Population-based surveillance for MRSA

NHANES is an abbreviation that’s quite familiar to epidemiologists of all stripes: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This survey dates back to 1956 with the passage of the National Health Survey Act, providing legislative authorization for “a continuing survey to provide current statistical data on the amount, distribution, and effects of illness and […]

Kitzmiller decision–required reading

kay, after going through the whole Kitzmiller decision last night, and damn, it’s good. Really, incredibly good. This should be required reading. Jones’ disgust at the whole thing comes through loud and clear. On page 29: Although proponents of the IDM (Intelligent Design movement) occasionally suggest that the designer could be a space alien or […]


Plaintiffs Prevail The much-awaited decision in the Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District is now available. The 139 page document finds for the plaintiffs. Judge Jones finds that “intelligent design” is not science. The DASD ID policy violates both purpose and effect prongs of the Lemon test, and also violates the Pennsylvania constitution. […]

Did Macbeth have mad cow?

I love these historical analyses of disease–real, or fictional. One historical event that has been the subject of much speculation over the decades has been the Plague of Athens, a mysterious outbreak that is thought to have changed the direction of the Peloponnesian War, and for which the cause still remains uncertain:

Emergence of epidemic Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile has joined MRSA, SARS, avian influenza, and West Nile as a hot new emerging disease. This bacterium, a cousin to Clostridium tetani-the causative agent of tetanus–and Clostridium botulinum–the botulism bacterium–is a spore-forming anaerobe. Carried by about 3 percent of healthy adults, the bacterium is generally present as a metabolically inactive spore. The bacterium […]

Are fruit bats a reservoir for Ebola?

As I’ve mentioned before, Ebola is a virus near and dear to my heart. (Figuratively, not literally. I’m not quite that enamored of it). In that previous post, I mentioned that we didn’t know the reservoir of Ebola in nature. It certainly isn’t for lack of trying that it wasn’t determined previously. The first field […]