April 21, 2014

2:47 PM | Vitamin D Sufficiency for Child Development and Nutrition for All
Vitamin D and calcium are required to build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is essential for normal absorption of calcium. Rickets, a failure in bone mineralization, was identified in the early 17th century and became endemic in the 20th century with industrialization. People were spending more time indoors and air pollution was reducing sun exposure. With vitamin D fortification and supplementation, rickets almost completely disappeared in the 21st century. However, rickets is re-emerging as […]
1:00 PM | Judging science fairs: 10/10 Privilege, 0/10 Ability
Every year, I make a point of rounding up students in my department and encouraging them to volunteer one evening judging our local science fair. This year, the fair was held at the start of April, and featured over 200 judges and hundreds of projects from young scientists in grades 5 through to 12, with […]
3:52 AM | Public Health in the News – April 20, 2014
Global A new British study has found that paying heroin addicts $50 each to have a series of three injections in a month was very effective in getting them fully vaccinated against hepatitis B. The World Health Organization’s expert advisory group said that two shots of vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), rather than the three doses currently recommended, […]

April 20, 2014

6:29 PM | MSOE SMART Team!
Recently, I was involved as a mentor with the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) Center of Biomolecular Modeling (CBM) Students Modeling A Research Topic (SMART) teams. Holy acronyms!2013-2014 SMART Team ShirtI wanted to take a short moment and not just brag about how amazing the experience was, but also to give credit to everyone involved, for making it so.I have been involved in a handful of high-school related science programs (LeadAmerica, INSPIRE) as well as a big brother for Big […]
12:00 PM | When Summer Wouldn't Come (Part 2 of 3)
Continued from Part One The mood at the beginning of 1816 was actully quite positive despite the harsh winiter that most of Europe experienced. In the United States, the end of the War of 1812 seemed like a good sign...            Related StoriesExploring the Hollow EarthThe Power of the Placebo (Part 2 of 2)When Summer Wouldn't Come (Part One of Three) 
9:07 AM | Nosestretcher alert: sous vide safety in the home kitchen
Friend of the blog Don Schaffner of Rutgers University had some food safety concerns about a recent column broadcast by state-sponsored jazz radio station NPR about sous vide – or cooking under vacuum at a specific temperature. She (journalist T. … Continue reading →
7:37 AM | Playing the numbers, Salmonella-at-Cuban-resort edition
When barfing endlessly, it’s of little comfort to know you represent only 1.5% of possible barfers. Yet that is the insensitive numbers game tour operators like Thomas Cook continue to play when they confirm 29 cases of “mild illness” reported … Continue reading →
7:28 AM | Should swimming pools have restaurant-like grades for safety? Toronto thinks so
Operators of pools, spas, hot tubs and wading pools in Toronto could soon be required to post on-site inspection notices, letting the public know if any health and safety violations have taken place. In 2011, the Star revealed that pool … Continue reading →
4:10 AM | Food safety in Lebanon: experts emphasize need for measures after scandals
Lebanon is in need of effective food safety measures in light of the series of food scandals that the country has witnessed, ministries and experts say. The Lebanese food industry is rife with serious issues, said AUB Professor Zeina Kassaify. … Continue reading →
3:55 AM | Texas family bouncing back after two boys sickened by E. coli last year
In May 2013, public health buffoon Dr. Eric Wilke of the Brazos County Health Department in College Station, Texas, declared to a press conference that an E. coli O157 outbreak that landed two brothers in hospital was “a fluke” as … Continue reading →
3:25 AM | Imported berry mix cake suspected to be the source of Hepatitis A in Norway
I’m still pissed I can’t figure out where my frozen berries are coming from. Sure, I live in a sub-tropical climate with an abundance of berries, but retailers with the frozen berries will go for the cheapest source. And frozen … Continue reading →
3:12 AM | Vegas Firefly still doesn’t get food safety
In June 2013, Las Vegas’ Firefly Tapas Kitchen and Bar was linked to over 250 cases of salmonellosis. Investigators fingered cross-contaminated chorizo as the likely source. At the time of the outbreak owner Tabitha Simmons was quoted as saying, “It’s just … Continue reading →
2:32 AM | Rituals,Traditions and Customs: Creating Meaning
After 26 years together (we met April 15, 1988 and fell for each other instantly), I've grown to embrace Rick's refusal to accept traditions just because they exist or to celebrate holidays because they are on a calendar. It took some time to get used to, since my mom loves holidays and traditions and I grew up under that mindset, but over time I've gotten to like what's replaced it: our own traditions and rituals.We don't do anything about the New Year, because, well, we're usually asleep or […]

April 19, 2014

11:55 PM | Food terrorism poses eminent danger to US
Food terrorism poses an eminent danger to the United States, according to antiterrorism specialists. While the need for higher quantities of food is only increasing, the standards for food safety have been at a standstill or worse—nonexistent. The Voice of … Continue reading →
11:47 PM | Canada’s chicken farmers ban injections that trigger resistance
Canadian chicken farmers are putting an end to controversial egg injections, which provided the world with a “textbook” example of the perils of mass medication. By injecting eggs at hatcheries with ceftiofur, a medically important antibiotic, the farmers triggered the rise … Continue reading →
12:34 PM | Encouraging thermometer use, one person at a time
Australia shuts down for Easter. It’s the end of two weeks of school holidays, the weather in Brisbane is ideal, so everyone is at the beach. We went to the arena. We did go to the beach Friday, but Saturday … Continue reading →
11:29 AM | Typing Method for Cryptosporidium Meleagridis
We recently developed a highly applicable method for typing of Cryptosporidium meleagridis isolates. C. meleagridis is the third most common species involved in human cryptosporidiosis, a dirrhoeal disease taking a major toll on global health. Molecular typing of Cryptosporidium is critical to understanding transmission and identifying outbreaks. Until now, no robust method has been available […]

Kotloff KL, Nataro JP, Blackwelder WC, Nasrin D, Farag TH, Panchalingam S, Wu Y, Sow SO, Sur D, Breiman RF & Faruque AS (2013). Burden and aetiology of diarrhoeal disease in infants and young children in developing countries (the Global Enteric Multicenter Study, GEMS): a prospective, case-control study., Lancet, 382 (9888) 209-22. PMID:

1:50 AM | ‘Seed and Soil’: an epidemiological parable
I’ve been thinking about the ‘seed and soil’ metaphor used by turn of the century by physicians who accepted germ theory but only had environmental medicine to combat infections. All classically trained physicians, whether religious or not, would have been familiar with the biblical parable of the sower. It also works well as an epidemiological […]

April 18, 2014

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 →
8:12 PM | 1955 - Dawn of the Antibiotic Era and Lessons for the Future
It's easy to fall into despair when pondering the decades long rise of antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens and the simultaneous decline in funding for antibacterial discovery, surveillance systems and infection prevention. But this wasn't always the case.  Back before 1969 when it may or may not have been said that "It is time to close the book on infectious diseases, and declare the war against pestilence won," clinicians appreciated antibiotics and even understood the idea of […]
7:53 PM | Job ad for Assistant Professor position makes it explicit...
Drexel University College of Medicine is hiring! ....sortof. The Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professor. We seek a SYSTEMS/BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENTIST whose research utilizes contemporary molecular, physiological and/or imaging techniques to address fundamental questions related to monoamine networks, cognitive function and motivated […]
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 →
4:15 PM | Thought of the Day: The NIH Can't Win
A comment over at Rock Talk made a fairly traditional complaint about the NIH funding system. Dan C stated that: "NIH is to be criticized that it funds “usual suspects.” Today, I find this funny. Because after all, most of the people complaining about the NIH system want to become one of the usual suspects! […]
4:13 PM | #923 (Guest blogger, Rachel McAuley)
Guest blogger Rachel McAuley with her co-leaders andNGO coordinators in Guatemala, 2014. Guest blogger Rachel McAuley is a senior health sciences major at James Madison University. She recently coordinated a service abroad trip to Guatemala."To hell with good intentions, this is a theological statement. You will not help anybody with your good intentions. The third largest US export is the US idealist, who turns up in every theater of the world; the teacher, the volunteer, the missionary, […]
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 →
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 →
3:45 PM | Study: New fathers struggle with depression, need interventions, too
Women aren’t the only ones at risk for depression and in need of screening services when a new baby comes into their lives. Young fathers face significant mental health challenges as well, according to a new study.
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 →
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 →
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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