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A growing concern: why whooping cough incidence may be increasing in a highly vaccinated population

News headlines highlighting an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease often leave readers shaking their heads. These diseases – measles, chickenpox, whooping cough – could have been prevented if only the infected children had been vaccinated. Right? Well, in the case of whooping cough, the si... Read More

Child with drug-resistant TB successfully treated at Johns Hopkins Children's Center

Johns Hopkins Children's Center specialists report they have successfully treated and put in remission a 2-year-old, now age 5, with a highly virulent form of tuberculosis known as XDR TB, or extensively drug-resistant TB. The case, researchers say, provides the first detailed account of a young... Read More

Shiga toxin: no preassembly required

The molecular order of events is important in virulence, and a new paper published in the Journal of Bacteriology looks at the order of events necessary for bacterial toxin delivery to a host cell. Specifically, the authors looked at the assembly of Shiga toxin, produced by Shigella dysenteriae ... Read More

TWiEVO 3: Recombination is for the birds

In episode #3 of the new science show This Week in Evolution, Nels and Vincent examine another important driver of evolution: recombination. The results of two papers in which the process is studied in finches and in yeast lead to the unexpected conclusion that recombination evolves more slowly ... Read More

Happy snowless winter holidays!

Beautiful bacteria. Chromobacterium violaceum, S. aureus, and S. epidermidis Read More

Diagnostic guidelines for bloodstream infections aim to shorten time to accurate therapy

One of the most dangerous places for an infection to occur is in the bloodstream. Septicemia, when microbes are present in the blood, not only allows bacteria access to other internal organs through the highway of our circulatory system, but also can cause a massive inflammatory response, leadin... Read More

Antibodies to dengue virus enhance infection by Zika virus

It has been speculated that the development of neurological disease and fetal abnormalities after Zika virus infection may be due to the presence of antibodies against other flaviruses that enhance disease. In support of this hypothesis, it has been shown that antibodies to dengue virus enhance... Read More

Zika virus

The rapid spread of Zika virus through the Americas, together with the association of infection with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, have propelled this previously ignored virus into the limelight. What is this virus and where did it come from?
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New hybrid drug plugs the hole in malaria drug resistance

A combination of artemisinin and another drug (artemisinin combination therapy, ACT) is currently the best malaria treatment recommended by the World Health Organization. In early 2015, artemisinin-resistant malaria was confirmed in five countries in Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thai... Read More

Young men with detectable HIV more likely to have risky sex

December 7, 2015--Young men who have sex with men and have detectable levels of HIV were more likely to report not using a condom during anal intercourse with a partner not infected with HIV, compared with virologically suppressed young men who have sex with men, according to researchers at Colu... Read More

Harvest your gold from agar plate!

Organism: Micrococcus luteus, media: blood agar, colony: golden color
Micrococcus luteus is a Gram-positive, to Gram-variable, nonmotile, Coccus, saprotrophic bacterium that belongs to the family Micrococcaceae. M. luteus can produce a special pigment that is capable of absorbing wavelengths fr... Read More

Polio in Nigeria

Polio returns to Nigeria after two years - but it turns out it had never gone away.
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Gene signature could lead to a new way of diagnosing Lyme

Researchers at UC San Francisco and Johns Hopkins may have found a new way to diagnose Lyme disease, based on a distinctive gene "signature" they discovered in white blood cells of patients infected with the tick-borne bacteria. Read More

Rubella virus and birth defects

Amidst the fear surrounding Zika virus, remember that there are over 100,000 children born each year with birth defects caused by infection with rubella virus.

Rubella virus is a member of the Togaviridae family, which also includes chikungunya virus. The genome is a 9.7 kilobase, positive st... Read More

Researchers uncover essential interaction between malaria parasites and liver cells

Scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research recently uncovered a critical piece in the puzzle of how malaria parasites infect their host. The work, recently published in Science Magazine, reveals the details of how the malaria parasite invades its initial target organ, the liver. Wi... Read More

Human handouts could be spreading disease from birds to people

Athens, Ga. - People feeding white ibises at public parks are turning the normally independent birds into beggars, and now researchers at the University of Georgia say it might also be helping spread disease. Read More

Study sheds light on why parasite makes TB infections worse

Scientists have shown how a parasitic worm infection common in the developing world increases susceptibility to tuberculosis. The study demonstrated that treating the parasite reduces lung damage seen in mice that also are infected with tuberculosis, thereby eliminating the vulnerability to tube... Read More

Mismatched expectations most common reason for patients not completing HPV vaccine series

BOSTON-- Conflicting expectations between parents and medical providers about who is responsible for scheduling follow-up appointments is resulting in a failure of young girls completing the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination series, according to a new study led by Boston Medical Center res... Read More


Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise, making it more and more difficult to treat infections. But research suggests that the best defense against harmful bugs could be a healthy population of “good” gut bacteria. Read More

Will you share? Social versus selfish mechanisms affect selective conditions

The previous post mentioned the onset of antibiotic resistance as one of the scarier, if less sensationalist, outbreaks of our time. We generally discuss antibiotic resistance in medically relevant microbes (on this blog and in the news), where resistance means the ability of disease-causing mic... Read More
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