We live in an age in which scientists regularly reveal remarkable details of the inner workings of the human body. Recently, a group of German researchers shed new light on the composition of the “antibacterial cocktail” that our immune systems concoct to fight off infection.1 The scientists demonstrated that the active chemical in that cocktail
A University of Chicago research team has identified the critical factors that affect the annual spread of the flu across America. In their new study, the researchers compare the spread of seasonal flu to the spread of a wildfire, identifying the “spark,” “dry tinder” and “wind” required to disperse the illness from place to place.
Unless you grow all of your own food, you’re probably a regular at the neighborhood supermarket. I appreciate that many supermarkets are taking strategic steps to ensure the freshness and safe handling of foods and making food safety a priority. For example, I’m a big fan of those disinfecting wipes provided at the entrances to
Dogs Can Get the Flu As if this flu season hasn’t been enough of a trial for humans, now there is news that some of our four-legged best friends are contracting “canine influenza,” aka “dog flu.” The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that two strains of canine influenza virus, H3N8 and H3N2, have been
There is an unwelcome visitor at the winter games, despised in all of the venues: the norovirus has arrived. This potential microbial game changer is already responsible for 261 confirmed cases of illness (as of February 16, 2018) in a norovirus outbreak that evidently began with security guards in PyeongChang and has spread to athletes.
As the seasonal flu spreads across the country, a new study demonstrates that flu can be transmitted from person to person by simple breathing. Researchers have concluded that inhaling the exhaled breath of an infected individual may be all it takes to spread the flu virus. Coughing and sneezing are not required. This finding lends
Scanning electron microscope image showing clumps of MRSA bacteriaPhoto courtesy of CDC and Janice Haney Car and Jeff Hageman, M.H.S Participating in team sports is both fun and healthy exercise, but a bacterial MRSA infection among players can signal a losing season. Now, new research traces one potential path of MRSA bacteria through an endless
What is C. diff? Medical illustration of Clostridium difficile Image from CDC website Clostridium difficile bacteria, aka “C. diff,” is one of the notorious antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that afflict modern healthcare facilities. Nearly half a million C. diff infections (CDI) were reported in 2011, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As we begin the New Year, flu is spreading in the US. The map below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website shows the current geographic distribution of flu. Media coverage of this phenomenon, and unfortunately, our own experience with flu, lead many to ask, “What is flu, and how does it spread?”
As we gather to celebrate the holidays, the “gifts” we least hope to share are the unseen pathogens that cause colds, flu and other illnesses. Holiday gatherings are prime venues for gift-exchange and, unfortunately, pathogen-exchange.