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Infectious personalities

Chances are your friends are more popular than you are. It is a basic feature of social networks that has been known about for some time. Consider both an avid cocktail party hostess with hundreds of acquaintances and a grumpy misanthrope, who may have one or two friends. Statistically speaking,... Read More

East Coast mumps outbreak may be spreading to L.A.

A mumps outbreak on the East Coast — the largest in the United States in four years — may be spreading to Los Angeles County.

Nine cases of mumps have been reported so far this year, two more than were seen in all of 2009, according to county health officer Jonathan Fielding.

There is also... Read More

Over 5,000 pox-infected goats culled in Taiwan goat pox virus outbreak

The spread of goat pox virus (GPV) on goat ranches in Taiwan has yet to subside, with more than 5,000 infected goats having been culled since the first case this year was confirmed on April 9, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said Sunday. A total of 5,055 pox-infected goats from 32 goat farms in... Read More

Novel Pouch Could Reduce Mother-to-Infant HIV Infection

By using medications packaged just like fast-food ketchup, HIV-positive mothers in developing countries can more easily provide protection to newborn babies born at home.

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have developed an inexpensive and easy-to-use system that allows mothers to give t... Read More

California Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination

Montclair Meat Co., Inc., a Montclair, Calif., establishment is recalling approximately 53,000 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The products subject to ... Read More

U.S. has 71 million unused flu vaccine doses

The United States still has 71 million doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine that have not been used, but it is not yet time to throw them out, the federal government said on Monday. States and other providers should hang on to the vaccine and continue to offer them to people until drug companies can ... Read More

Soda fountains contaminated with fecal bacteria

The soda that comes out of fountain machines in restaurants may be widely contaminated with fecal bacteria, according to a study conducted by researchers from Hollins University and published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Researchers tested 30 different self-serve and beh... Read More

Interview with Tom Shenk about mBio, ASM's new open access journal

Tom Shenk is not only ASM’s Publications Board Chairman and a Princeton Professor, he’s also an instigator and a mastermind (in the well-intentioned and insightful senses of the words). After all, he was one of the original forces behind starting up mBio and his ideas and work continue to drive ... Read More

Revealing the Metabolic Activity of Microbial Communities: New Method for Tracing Carbon Flux

Microbial communities are performing important functions all around us -- from the earth in our flowerpots to the human gut. Now researchers have developed a method for studying the metabolic functions of microbial communities in detail. It is now possible for the first time, thanks to a new alg... Read More

Surveillance reports show few pandemic flu hot spots

Low levels of flu activity across the United States resemble a summer pattern, while globally only sporadic pandemic flu activity is occurring with the most active areas in parts of the Caribbean and Central America, according to updates today.

For the fourth week in a row no US states report... Read More

Faster, stronger, deadlier: the MRSA superbug

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- or MRSA for short -- is the subject of journalist Maryn McKenna's new book Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA (Free Press, March 2010). She spoke with Reuters Health on Thursday about the bacteria's toll on public health and how we may, unwittingly,... Read More

Personal Bacteria Lurk Behind Some Bad Breath

If you brush, you floss, and your breath still stinks like a steam vent, it could be from last night's garlic-onion-anchovy pizza or, perhaps, from a medical problem.

Or maybe, new research suggests, you happen to be colonized with an especially foul-smelling mix of mouth bacteria.

Yoshih... Read More

Emergence of Fungal Plant Diseases Linked to Ecological Speciation

A new commentary on the nature of pathogens is raising startling new questions about the role that fundamental science research on evolution plays in the understanding of emerging disease.

Ecological speciation, and specifically speciation that occurs when a subset of a population shifts onto... Read More

Scientists ID bacterial genes that improve plant growth

You might think bacteria that “invade” trees are there to cause certain destruction. But like the helpful bacteria that live within our guts, some microbes help plants thrive. To find out what makes these microbe-plant interactions “tick,” scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Broo... Read More

The Proof Is in the Proteins: Test Supports Universal Common Ancestor for All Life

Earth's first life-form, floating in the proverbial froth of the primordial seas that eventually gave rise to trees, bees and humans, is not just a popular Darwinian conceit but also an essential biological premise that many researchers rely on as part of the foundation of their work.

In the ... Read More

FDA has questions about DNA testing kit, so Walgreens backs off on selling it

Bad news for those of you eager to buy a DNA testing kit at Walgreens: The drug store chain has put off plans to carry the controversial product in its stores.

It turns out the Food and Drug Administration has some questions for the kit's manufacturer, San Diego-based Pathway Genomics. Accord... Read More

Pumpkin Butter and Sweet Potato Butter Recalled For Botulism

It was announced today that Ohio company, Amish Wedding Foods, Inc., is recalling all lots of 9, 16, and 18-ounce pumpkin butter, and 16 and 18-ounce sweet potato butter due to possible botulism contamination. Thus far no illness have been reported.

The pumpkin and sweet potato butters were ... Read More

Fungi Take A Bite Out Of BPA

Bisphenol A. Also called BPA, it’s used to make shatter-proof plastic known as polycarbonate, found in everything from water bottles to medical devices to the lining of food packaging. As much as 2.7 million tons of plastics are manufactured each year with BPA. But – it’s also an endocrine disru... Read More

Extraterrestrial life right here on Earth?

Paul Davies, of Arizona State University, has a provocative article in The New York Times (14 May 2010) on the quest for alternative life, "Life 2.0," in hidden or unexplored niches on Earth. Such life might substitute arsenic for phosphorus, or might be based on reverse handedness of molecules.... Read More

Recombination between cellular and viral RNA produces a pathogenic virus

Bovine viral diarrhea virus is an economically important animal pathogen that may cause a fatal gastrointestinal disease in beef and dairy herds. Infection of a fetus with this virus during the first trimester leads to the birth of animals that are persistently infected for life. Some animals re... Read More

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