Posts

December 16, 2014

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4:24 PM | SwAM: European Seal Deaths Continue From H10N7 Flu
Credit Wikipedia   # 9448   A couple of months ago in  Avian H10N7 Linked To Dead European Seals, I wrote about the recent die off of seals in Denmark and Germany and the determination that their deaths were the result of a combination of avian H10N7 influenza, pneumonia, and bacterial infection, which I followed up last month with a report in Eurosurveillance: Avian H10N7 Influenza In Harbor Seals.   In  2011 we saw a similar die off of seals in New England […]
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4:22 PM | TWiM #93: Worming in on Bacteria
Vincent, Elio, and Michael reveal that a soil-dwelling nematode can recognize and respond to a bacterial quorum sensing molecule through a sensory neuron.
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2:06 PM | H5N8 Confirmed In Germany, Now Reported In Italy
# 9447   As expected, according to the FAO EMPRES report filed on Germany’s latest bird flu outbreak, the subtype has now been identified as H5N8.   At the same time, Reuters is reporting that the H5N8 virus has now turned up at a poultry farm in Northern Italy, near Venice.   Italy reports outbreak of H5N8 bird flu in Venice region - OIE PARIS Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:54am EST Dec 16 (Reuters) - Italy reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 […]
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1:28 PM | CIDRAP On The GOF Research Pause Debate
Credit CDC PHIL   # 9446   One of the topics we’ve revisited frequently over the past several years has centered around  the wisdom and safety of creating new and/or enhanced viruses in the laboratory.  Areas of research commonly called either  `Gain of Function’ (GOF) or DURC (Dual Use Research of Concern).    Some earlier blogs on this topic include:   mBio: The Risks & Benefits Of `GOF’ Experimentation On Pathogens […]
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12:12 PM | Bird Flu Updates From Japan, Germany & South Korea
South Korean H5N8 outbreaks – Credit MAFF   # 9445   We’ve updates this morning on two (now confirmed) suspected bird flu outbreaks I wrote about yesterday in Germany and Japan (see here, and here) , along with an update on the ongoing H5N8 outbreaks in South Korea.  H5N8 first appeared in South Korea 11 months ago, and since then has forced the culling of nearly 14 million birds across wide swaths of that country.   While some media reports are […]
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9:01 AM | Do pop-up thermometers work? I don’t trust them
The Brits, known for there aversion of food thermometers – make mine steaming hot – have decide to promote a new Pop Up® disposable cooking thermometer timer device for use with all the turkeys being sold over the counter this … Continue reading →
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7:59 AM | But girls can’t play (ice) hockey: Saudi Arabia municipality refuses to compromise on food safety
A number of restaurant owners whose businesses have been shut down recently by Jeddah’s municipality, have defied the decision by opening their doors again. Several owners also tried to attack inspectors, requiring the intervention of police to help close down … Continue reading →
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7:49 AM | Tourists in India face threat of zoonotic diseases
Tourists are endangering their health and safety by interacting with elephants that are not screened for any zoonotic diseases, with no vaccination and treatment records with the mahouts, observed PETA. A team of four veterinarians assessed the health of elephants … Continue reading →
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1:52 AM | The American Society for Virology
The American Society for Virology was founded in 1981 to promote the exchange of information and stimulate discussion and collaboration among scientists active in all aspects of virology. These goals are achieved in part by organizing an annual meeting that brings together virologists from diverse fields to discuss their work. As the current President of the […]

December 15, 2014

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8:25 PM | A farewell to Lab Rat
When I first started a science blog, back in the summer of 2008, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from it. It was started mostly for me, to encourage me to read more papers and write about... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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8:05 PM | If Eggnog Has Eggs In It, Why Is It Safe To Drink?
Continuing with the egg-in-drink and holiday food safety trend, I had a chat last week with my friend Matt Shipman about eggnog. Matt, a science writer, public information officer at North Carolina State University, curator of The Abstract, and all around swell dude, … Continue reading →
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7:47 PM | Would you like some eggs with your cocktail?
Katrina Levine, extension associate at NC State University writes: The holidays are a time when we come together to celebrate and mingle over food and drinks, especially eggnog and other egg-containing drinks. Restaurants, bars, and your bartending neighbor often feature … Continue reading →
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7:28 PM | Japan: Preliminary Positive Test For H5 Bird Flu In Miyazaki
Credit Wikipedia # 9444   After the earlier reports from Germany & Canada along with continued media chatter out of Egypt, I’d say this is turning out to be a busy bird flu Monday - except it is already Tuesday in Japan - where a farm in the far South of the country is currently under suspicion of having an outbreak of H5 avian flu.   Based on the somewhat cryptic machine translations, a farm in Miyazaki where some birds have recently died has tested positive […]
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6:50 PM | Extinction (or lateral transfer?)
This has been coming for a while, but I needed a push to make it official. I’m not much of a blogger anymore (four posts a year doesn’t quite cut it), so it’s only fair that I wrap... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:59 PM | NIH Statement On Early Ebola Vaccine Trial Data
A 39-year-old woman receives a dose of the investigational NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.   # 9443   Although previously reported in a NEJM article (see Chimpanzee Adenovirus Vector Ebola Vaccine — Preliminary Report), the NIH has produced the following statement regarding the early, encouraging  results of phase I testing of an Ebolavirus vaccine.   Note: This NIAID/GSK candidate vaccine is not the same vaccine […]
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4:17 PM | WHO Ebola Update – Dec 15th
Credit CDC PHIL   # 9442   The World Health Organization has updated their Ebola number for the three most heavily affected nations, and this information is available at:  http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.ebola-sitrep.ebola-summary?lang=en Today’s numbers are in increase of 664 cases, and 510 deaths in the 7 days since the  December 8th update.  
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4:06 PM | NestWatch Lesson Plan Now Available
Expanding on our work with Students Discover, we will be rolling out several new citizen science-based lesson plans over the next couple of months on our Education page. We’ve focused on global, long-running citizen science projects and have worked closely with educators to create lesson plans aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. Our goals are simple: Engage students in citizen science so they have opportunities to: Participate in authentic scientific research. Feel […]
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3:08 PM | Easy to Use Nuclear Staining Dye
Bio-Rad Laboratories announced the launch of its PureBlu™ Nuclear Staining Dyes, high purity formulations that simplify nuclear staining for fluorescence imaging experiments. In cell imaging experiments, DNA binding dyes are used to locate a cell’s nucleus. Current offerings of the most commonly used dyes, DAPI and Hoechst 33342, usually require time-consuming weighing and/or multiple tedious […]
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2:51 PM | ECDC: Trends In Vaccine Preventable Diseases In Europe
  # 9441 The ECDC has released a report showing the trends of vaccine preventable diseases in Europe, with the latest data coming from 2012.   As we’ve seen here in the United States, some diseases once nearly vanquished by vaccines – like measles, mumps, and whooping cough (Pertussis) – are on the rise again in Europe.   While the causes vary, two factors often cited are waning protection (and the need for booster shots) with some vaccines, […]
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1:53 PM | BacterioFiles 195 - CRISPR/Cas Cuts Cancer Causers
This episode: Bacterial antivirus system could treat chronic herpes virus infections! Download Episode (10.9 MB, 11.9 minutes)Show notes:Journal Paper Other interesting stories: Studying bacteria that consume and produce electricity Fungus living in rice seems like it evolved from rice pathogen (paper) Bacteria growing with plants could help clean air in buildings (paper) Understanding how Caulobacter tolerates high levels of uranium (paper) Report about how viruses are more than […]
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1:35 PM | EFSA’s Report On H5N8’s Arrival In Europe
H5N8 Branching Out To Europe & Japan # 9440   On a morning where the German media is reporting another suspected bird flu outbreak (see below), we’ve a statement and study released by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) that attempts to divine just how the H5N8 avian flu virus managed to get from South Korea to Western Europe in just a matter of months. But first, one of several media reports in the German press on a suspected bird flu outbreak at a turkey farm in […]
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12:00 PM | Retrospective, December 2014
As is our custom at this time of year, we go over the material that has appeared in this blog over the last six months. Seems like a lot of stuff, but it’s the result of the work of quite a number of dedicated people, all of whom deserve our gratitude.
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11:06 AM | BC: H5N2 Expands West To Langley Poultry Farm
Credit CFIA     # 9439   Canada’s two-week long HPAI H5N2 bird flu outbreak continues with a 10th barn found affected, this time on a poultry farm in Langley – part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District – roughly 24 km west of the Abbottsford outbreaks.  These premises hold an additional 53,000 birds which will be destroyed.   The CFIA has updated their Infected Premises Chart to include this latest outbreak.   This is the […]
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4:45 AM | Pathogenicity of Salmonella strains isolated from egg shells and the layer farm environment in Australia
Periodically? How about monthly. A table of egg-based Salmonella outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-12-8-14.xlsx In Australia, the egg industry is periodically implicated during outbreaks of Salmonella food poisoning. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and other nontyphoidal Salmonella spp., in particular, are … Continue reading →
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4:19 AM | FoodNet Canada not part of surveillance system, but found E. coli-tainted beef that was recalled days after positive test
The federal system designed to keep Canadian food safe to eat failed in December to prevent ground beef contaminated with E. coli from being offered for sale to consumers. CBC News reports that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s December recall of 31,000 pounds of … Continue reading →
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3:57 AM | Oregon deserves regular, visible grocery inspections
Following up on the series of articles by Tracy Loew about grocery store inspection disclosure in Oregon, her paper, the Statesman Journal, comes out in favor of full disclosure. Good for them. In Oregon, it is difficult for consumers to … Continue reading →
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3:40 AM | Get off of my cloud, get out of my restaurant: interfering with public health types in Canada
Toronto food safety inspector guru and friend of the barfblog, Jim Chan (left exactly as shown), writes with Si Le and Paul Di Salvo about the safety and legal implications of getting in the way when an inspector comes to … Continue reading →
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3:11 AM | 3 weeks in November: 56 hospital outbreaks of norovirus in West Midlands and North East UK hospitals
Outbreak News Today again, citing Public Health England (PHE) as documenting 56 suspected and laboratory confirmed hospital norovirus outbreaks with the West Midlands and North East regions from the week beginning Nov. 3 through the week beginning Nov. 24. This … Continue reading →
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2:55 AM | 7 dead, 32 sick from Vibrio vulnificus in Florida in 2014
Outbreak News Today cites the Florida Department of Health (DOH) as saying there have been 32 cases and seven dead from Vibrio vulnificus in Florida in 2014. Those numbers include both food and waterborne sources. V. vulnificus can cause disease … Continue reading →

December 14, 2014

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4:53 PM | Egypt: Sunday Morning Bird Flu Roundup
    # 9438   It isn’t possible to say with very much confidence exactly what the H5N1 situation is in Egypt right now, as the Ministry of Health’s website doesn’t seem in any rush to post updates, and most of what we know now comes from scattered, variable, and sometimes hard to decipher Arabic media reports.    The only H5N1 update I can find on the Egyptian MOH site refers to 180 total cases (link), a milestone that was passed several […]
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