April 13, 2014

4:35 AM | Aberdeen’s typhoid outbreak remembered 50 years on
Sheena Blackhall was a 16-year-old schoolgirl when Aberdeen was brought to its knees by the largest typhoid outbreak in recent British history 50 years ago. More than 500 people of all ages had to be quarantined in hospital. The infection … Continue reading →
4:15 AM | Farm management, hygiene, weather all affect E. coli rates in spinach
The likelihood that a crop of leafy greens will be contaminated by E. coli, an indicator of fecal contamination, before harvest is strongly influenced by both farm management and environmental factors, according to a study spotlighted on the cover of … Continue reading →

April 12, 2014

3:05 PM | Keep the beard, Eli!
There's a new paper in the Journal of Hospital Infection that takes a look at the bacterial ecology of facial hair. In this study, 408 male healthcare workers had two areas of their face cultured. About half of the men had facial hair and the other half did not. Interestingly, the men with facial hair were significantly less likely to have skin colonization with S. aureus (lip: 34% vs 45%; cheek 41% vs 52%). When the facial skin was scratched with a sterile swab there was no difference in […]
10:03 AM | How eating several smaller sized chocolates makes you look greedy and impulsive: the unit size effect of indulgent food
Imagine you are offered a package full of delicious chocolates. Would the size of the pieces of chocolate influences how much you eat? Yes, the size of your piece of chocolate matters. This so-called unit size of food refers to the number of units in which a portion of food is divided. Earlier studies have shown that smaller units typically lead people to eat less. For example, Wansink and colleagues found that people being given four 100-calorie packs of crackers ate about 25% […]

van Kleef E., Kavvouris C. & van Trijp H.C.M. (2014). The unit size effect of indulgent food: How eating smaller-sized items signals impulsivity and makes consumers eat less, Psychology & Health, 1-41. DOI:

2:16 AM | Norovirus outbreak: why do bad things seem to happen at Chuck E Cheese?
Health officials say they’re seriously concerned about an outbreak of Norovirus linked to a well-known restaurant. Hundreds of people walk through the doors for birthday parties – but when Kelly Green left this Chuck E Cheese’s she was not celebrating. … Continue reading →
2:09 AM | French court fines former owner, director of Marcel Baey for 2010-2011 Listeria cover-up
A French court condemned the former director of salmon smoker Marcel Baey on April 8 in relation to an investigation into unreported listeria occurrences and misleading marketing material at the company in 2010 and 2011, reported La Voix du Nord. … Continue reading →
2:01 AM | European Hepatitis A-frozen berry update
More than 1,300 hepatitis A cases have been reported in eleven Member States since January 2013, with 240 confirmed cases related to the ongoing outbreak. Initially the outbreak was associated with people who had travelled to Italy. However seven Member … Continue reading →
1:57 AM | Health fair attendees stricken with food poisoning
The Rio Grande County Public Health Department in Colorado is investigating an outbreak of food poisoning possibly linked to food that was served at the 9Health Fair in Monte Vista on Saturday, April 5. 9Health Fair says the food at … Continue reading →
1:47 AM | Health department says Bonicki’s outbreak could have resulted from improper food storage
The Michigan Department of Community Health reports that an outbreak of foodborne illness at Bonicki’s Sports Bistro, could have resulted from improper food storage. In a news release Friday morning, April 11, the health department officials said the investigation at … Continue reading →
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

8:22 PM | Researchers find the diseases with the greatest global burden aren’t the most researched
Unfortunately, it’s not too terribly surprising that diseases of the developing world don’t attract as much research attention as diseases common in wealthier countries. However, a new study not only underscores that trend, it actually found zero relationship between global disease burden and health research.
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, […]
3:22 PM | Nearly five weeks later...the fiercest of loves
Come Monday, Snapple will have been with us for five weeks--five weeks that flew by. She has integrated into the furry side of the family very well, and makes sure to love on us humans as she does with her furry brothers and sisters. Ouch. We are having to teach Snapple to not live up to her name--her little bites hurt.Not that Val minds those sharp little teeth. They love to play.As many pets as I have had over my life, it never fails to surprise me how deeply I fall for these […]
8:25 AM | Iron Supplementation is Beneficial for Female Athletes
Iron is an essential nutrient, especially for athletes. Iron’s most important role is to transport oxygen through the body via the blood protein hemoglobin. When iron intakes and absorption are inadequate to meet needs, the hemoglobin molecule that contains iron at its core cannot be produced. Symptoms such as fatigue, weakness and dizziness relate to the reduced ability of the body to transport oxygen. Iron deficiency in athletes reduces oxygen uptake and the output of muscles, impairing […]
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 →
12:27 AM | Thought of the Day on Expectations of Nomadism
I wasn't following the Twittscussion on academic nomadism closely, but one thing struck me. There are those in academics who don't realize why it would be a bad thing. To expect scientists to move around a fair number of times because their career demands it. This is unfortunate. I hope that some day they find […]

April 10, 2014

9:30 PM | Sometimes, what we suffer from is bigger than we think
There was a time when the makers of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) ran ads with the tagline "sometimes, what we suffer from is bigger than we think" urging folks to see their doctor for viral URIs and get treatment for the influenza.  Now, however, I think the tagline is perfect for describing the predicament clinicians, public health officials and governments are in when trying to decide what to do with neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir) for influenza prevention and treatment. […]
8:00 PM | A day in Mali -The Northwestern Access to Health Project
By Osefame Ewaleifoh   Access to Health Mali group in Dogon Country The Northwestern Access to Health Project (NAHP) was started three years ago by the pioneering efforts of Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Juliet Sorensen. The goal of the project was simple, to leverage and integrate legal, medical, and business skills of Northwestern students […]
5:35 PM | CDC agency chastises USDA for mischaracterizing a report on poultry workers
NIOSH is one of those federal agencies that prefers to lie quietly in the background. But when USDA misconstrued a NIOSH report on poultry worker injuries, the agency took notice and created some waves.
2:51 PM | Why Hepatitis C Is Vastly Underreported
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) continues to be the number one cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the primary indicator for liver transplantation in the United States, yet it remains vastly underdiagnosed. More than three million people in the U.S. are infected. Guidelines support widespread screening for HCV, and excellent treatments are now available. So [...]
1:33 PM | If Focusing Only on the Pleasant Bits Worked
Vonnegut, in Slaughterhouse-Five, has Billy Pilgrim talk about the Tralfamadorians' philosophy of ignoring the unpleasant times and focusing only on the positives. Pilgrim, however, is constantly being pulled back into the war and his times in Dresden. He is helpless to avoid it, although he compensates by creating a future with centerfold Montana Wildhack on a Tralfamadorian zoo where they live happily and procreate.  Wish fulfillment, lovely daydreams or schizophrenic visions?I've […]
1:21 PM | It just makes sense....
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12:00 PM | Hanging Out With The Wrong Crowd
Adolescence and early adulthood is a time when peer groups become increasingly influential in the lives of young people. Youths exposed to deviant peers risk susceptibility to externalizing behaviors and related psychopathology. In addition to environmental correlates of deviant peer...            Related StoriesIn Praise of ChildrenThe Great BillickOnline Support Groups and Suicide 
9:27 AM | Nutrition Choices for Pregnant Women Fail to Meet Recommendations
One of the keys to a healthy pregnancy is good nutrition. What pregnant women eat during pregnancy can affect not only their own health, but also the risk of undesirable birth outcomes and the health of the fetus. In general, nutrition guidelines include specific recommendations for pregnant women to ensure that they receive adequate energy, protein, fat and micronutrients during pregnancy to support both themselves and their offspring, and also to avoid foods that carry specific health risks. […]
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 →
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 →
2:05 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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