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Polio-like paralysis in California

Recently a number of children in California have developed a poliomyelitis-like paralysis. The cause of this paralysis is not yet known, and information about the outbreak is scarce. However, acute-flaccid paralysis is not uncommon (California would be expected to report about 75 cases a year, b... Read More

Programmed Cell Death Activates Latent Herpesviruses

Researchers have found that apoptosis, a natural process of programmed cell death, can reactivate latent herpesviruses in the dying cell. The results of their research, which could have broad clinical significance since many cancer chemotherapies cause apoptosis, was published ahead of print in ... Read More

Incidence of asymptomatic human influenza A(H5N1) virus infection

When virologists Fouchier and Kawaoka were isolating avian influenza H5N1 viruses that could transmit among ferrets by aerosol, there was consternation from some quarters that such viruses might escape from the laboratory and cause a pandemic in humans. Part of the fear came from the fact that t... Read More

Interview of Cave Microbiologist, Dr. Naowarat Cheeptham (aka Ann)

Dr. Naowarat Cheeptham, is a famous cave microbiologist. Dr. Cheeptham has been fascinated with the world of biology since she was out catching butterflies as a child with her father in her native country, Thailand. Her interest in microbiology developed while studying at Chiang Mai University ... Read More

Using Routine Surveillance Data to Estimate the Epidemic Potential of Emerging Zoonoses: Application to the Emergence of US Swine Origin Influenza A H3N2v Virus

A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses (those transmissible from animals to humans), according to a study published in PLOS Medicine this week. Dr. Simon Cauchemez and colleagues from Imperial College London in the UK and the Centers for Disease Control ... Read More

Top chefs, artisanal food producers, and microbiologists join forces to explore new tastes and textures

Chefs from top-notch restaurants are reaching out to microbiologists, seeking advice that goes beyond traditional food safety or conventional food-processing concerns. With or without professional scientific advice, some chefs and food producers are doing their own microbiological experiments, s... Read More

Retroviruses R us

About eight percent of human DNA is viral – remnants of ancestral infections with retroviruses. These endogenous retroviral sequences do not produce infectious viruses, and most are considered to be junk DNA. But some of them provide important functions. The protein called syncytin, which is ess... Read More

The neuraminidase of influenza virus

The influenza virus particle is made up of the viral RNA genome wrapped in a lipid membrane (illustrated). The membrane, or envelope, contains three different kinds of viral proteins. The hemagglutinin molecule (HA, blue) attaches to cell receptors and initiates the process of virus entry into c... Read More

Interactive Handwashing Advice

Pharmaceutical experts NSF DBA have created an interactive guide to hand washing.
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Chemistry: A festive ferment

Rare is the holiday meal that does not owe many of its pleasures to invisible cooks with tongue-twisting names. Do you enjoy charcuterie and pickles? Bread with cultured butter? A drizzle of vinaigrette on this or that? A bit of cheese? Some chocolates? Wine, beer or cider? Then raise a glass to... Read More

Treating hepatitis C by blocking a cellular microRNA

Miravirsen is a drug that binds to and blocks the function of a cellular microRNA called miR-122 that is required for the replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Treatment of chimpanzees chronically infected with HCV with this drug leads to suppression of viral replication. The results of a phas... Read More

Under the Microscope and the new science blog network by PopSci

Popular Science has just launched a new science blogging network with 13 blogs. Among them are two that have a focus on microbiology, Under the Microscope by JA Tetro and Our Modern Plague by Brooke Borel. Each blog has an inaugural post that outlines the author's vision for future subject matte... Read More

Poliovirus silently (and not so silently) spreads

Poliovirus has been found in sewage in Israel. The virus detected is not vaccine-derived poliovirus; it is wild-type 1 poliovirus, the strain that occurs naturally in the wild and which the World Health Organization is trying very hard to eradicate from the planet. Read More

Bacteriophage T4 (video)

This is an accurate visualization of the Bacteriophage T4 based on Cryo-EM datasets of the virus. The scope of the animation is to show the infection process of the T4 into an E. coli cell. All scientific data sets and motion based off of research from Michael Rossmann Laboratory (Purdue Univers... Read More

Part of MERS-CoV nucleotide sequence found in a bat

What is wrong with this paragraph from today’s New York Times that describes the origin of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus:

Health officials confirmed Wednesday that bats in Saudi Arabia were the source of the mysterious virus that has sickened 96 people in the Middle ... Read More

A few reminiscences on Hilary Koprowski

Virologist Hilary Koprowski died on 11 April 2013 at the age of 96. His main accomplishments are nicely summarized in the New York Times, but for a more comprehensive overview of his life, I highly recommend his biography Listen to the Music by Roger Vaughan. I did not have many opportunities to... Read More

Discover Your Inner Scientist: Wolbachia In Nashville 2013

A CNN iReport about an integrative lab series known as the Wolbachia in Nashville includes area high school students from School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt with the purpose of bringing real-world scientific research on microbes into high school biology classes. Angela Eeds, director with... Read More

American Academy of Microbiology's new FAQ: West Nile Virus, July 2013

Where does the virus come from? How is it spread? Can we predict when and where outbreaks will occur? What factors determine how sick a person will become if they are infected with West Nile virus?

To help answer the many questions people have about this multi-faceted virus, the American Acad... Read More

De-discovering pathogens: Viral contamination strikes again

Do you remember the retrovirus XMRV, initially implicated as the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, and later shown to be a murine virus that contaminated human cells grown in mice? Another virus thought to be associated with human disease has recently been shown to be a contaminant, derived fro... Read More

Learn "How Microbes can Help Feed the World," by reading the Academy's newest report

In order to feed the growing global population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, agricultural yields will need to increase by 70-100%. However, increasing this yield using current methods is not a viable option. Not only is it environmentally damaging, it is also not economically feas... Read More

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