On viruses and zombie raccoons

I was on Inside Edition last week to talk about zombies. That’s a weird sentence to type. While the story was dramatic, television clips are notoriously difficult to discuss anything of real significance. I had two main messages I wanted to get across. One, that we can’t be sure what these animals are suffering from […]

No, Kelly Brogan, germs are not “trying to kill us.” And yes, they are real.

I’m honestly not even sure where to start with this.                This claim comes from Kelly Brogan, “holistic psychiatrist” and noted HIV denier. She claims, “Goodbye to germ theory! Can we really maintain the childish illusion that there are a handful of identified ‘bad germs’ out there trying to […]

HIV’s “Patient Zero” was exonerated long ago

The news over the past 24 hours has exclaimed over and over: HIV’s Patient Zero Exonerated How scientists proved the wrong man was blamed for bringing HIV to the U.S. Researchers Clear “Patient Zero” from AIDS Origin Story H.I.V. Arrived in the U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’ Gaetan Dugas: “patient zero” not source of HIV/AIDS […]

Just how long does the Ebola virus linger in semen?

The 2013-2016 West African Ebola virus outbreak altered our perception of just what an Ebola outbreak could look like. While none of the three primary affected countries–Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-have had a case since April 2016, the outbreak resulted in a total of over 28,000 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD)–65 times higher than […]

The Epidemiology of Greyscale

[Obvious warning is obvious: potential spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire novels/Game of Thrones TV series below]. While no one will claim that George R.R. Martin’s epic series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” is historically accurate, there are a number of historical parallels that can be drawn from the characters and plotline–particularly […]

MCR-1 has been identified in the United States–what is it, and what does it mean?

We’ve been expecting it, and now it’s here. Yesterday, two article were released showing that MCR-1, the plasmid-associated gene that provides resistance to the antibiotic colistin, has been found in the United States. And not just in one place, but in two distinct cases: a woman with a urinary tract infection (UTI) in Pennsylvania, reported […]

Zika: what we’re still missing

As you’ve probably seen, unless you’ve been living in a cave, Zika virus is the infectious disease topic du jour. From an obscure virus to the newest scare, interest in the virus has skyrocketed just in the past few weeks:   I have a few pieces already on Zika, so I won’t repeat myself here. […]

Antibiotic resistance: myths and misunderstandings

I’ve been involved in a few discussions of late on science-based sites around yon web on antibiotic resistance and agriculture–specifically, the campaign to get fast food giant Subway to stop using meat raised on antibiotics, and a graphic by CommonGround using Animal Health Institute data, suggesting that agricultural animals aren’t an important source of resistant bacteria. […]

ST398 carriage and infections in farmers, United States

I’ve been working on livestock-associated Staphylococcus aureus and farming now for almost a decade. In that time, work from my lab has shown that, first, the “livestock-associated” strain of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) that was found originally in Europe and then in Canada, ST398, is in the United States in pigs and farmers; that it’s present […]

Why quarantine for measles is critical…and quarantine for Ebola was not

Measles has come to the happiest place on Earth. As of this writing, a total of 32 cases of measles have been linked to Disneyland visits that took place between December 17th and 20th. About 75% of the cases identified to date were not vaccinated, either because they chose to forgo vaccines or because they […]