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Typhoid toxin increases host survival and promotes asymptomatic infection

Genotoxins damage the genetic material in cells and can cause mutations and cancer. Some bacteria code for and produce genotoxins. A study published on April 7th in PLOS Pathogens reports the surprising finding that one of them, typhoid toxin, actually increases survival of the infected host and... Read More

Researchers discover potential treatment for sepsis and other responses to infection

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai say that tiny doses of a cancer drug may stop the raging, uncontrollable immune response to infection that leads to sepsis and kills up to 500,000 people a year in the U.S. The new drug treatment may also benefit millions of people world... Read More

Experimental dengue vaccine protects all recipients in virus challenge study

A clinical trial in which volunteers were infected with dengue virus six months after receiving either an experimental dengue vaccine developed by scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or a placebo injection yielded starkly contrasting results. All 21 volunteers who received th... Read More

Researchers discover how a bacterium, Clostridium thermocellum, utilizes both CO2 and cellulose

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) made the surprise discovery that a metabolic pathway to take up CO2 exists and functions in a microorganism capable of breaking down and fermenting cellulosic biomass to produce biofuels including hydrogen ... Read More

Biological factors predict which viruses will cause human epidemics

The identification of biological factors that predict which viruses are most likely to spread among humans could help prevent and contain outbreaks, a study in today's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports. Read More

A promising Ebolavirus antiviral compound

Remember Ebolaviruses? Many people are still working on vaccines and therapeutics. Here is a very nice story on a promising antiviral compound that is very effective at preventing disease in monkeys. But it doesn't work in mice - it's degraded. You know what they say - mice lie, monkeys exaggera... Read More

Just a spoonful of L-arginine helps the biofilm go down

Many components of our oral hygiene regimens are meant to keep cariogenic bacteria at bay: sodium fluoride in ACT interferes with electron transport and ATP synthesis, the essential oils in Listerine have antiseptic effects, and abrasives – small, insoluble particles in toothpaste – help remove ... Read More

Immune response differences might determine severity of West Nile Virus disease

While most West Nile Virus (WNV) infections in humans are asymptomatic and go unnoticed, the virus causes serious and sometimes fatal neurologic illness in some people. A study published on January 21st in PLOS Pathogens suggests that an exaggerated and abnormal immune response contributes to th... Read More

Microbial Genomics and the Future of Food Microbiology

There’s no question that foodborne disease is a serious problem. Illnesses from contaminated foods cause over 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six Americans suffers a food-related illne... Read More

An ancient killer: Ancestral malarial organisms traced to age of dinosaurs

CORVALLIS, Ore. - A new analysis of the prehistoric origin of malaria suggests that it evolved in insects at least 100 million years ago, and the first vertebrate hosts of this disease were probably reptiles, which at that time would have included the dinosaurs. Read More

Microbes of the Built Environment

ASM hosted a Twitter Chat on Microbes of the Built Environment. You may have missed the chat, but you can read the storified version of our conversation! See what our expert panelists had to say, and join us next time on ‪#‎ASMChats‬! http://bit.ly/27I9vH1 Read More

A new vaccine has developed by Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Wednesday his country had developed a vaccine for the Ebola virus which has killed thousands of people in west Africa.

But Putin, who is famed for his talent for headline-grabbing announcements, did not give any name for the vaccine, nor did he say how... Read More

S. aureus Can Spread from Blood to Eye, Endangering Vision

Washington, DC - January 25, 2016 - Nearly ten percent of cases of Staphylococcus aureus infections of the blood spread to the eyeball, according to a team of Korean clinical investigators. That spread can severely impair vision, and even cause blindness. The research was published January 11 in... Read More

Trinity immunologists find new ways to beat the 'bad guys'

Vaccines are like pathogen imposters - they mimic these 'bad guys' in order to provoke a response from our immune systems, remove the invader and begin the healing process.

One of the key components in a vaccine is an adjuvant, which serves to enhance our body's immune response to vaccination... Read More

JAMA Viewpoint: Emerging Zika pandemic requires more WHO action now

WASHINGTON - The World Health Organization's Director-General should convene "urgently" a meeting of International Health Regulations' Emergency Committee to advise on the emerging Zika pandemic and galvanize global action, say two Georgetown University professors. Read More

And now for something completely different: optimistic news from the world of antibiotic stewardship

There’s no way to avoid the news of a growing concern for drug-resistant infections. In both life-threatening and relatively superficial infections, the ability to successfully treat microbial infections with antimicrobials is decreasing. Our only recourse is to use the drugs we have carefully w... Read More

Fewer than 1 in 5 nurses comply with guidelines for standard precautions

Washington, Jan. 20, 2016 - Only 17.4 percent of ambulatory care nurses reported compliance in all nine standard precautions for infection prevention, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for... Read More

Climate change affects Swedish reindeer herding and increases tularemia

In northern Sweden, data from certain weather stations have shown that the snow season has been shortened by over two months in the last 30 years, which has huge effects on reindeer herding. Also, the climate sensitive human infection tularemia has tenfolded over the same period and is much more... Read More

BacterioFiles 273 - Bottle-Biting Bacteria

This episode: Newly discovered bacteria can break down especially long-lived type of plastic!


(6.4 MB, 7 minutes)


Show notes: 




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Neanderthals may have been infected by diseases carried out of Africa by humans

A new study suggests that Neanderthals across Europe may well have been infected with diseases carried out of Africa by waves of anatomically modern humans, or Homo sapiens. As both were species of hominin, it would have been easier for pathogens to jump populations, say researchers. This might ... Read More
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