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May 2009

Salmonella: Was It the Tomatoes or the Jalapenos?

By Herbert Ridings, MA, PA-C, and John W. Baddley, MD, MSPH
During this past spring and summer, the public and the CDC exhibited a great deal of concern about an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Saintpaul that involved more than 1,400 individuals in 42 states, caused more than 200 hospitalizations and contributed to the death of at least two people. Much of the focus of the CDC investigation involved identifying the source of the outbreak, which eventually was identified as jalapeño peppers from Mexico.

The antibiotic challenge: Changing Clinical Management of Infections

Resistance is one of many reasons why antibiotic therapy can be ineffective. Efforts to forestall further development of antimicrobial resistance include judicial prescribing of antibiotics, implementing infection-control measures, and developing institutional stewardship of antimicrobial agents. This article, the third and final in a series on antibiotic resistance, discusses selected common infections that have changing epidemiology and/or for which the recommended evaluation and treatment guidelines have been updated.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most frequently diagnosed bacterial infection among community-living women. In the United States, UTIs account for approximately 8 million medical visits per year. Acute cystitis is considered uncomplicated when a symptomatic infection occurs in an otherwise healthy, nonpregnant adult female. Escherichia coli is the causative organism in 80% to 85% of cases of acute cystitis; the causative organisms in the remaining cases are Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Proteus mirabilis.

Pig Flu Update : More Questions About Factory Farms

Since its identification during the Great Depression, H1N1 swine flu had only drifted slightly from its original genome. Then in 1998 a highly pathogenic strain began to decimate sows on a farm in North Carolina and new, more virulent versions began to appear almost yearly, including a variant of H1N1 that contained the internal genes of H3N2 (the other type-A flu circulating among humans).

What caused this acceleration of swine flu evolution? Virologists have long believed that the intensive agricultural system of southern China is the principal engine of influenza mutation: both seasonal "drift" and episodic genomic "shift". But the corporate industrialization of livestock production has broken China's natural monopoly on influenza evolution. Animal husbandry in recent decades has been transformed into something that more closely resembles the petrochemical industry than the happy family farm depicted in school readers.

NASA mission sends germs into space !

By Michael Torrice / San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Millions of microbe astronauts will travel into space Tuesday aboard a NASA satellite.

These germs are part of a mission led by the NASA Ames Research Center at California’s Moffett Field to study how floating in space alters a medication’s effectiveness.

On earth, doctors prescribe drugs to cure infections caused by microbes such as bacteria and yeast. The NASA team’s goal is to understand how these germs respond to treatment in outer space.

Previous space experiments have suggested greater amounts of drugs are needed to kill microbes aboard an orbiting spacecraft, said mission manager Bruce Yost.

Yost and his team will measure the extent of these microbes’ resistance to drugs on a new satellite called PharmaSat.

Personalities - Dr.Fred C. Tenover - from Theology to Infectious Disease Research

Job Under the Microscope


Fred C. Tenover turned an early love of science into a successful microbiology career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He published 290 papers and became a noted specialist in drug resistant bacteria and moved into the private sector in 2008. Now 54, Dr. Tenover works at Cepheid, a molecular diagnostics company in Sunnyvale, Calif., where he's developing early warning tools to detect antibiotic resistant diseases.

The discovery of miraculous cures owes much to freedom and chance

Sam Lister: commentary

Thinking outside the box is a British scientific tradition that is well established in the field of infectious disease. When Edward Jenner, the Gloucestershire doctor and vaccination pioneer, decided to inject pus from a cowpox pustule into the arm of a small boy in 1796, he was ridiculed and condemned for repulsive and ungodly practices.

UB Receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Innovative Global Health Research

Release Date: May 4, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo announced today that it has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Anders Hakansson, Ph.D., UB assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, titled "HAMLET, a non-resistance-inducing bactericidal human milk protein."

Hakansson's project is one of 81 grants announced by the Gates Foundation in the second funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations (, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. The grants were provided to scientists in 17 countries on six continents.

Israeli Discovers Antibiotic Can Repair Genetic Disease

Reported: 12:48 PM - Apr/29/09

( New groundbreaking research from Israel shows that a common antibiotic has the power to repair genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis, cancer and muscular dystrophy. The Israeli team headed by Prof. Timor Baasov of the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, has modified a common, nontoxic antibiotic to fix "nonsense" mutations which occur in genetic diseases and cause the creation of incomplete and non-functional proteins.

Preparedness Against Swine Flu Outbreak

Officials are better prepared for this outbreak of swine flu

They've learned from past mistakes and have plans in place

By Meredith Cohn |

May 4, 2009

In 1976, 13 soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey were sickened by swine flu and one died. Fearful of a pandemic similar to one in 1918 that killed 40 million people, President Gerald Ford ordered vaccinations for every American.

But the government was not prepared for what happened next.

Preparedness Against Viral Pandemic - Public Health System Lags


Federal funds that put Dallas County's flu response in place may not keep coming in

03:39 PM CDT on Sunday, May 3, 2009

By RANDY LEE LOFTIS and SCOTT FARWELL / The Dallas Morning News