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New Type of More Problematic Mosquito-Borne Illness Detected in Brazil

A second form of the painful chikungunya virus has appeared in Brazil—one that could more easily spread, including to the U.S.

When a mosquito-borne disease first arrived in the Western Hemisphere last year, humans were relatively lucky. The disease, which causes crippling joint pain persis... Read More

UEA researchers discover Achilles’ heel in antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have made a breakthrough in the race to solve antibiotic resistance.

New research published today in the journal Nature reveals an Achilles’ heel in the defensive barrier which surrounds drug-resistant bacterial cells.

The findings pave the way f... Read More

Incidence of childhood tuberculosis could be 25 percent higher than previous estimates

New estimates indicate that over 650,000 children develop tuberculosis (TB) every year in the 22 countries with a high burden of the disease -- almost 25 percent higher than the total number of new cases worldwide estimated by WHO in 2012. The research also suggests that about 15 million childre... Read More

Bacteria may have ability to reduce impact of diazepam on UK river environments

The natural photo degradation of diazepam (valium) and similar medicines – followed by bacterial breakdown – may reduce their potentially harmful impact on the UK’s freshwater environment, a team of researchers has said.

Diazepam – used to treat anxiety and other similar conditions – has been... Read More

Unidentified Microbes on SDA

Unidentified soil microbes on SDA plates; most colonies are producing compounds (droplets can be seen on top of the colonies; possibly antibiotic producers). This picture was taken by me, Kaitlynn Fenley. The plate is from the class that I am a teaching assistant for at Louisiana State Universit... Read More

Hygienic Laboratory in the Marine Hospital, Staten Island, New York

In 1887, Dr. Joseph Kinyoun set up his one-room Hygienic Laboratory in the Marine Hospital on Staten Island in New York to research cholera and other infectious diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid, smallpox, typhus, plague and tuberculosis. This was the beginning of the National Institutes of H... Read More

The Jelly Roll of Life

We know that life on earth is incredibly diverse. It can survive deep in the trenches of the ocean and in the frozen permafrost of the arctic. Surely we have much to learn from the study of life, but we also have much to learn about the virus. Even though they are not considered living things, t... Read More

Paper Test Quickly Detects Ebola, Dengue, And Yellow Fever

Researchers in the US have developed a silver nanoparticle-based paper test to simultaneously detect dengue, yellow fever and Ebola. This could provide a cheap and reliable diagnosis for all three diseases, that’s as quick as a home pregnancy test.

The test is made from strips of paper contai... Read More

TWiP 86 letters

Jan writes:


Dear Doctors


This one is a bit more tricky; both Giardia and Cryptosporidium are possible. The symptoms are more those of Cryptosporidium, so that would be my semi-educated guess. Most of that education comes through you, with some help of some CDC... Read More

Students aim to put cyanobacteria on Mars to generate oxygen

Mars is a very harsh and hostile environment for future human explorers and like any other known planet it has no breathable air. That could change someday, and it may be soon enough for our generation to witness it, as the student team from Germany has a bold vision to make a first step to terr... Read More

Discovery aims to fight destructive bee disease

Researchers hope their new discovery will help combat a disease killing honeybee populations around the world. The researchers have found a toxin released by the pathogen that causes American foulbrood disease -- Paenibacillus larvae -- and developed a lead-based inhibitor against it.

Click "... Read More

U.S. may impose tougher curbs to contain bird flu in Arkansas

U.S. authorities are considering imposing tougher restrictions in Arkansas to contain a virulent strain of avian flu in the heart of America's poultry region in a bid to minimize international trade disruptions and contain the virus.

The H5N2 flu discovered in Arkansas last week is the state'... Read More

Whooping cough proteins evolving 'unusually' fast

Whooping cough may be evolving to outsmart the currently used vaccine, say researchers.

Analysis of strains from 2012 shows the parts of the pertussis bacterium that the vaccine primes the immune system to recognise are changing.

It may have "serious consequences" in future outbreaks, UK r... Read More

By introducing DNA from other organisms, scientists enhance production of compounds in fungus

The enzymes and compounds produced by fungi are of great interest to the pharmaceutical, textile, paper and food industries. These organisms are capable of secreting, their nutritional needs are low and have high growth rate. A group of researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexi... Read More

Plant Pathogen Silences Host’s Immune Genes

As more and more information becomes available, one marvels (and also frets) at the sophisticated strategies that pathogens have evolved in order to evade their hosts’ defense mechanisms. Many pathogens of plants and animals deliver effectors into their hosts in order to suppress immune response... Read More

All the microbes of the field will clap their hands

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: microbes are everywhere, and everywhere important. As regular readers will know, I’ve recently become obsessed with cultivating our microbial companions to make delicious foods. But you don’t have to have to constantly minding jars of kraut or jugs of m... Read More

CDC: Flu shot less effective this year because current virus has mutated

Scientists are concerned about what they're seeing so far this flu season, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, a day after the agency advised doctors this year's flu vaccine is not as effective because the current strain of the virus has mutated.

Dr. ... Read More

Nanotechnology Against Malaria Parasites

Malaria parasites invade human red blood cells, they then disrupt them and infect others. Researchers at the University of Basel and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute have now developed so-called nanomimics of host cell membranes that trick the parasites. This could lead to novel tr... Read More

Five Questions About the Foraminifera

The Foraminifera ("forams") are among the largest and most abundant of all unicellular organisms. They can reach 20 cm in length and 18 cm in width, and the shells surrounding them are even bigger, up to 30 cm in length. They have existed in prodigious numbers that the remnants of their shells h... Read More

A Snippet: Thioploca

The seafloor off the coast of Chile is carpeted with bacterial mats of gigantic proportions. They cover an area as large as that of the state of Alabama. Their total weight is of the order of 100 million tons, which probably makes this the largest single species microbiome on Earth. The mats con... Read More
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