Not the Batman kind–the influenza kind. I received a questionnaire yesterday from ABC news. Apparently, they’re doing a story on pandemic influenza preparation. Included were questions like, “What would you recommend to those individuals who are trying to obtain antiviral medications for their own personal preparedness? When should they start taking them?” and “What would […]

“Flesh eating” bacteria strikes Boulder

Necrotizing fasciitis (the so-called “flesh-eating disease”) is a rare manifestation of infection with the group A streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes, though occasionally other bacteria cause it as well). Apparently, it’s been a banner year for the infection in Boulder, Colorado. The Daily Camera (registration required) has the story: Sixteen months after University of Colorado physicist Eric […]

Why Nigeria for first African H5N1 outbreak?

This question was discussed yesterday in the comments to this post. An article in yesterday’s New Scientist offers some ideas: But New Scientist can reveal that the location of Africa’s first reported outbreak should not come as a surprise. The region affected is right beside a major wintering ground for two relatively common species of […]

Aflatoxin found in pet food

I’ve been meaning to write something up about this for awhile, but keep forgetting. Anyhoo, because my own dog is currently ill and it’s stressing me out watching her (not due to this, thankfully), I thought I’d do my own little part to get the word out to any dog owners who may not have […]

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 […]

New vaccine recommendations coming

Doctors recommend hepatitis shot for kids Hepatitis A is a virus that causes (obviously) hepatitis, as well as jaundice, fatigue, nausea, fever, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. It’s often spread fecal-orally; that is, you put something in your mouth that has fecal contamination. (Just makes you want to run to the bathroom and brush your […]

What the hell is going on with Tularemia? or, a Rant about public health problems

It’s situations like this that really irk me. I mentioned the tularemia detection in DC here almost 2 weeks ago, already annoyed that there hadn’t been more information about it. There has been some discussion on the ProMed list, but it’s hardly been a blip in the mainstream media. Yesterday, there was an article in […]

Dobzhansky and anthrax

The Washington Post today reminds us that there has been little progress in uncovering the source of the 2001 anthrax attacks. [1] First, a disclaimer. I’m not an “evolutionary biologist,” per se. I have what is I swear the longest job title ever–molecular infectious disease epidemiologist. As such, I often get asked, “what’s the relevance […]