Jeddah cluster in Saudi Arabia, it wasn’t so very long ago (April 9th) when the capital city was the focus of most of their recent MERS cases.  Over the past 10 days KSA has announced 39 consecutive cases from Jeddah, but today we once again turn our attention toward Riyadh.   Today’s update revolves around five cases currently in intensive care, and a single fatality.  There is no mention of […]
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10:17 AM | The MERS Hospital Cluster Puzzle
R0 (pronounced R-nought) or Basic Reproductive Number. Essentially, the number of new cases in a susceptible population likely to arise from a single infection. With an R0 below 1.0, a virus (as an outbreak) begins to sputter and dies out. Above 1.0, and an outbreak can have `legs’.   # 8490   Two months ago, in mBio: Spread, Circulation, and Evolution of MERS-CoV, we looked at a study that focused on the evolutionary changes in the MERS coronavirus since its […]
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8:16 AM | booksnewbooks: Title: Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of...
booksnewbooks: Title: Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern PlaguesAuthor: Martin J. BlaserSynopsis: A critically important and startling look at the harmful effects of overusing antibiotics, from the field’s leading expert Tracing one scientist’s journey toward understanding the crucial importance of the microbiome, this revolutionary book will take readers to the forefront of trail-blazing research while revealing the damage that overuse of […]
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4:39 AM | Review of John P.A. Ioannidis - "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False"
One of the most interesting essays I have read, John P.A. Ioannidis' "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" discusses the increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. This essay, published in 2005 didn't have an effect on me at the time (I was just starting my MS degree at Pitt's GSPH). But once I found it during my PhD, it really resonated with me.I was having problems in the lab with RT-qPCR and western blots, etc. and how to interpret results. One of […]

April 17, 2014

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10:05 PM | Osterholm & Mackay On MERS
Coronavirus – Credit CDC PHIL   # 8489   Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm – Director of CIDRAP and Professor Ian Mackay – Virologist at the University of Queensland (and editor of VDU blog) are two of the smartest people I know when it comes to emerging infectious diseases.    Today both voiced their concerns to AP reporter Adam Schreck, who penned a report on the growing MERS outbreak in the Middle East.   You’ll find a link, and […]
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9:15 PM | Don’t Let qPCR Retraction Happen to You
The critical guidelines for publishing Real-Time PCR results, better known as the Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments (or MIQE for short), have become an essential component of any trust-worthy real-time qPCR experiment. First published in 2009 by Bustin et al, MIQE formed a set of guidelines that provided all relevant experimental […]
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8:06 PM | More pics on CDC FoodNet data
 
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8:00 PM | Hey kids, the snails are back: CDC releases 2013 FoodNet data
That’s the tagline from a Far Side cartoon and what immediately came to mind upon reading yet again that reductions in foodborne illness were stagnant for 2013. There were successes, failures and shifting profiles of what foods lead to foodborne … Continue reading →
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4:59 PM | WHO MERS-CoV Update – Malaysia & UAE
Photo Credit WHO     # 8488   The World Health Organization has published a new GAR (Global Alert & Response) update on the MERS virus, with details on the extended cluster of healthcare workers in the UAE (including one who traveled home to the Philippines), and the recent MERS fatality in Malaysia involving a traveler recently returned from Jeddah. As an aside, I would note that Crof has picked up a fascinating report via the Bangkok Post indicating that […]
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3:38 PM | Japan’s Avian Flu Outbreak Identified As H5N8
Credit Wikipedia   # 8487   Last Sunday, in Japan: Detection Of H5 Avian Flu At Poultry Farm, we looked at the first reported outbreak of avian influenza in Japan since 2011.  At the time, the culprit was only identified as an HPAI H5 virus, and I said it would be a few days before we would know if it were H5N1, H5N2, or the recently emerged (in Korea) H5N8 strain.   Today (h/t Crof) we learn from a report in the Japan Times, that the virus has now been identified as […]
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2:28 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 7 New MERS Cases In Jeddah
    # 8486   The Saudi MOH has just posted an update listing 7 more cases in the Jeddah Cluster.  Four are listed in stable condition, two in intensive care, and one has died.  One of the stable cases is described as a health care worker. Based on FluTracker’s MERS Line Listing, this brings the total number of cases announced by the MOH in this Jeddah cluster to 45, over the past 3 weeks.     Health: Registration 7 cases of HIV (Corona) […]
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1:52 PM | MERS-CoV: The Long Road To A Pharmacological Solution
  # 8485   Three years ago, in the movie `Contagion’, a MERS-like virus (dubbed MEV-1) emerged in China and spread quickly around the globe while scientists at the CDC (and elsewhere) worked frantically to find a vaccine. Unlike most summer blockbusters, this film endeavored to portray the science as accurately as possible  (see my review here).   One area where the movie took some dramatic license was in portraying the development (and deployment) of a […]
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12:36 PM | Norovirus outbreak hits Florida school
Over the past couple of days I drove the family from sunny and somewhat warm Raleigh, NC to the frigid tundra of Southern Ontario. I knew things would be bad when it started snowing as we passed through Maryland – … Continue reading →
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11:00 AM | Terms of Biology – Syntrophy
by Elio Figure 1. An example of syntrophy. Here, benzoate degradation is carried out by a model syntrophic consortium. Dashed blues lines indicate additional sources of cell carbon for the methanogens. Source. Syntrophy or “eating together” is a kind of symbiosis widespread in biology and of great importance for key biochemical transactions on this planet. Indeed, the cycling of carbon...
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10:05 AM | Ebola: NEJM - New Clade, WHO Messaging & Updated FAQ
Credit @UNMILNews   # 8484     While our attentions have understandably been diverted by the MERS coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, the battle against a large Ebola outbreak in west Africa continues, and this morning we have updated numbers and some interesting news on that front.    Yesterday the NEJM published a preliminary report on this outbreak, breaking the news that the viral culprit is a new strain of Ebola, not an imported strain of Ebola […]
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8:29 AM | A global network of researchers? Not really – small worlds.
The high clustering coefficient coupled with a short average distance between nodes suggests a "small-world phenomenon" among HIV and HPV researchers. The post A global network of researchers? Not really – small worlds. appeared first on MicrobiologyBytes.
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2:50 AM | Rescuing US Biomedical Research From its Systemic Flaws
For roughly four years now I have been on the "biomedical research needs reform bandwagon" tossing around heretical ideas like; there isn't enough funding to sustain the number of PhD and postdocs, alternative "non-traditional" career training, downfalls of hypercompetitiveness, etc.If you have questions, use the comments section below!When Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS) School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) started putting together its strategic plan […]
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