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HIV pandemic's origins located

The HIV pandemic with us today is almost certain to have begun its global spread from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a new study.

An international team, led by Oxford University and University of Leuven scientists, has reconstructed the genet... Read More

TWiM #89: Microbial handoffs

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

Acute flaccid paralysis of unknown etiology in California

In February 2014 I wrote about children in California who developed a poliomyelitis-like paralysis, also called acute flaccid paralysis or AFP. However, the cause of this paralysis was not known. The CDC has released its study of these cases and concludes “The etiology of AFP with anterior myeli... Read More

Manure Fertilizer Increases Antibiotic Resistance

Treating dairy cows and other farm animals with antibiotics and then laying their manure in soil can cause the bacteria in the dirt to grow resistant to the drugs. But a study now suggests that the manure itself could be contributing to resistance, even when it comes from cows that are free of a... Read More

Super-bacteria are growing in space ... and we're the ones breeding them

Manned space missions bring with them a plethora of challenges to keep astronauts alive and healthy, especially on long-duration space missions. Astronauts need to breathe, eat, drink, excrete their food and drink, and be kept free of infections to stay healthy enough to do their job. The key to... Read More

Afraid of EV-D68? Another Deadly Virus Is Actually Killing Kids in U.S.

IIt’s all over the headlines: Enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68) is making kids sick in what appear to be unprecedented numbers. It might be causing paralysis — or maybe not. It may have infected some adults.

But EV-D68 is nothing compared to the viral killer that really concerns Dr. Paul Checchia of ... Read More

Ebola virus enters the United States

Given the extent of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, transport of an infected individual to the US was bound to happen. The case is an adult who had contact with an Ebola virus-infected woman in Liberia, then traveled to Dallas. He had no symptoms before arriving in the US and therefore ... Read More

The incubation period of a viral infection

The time before the symptoms of a viral infection appear is called the incubation period. During this time, viral genomes are replicating and the host is responding, producing cytokines such as interferon that can have global effects, leading to the classical symptoms of an acute infection (e.g.... Read More

Frozen Poop Pills Fight Life-Threatening Infections

Fecal transplants can be life-saving for people with stubborn bacterial infections, but they're not for the faint of heart. So doctors have come up with a way to make them more palatable – the frozen poop pill.

People infected with Clostridium difficile suffer debilitating diarrhea, but the b... Read More

TWiV 304: Given X, solve for EBOV

 The TWiV team consults an epidemiologist to forecast the future scope of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Patterned progression of bacterial populations in the premature infant gut

(Interesting study from PNAS)

It is increasingly apparent that bacteria in the gut are important determinants of health and disease in humans. However, we know remarkably little about how this organ transitions from a sterile/near-sterile state at birth to one that soon harbors a highly dive... Read More

Genetically Engineered Bacteria Could Repair Ships

Shellfish such as mussels and barnacles secrete very sticky proteins that help them cling to rocks or ship hulls, even underwater. Inspired by these natural adhesives, a team of MIT engineers has designed new materials that could be used to repair ships or help heal wounds and surgical incisions... Read More

Bacteria may help treat acne, ulcers

Is it possible that our personal hygiene routines make us too clean? Are we soaping and cleansing away friendly microbes that help preserve skin health? A study presented at the 5th American Society for Microbiology Conference on Beneficial Microbes in Washington, DC, provides food for thought o... Read More

Creative Classroom: The ticks ‘come marching in’ in singing professor’s microbiology class

At the end of a recent “Medical Microbiology” class taught by Dr. Sheldon Campbell, students clapped, cheered heartily, and stomped their feet on the floor. A couple of them even shouted “Encore!”

It’s not quite the reaction one would expect from medical students who just spent 45 minutes lea... Read More

Gut Bacteria Still Get Fed When Hosts Are Too Sick to Eat

For bacteria, the mammalian gut is like Shangri-La. It’s warm and consistently so, sheltered from the environment, and regularly flooded with a nutritious soup. But what happens when this all-you-can-eat buffet stops serving? What happens to microbes if their host stops eating?

When animals f... Read More

A novel roadmap through bacterial genomes leads the way to new drug discovery

For millennia, bacteria and other microbes have engaged in intense battles of chemical warfare, attempting to edge each other out of comfortable ecological niches. Doctors fight pathogens with an arsenal of weapons—antibiotics—co-opted from these microbial wars, but their efforts are frustrated... Read More

White House Fact Sheet: US Takes Actions to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing key Federal departments and agencies to take action to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Administration also released its National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. In addition, the President’s Cou... Read More

Liquid DNA behind virus attacks

Viruses can convert their DNA from solid to fluid form, which explains how viruses manage to eject DNA into the cells of their victims. This has been shown in two new studies carried out by Lund University in Sweden.

Both research studies are about the same discovery made for two different vi... Read More

Studies Examine Vaccination Strategies For Prevention, Control of Avian Flu - press release

Two randomized trials in the October 8 issue of JAMA examine new vaccination strategies for the prevention and control of avian influenza, often referred to as “bird flu.” This is a theme issue on infectious disease.

In one study, Mark J. Mulligan, M.D., of the Emory University School of Medi... Read More

Spain Confirms First Ebola Transmission Outside of Africa

Health authorities in Spain have confirmed that a health worker at the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, Spain has been infected with the Ebola virus. This is the first time anyone has contracted the virus outside of Africa.

The woman, a nurse technician, had worked in the room where two Ebola p... Read More
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