April 08, 2014

5:24 PM | Man arrested at NY airport for smuggling cocaine in frozen meat
Many years ago when I was a teenager, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (Canada), some friends went to Jamacia, and came back with a wooden owl – filled with ganga. Things haven’t changed much. From … Continue reading →
4:19 PM | Just the Fats: What’s New? What’s Old?
With the Mediterranean diet all the rage, not only because consumers like its tasty composition but because of research touting its health benefits, experts have had to become more specific about recommendations for fats. There’s a steady drumbeat these days—from everyone from chefs to food writers to health gurus—criticizing nutritionists and the “diet police,” who, [...]
4:01 PM | Pictures say a thousand words: OSHA Silica Hearings week #3
OSHA's public hearing on its proposed regulation on respirable crystalline silica concluded last week. Some of the final witnesses included the American Petroleum Institute and the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund.
12:00 PM | Did You Know I Have a Book Coming Out?
That's right. An honest-to-goodness book. That I wrote. All by myself. When I was asked last year by the Everything Series to write a book on PTSD, I was both flattered and frightened. After some hemming-and-hawing, I agreed to submit...            Related StoriesBritish Doctor Goes Undercover to Expose Gay "Cures"In Praise of ChildrenThe Problem With Pain 
11:23 AM | Liver Disease, Obesity, and Essentiality of Vitamins
Obesity is associated with two metabolic aberrations. The most prevalent is metabolic syndrome, a cluster of disorders produced by a fatty liver, including elevated blood glucose and triglycerides. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is defined by the accumulation of excess fat in the liver. There are  no outward signs of NAFLD. Both metabolic syndrome and NAFLD contribute to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and other chronic diseases, e.g. type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular […]
2:55 AM | ‘I wasn’t really informed’ spring chicks can bring Salmonella
Springtime and the approaching Easter holiday are causing concern among health officials. This is the time of year people tend to buy chicks and ducklings for their backyard flocks. As a result, the number of people who become infected with … Continue reading →
2:49 AM | 26 poisoned by sushi in Sonora, Mexico
The number of people with symptoms of food poisoning from eating sushi increased to 26, reported the Ministry of Health of the state. All affected persons have noted that the ingested products in the branch “Rodriguez” chain restaurants That Roll … Continue reading →
2:27 AM | Fancy food ain’t safe food – NZ edition
As New York City somewhat quietly enacted its first paid sick leave law on April 1, wedding guests and eight serving staff at the exclusive Northern Club in Auckland, New Zealand fell sick in a suspected norovirus outbreak. The wedding … Continue reading →
2:19 AM | Over 300 report Norovirus symptoms linked to Japanese steakhouse in Michigan
With more than 300 people now reporting symptoms consistent with norovirus linked to the Wild Chef Japenese Steakhouse in Michigan, public health types have now said it’s safe to reopen. Ottawa County Public Health spokeswoman Kristina Wieghmink said the department … Continue reading →
2:06 AM | I’m barfing; does it matter where foodborne illness happens?
Some people publish in peer-reviewed journals; some publish reports; some publish for a vanity press. According to a report from the U.S. Center for Science in the Public Interest, outbreak data show that Americans are twice as likely to get … Continue reading →
1:17 AM | 80 crypto cases a year; handwashing is never enough: UK health chief warns over risk of infection from region’s petting farms
We have a paper coming out shortly about best practices at petting zoos and farm visits and state fairs and just hanging out with animals. I’ll follow my own best practice and wait until it’s published to talk about it, … Continue reading →

April 07, 2014

8:13 PM | If you weren't at SHEA, here's what you missed...
Jon Otter, who blogs at Micro Blog, summarizes last week's Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America meeting here. I'll just add that the topics were interesting, the speakers were excellent, and it was a fun gathering. Next year: Orlando, May 14-17.
7:30 PM | Candida CAUTI: An oxymoron
While I was attending the SHEA Meeting last week, a list-serve that I follow had some disturbing comments regarding how some hospitals are addressing CAUTIs that are due to Candida spp. I'll address those comments a little later, but first want to address the concept of Candida CAUTI.To meet the NHSN definition of CAUTI, a patient could have fever + 100,000 CFU/mL of Candida in the urine, or fever + 10 WBCs/mL + 1,000 CFU/mL of Candida. While this definition is appropriate for bacteria, it […]
5:35 PM | Amy March, Sister Bear, Lisa Simpson.....oh hell, just read
Over at Tenure, She Wrote today: For although it is true that Amy is a bit of a conceited twit, I strongly object to the core messages in this little speech: don’t show off, even if that means no-one notices how awesome you are. It’s better to be overlooked than to be conceited. Although I […]
4:55 PM | Vibrio outbreak prompts changes in oyster handling
I’ve only once had raw oysters, on a trip to New Zealand while in graduate school where some Kiwi food safety folks urged me to try the delicacy. They were slimy. I determined that the taste benefit wasn’t worth the … Continue reading →
2:07 PM | In Praise of Children
For any child, words of praise can be an important part of learning those skills that can prepare them for adulthood. Whether the praise comes from a parent, a teacher, or even friends, children need to be told that they...            Related StoriesUnderstanding HoardersThe Problem With PainDoes Adversity Make You More Creative? 
1:43 PM | Life in Grad School: A day in the life of Atif
The editorial staff at Gradifying decided that this month we would describe our experience in graduate school, especially given how different our experiences are. Last week, Amanda discussed her experiences as a graduate student, describing her “field season” and “the outdoors” and “early mornings.” My life is completely different. While Amanda spends her days knee […]
12:29 PM | The Antioxidant Functions of Riboflavin
When we think of antioxidant nutrients, we think of the big names: vitamin C, vitamin E, the carotenoids, selenium. It is less well known that riboflavin also supports the body’s antioxidant functions. These less well known properties have been reviewed recently by Ashoor and Saedisomeolia.
12:00 PM | Occupational Health News Roundup
President Obama highlights the ways inadequate paid-leave and wage policies affect women workers; a California bill would hold companies liable for violations by the temporary labor firms they contract with; and OSHA proposes $2.3 million in fines against a company that exposed workers to asbestos and lead hazards.

April 06, 2014

10:07 PM | Ding Ding Ding: And We Have A Winner
I should have known something was awry when I got these heads, months apart, a year (2?) ago (time slips and I'm too lazy to look back through thousands of pictures to figure out how long these heads have been hanging at the foot of my bed staring at me). It should have been a huge red flag that something was wrong. A dear friend (who is great for giving me the necessary nudges I need) and I discussed it the other day on the phone and I took them down while we were still on the phone, […]
9:25 PM | Listeria being sequenced to better understand food poisoning
Chances are you’ve heard of mapping genes to diagnose rare diseases, predict your risk of cancer and tell your ancestry. But to uncover food poisonings? The nation’s disease detectives are beginning a program to try to outsmart outbreaks by routinely … Continue reading →
9:07 PM | Maybe don’t quit your day job? UK restaurant mentored by TV food guru Russell Norman given one star hygiene rating
A restaurant mentored by television food guru Russell Norman in his BBC show scored just one star in a food hygiene inspection. A fridge at Desi Fusion – featured on The Restaurant Man show – was found with mouldy and … Continue reading →
8:06 PM | Public Health in the News – April 6, 2014
Global World Health Day, on April 7th, will focus on vector borne diseases. The World Health Organisation has recently declared that vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and Japanese encephalitis could be eradicated through preventive measures and more financial commitment for campaigns against the diseases.  A United Nations report this week warned that a warming planet […]
4:24 PM | Paris, marathon training and some space science
Hello! In this blog post, I’m going to talk about some cool space science from the last couple of weeks. First though, I have some of my own updates. Tomorrow, I am heading to… Continue reading →
12:00 PM | The Great Billick
What would eventually become one of the most bizarre murder cases in Chicago's history began when 22-year-old Mary Vrzal first visited "The Great Billick, Card-Reader and Seer" in 1904. Within a matter of months, most of her family would be...            Related StoriesThe Twin DoctorOnline Support Groups and SuicideBritish Doctor Goes Undercover to Expose Gay "Cures" 
6:45 AM | Review on PCR based diagnostic approaches for detection of intestinal parasites
My colleague Jaco Verweij – a pioneer in terms of developing and applying real-time PCR diagnostics in clinical parasitology – and I have put together a review in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews with the title: Molecular Testing for Clinical Diagnosis and Epidemiological Investigations of Intestinal Parasitic Infections It’s available form the journal’s website here. […]

Verweij JJ & Stensvold CR (2014). Molecular testing for clinical diagnosis and epidemiological investigations of intestinal parasitic infections., Clinical microbiology reviews, 27 (2) 371-418. PMID:

Lee MY, Cho EJ, Lee JH, Han SH & Park YS (2011). A ten-year survey of Giardia cysts in drinking water supplies of Seoul, the Republic of Korea., The Korean journal of parasitology, 49 (1) 9-15. PMID:

6:04 AM | Sex education
This week, I will put the scholarly pieces aside a bit and just talk about what sex education as I experienced it and as I see it now. I will focus on the girl – not because I don’t think boys are important in this issue but because girls are the ones who bear ALL […]
5:07 AM | Community rallies behind Oklahoma boy battling E. coli infection
Residents in a small town in northwest Oklahoma are rallying behind a young boy, who is fighting for his life after being infected with E. coli. State health officials in Oklahoma are investigating a spike in a deadly strain of E. … Continue reading →
3:04 AM | There’s no problem here; UK tourist sues over Salmonella ‘nightmare holiday’ in Bulgaria
Catherine Lowe, aged 26, came down with Salmonella poisoning during a stay at a hotel in Bulgaria. The healthcare assistant needed to be hooked up to a drip at a local medical centre when her symptoms left her dangerously dehydrated, … Continue reading →
2:57 AM | Over £17Kin fines; mouldy food and filthy conditions at The Thali Indian restaurant shock UK hygiene inspectors
Conditions at a filthy East Yorkshire restaurant have been described as some of the worst that hygiene inspectors had ever seen. Inspectors visiting The Thali Indian restaurant in Pocklington found mouldy food on counters, no soap for workers to wash … Continue reading →
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