Preparing for the Summer of Zika Virus

Are you curious about your risk of contracting Zika virus this summer?  The figure above is from a brand new study1 on the projected spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main Zika virus “vector”2. Based on meteorological models, mosquito-breeding patterns, air travel and socioeconomic status, the study compares the January, 2016 abundance of the

Avoiding MRSA at the Gym

A healthy workout in the gym should leave you with a feeling of well-being and nothing worse than a duffle bag full of sweaty clothes.  It should not leave you with a MRSA skin infection. What is MRSA? MRSA, or “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus,” is a type of staph bacteria that is, according to the US

Zika Virus: On the Move

The Zika virus, a flavivirus1, is spreading “explosively” through several Latin American and Caribbean countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), prompting that group to declare an international health emergency which, according to the BBC “…means research and aid will be fast-tracked to tackle the infection.”  The virus is transmitted through the bite of

Preventing RSV

What is RSV? RSV is “Respiratory Syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) Virus,” a virus that affects the lungs and breathing passages.  In healthy people, an RSV infection resembles a cold (colds are caused by rhinoviruses, another type of virus), but the very young and the very old[1] and those with weakened immune systems may develop more serious symptoms. 

When Fresh Ingredients Make Consumers Sick

Over 140 Boston College students were sickened recently after eating at a Chipotle restaurant near the Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts campus.  The culprit:  norovirus, the most common cause of foodborne illness in the US.  The norovirus outbreak comes on the heels of a multistate outbreak of E. coli associated with Chipotle that made 52 people sick

Responding to Dengue Fever

In the wake of recent monsoons and flooding, mosquito-borne dengue fever is once again on the rise in the Asia Pacific Region.  According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), worldwide, dengue fever cases number over 50 million annually.  The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates1 that globally 2.5 billion people, over one-third of

US Shigella Infections: “A Troubling Trend”

A dramatic increase in the number of recent cases of shigellosis is being recorded in certain areas of the US, including Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and northern Kentucky. Shigellosis, also known as “bacillary dysentery” is an acute infection of the intestine caused by Shigella bacteria1. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within

West Nile Virus: A Seasonal Epidemic in North America

This summer North America is once again experiencing a “seasonal epidemic” of West Nile virus that is expected to last through the fall.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the mosquito-borne virus has been reported in 42 US states as of August 11, 2015.  Fortunately, most people who are infected

Legionella Outbreak in the Bronx

Cooling towers on building roof tops are believed to be the breeding grounds of bacteria responsible for a summer outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in New York City.  The outbreak began on July 10.  As of August 13, twelve deaths and 119 cases of illness have been attributed to the disease, which is caused by Legionella

A Fresh Look at C. Diff Infection in the US

Bacterial superbug “C. diff” infected nearly one-half million people in the US in 2011, causing inflammation of the colon and potentially deadly diarrhea. The infection killed over 15,000, but was found associated with an estimated 29,000 deaths1, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.2   The director of the Centers