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Posts Tagged "infection"

Extinction Countdown

Parasites that Cause Chagas Disease in Humans May Also Be Killing Tiny Australian Marsupials

woylies

Why are the woylies all dying? Since 2001 the populations of these tiny Australian marsupials have mysteriously crashed by as much as 90 percent. The species, which had already been driven to near-extinction in the early 20th century, had been on the path to recovery after successful conservation efforts protected them from foxes and other [...]

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Observations

Breath Test Could Sniff Out Infections in Minutes

breath test to detect lung infection

Bacteria hiding in the lungs might not be able to hide much longer. Although traditional tests can take days or weeks to culture to determine the presence of certain harmful bacteria—such as those that cause tuberculosis—a much more rapid technique for detecting lung infections might be on the horizon. Researchers have developed a test that [...]

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Observations

Growth Factor: How Bacterial Infections Persist through Antibiotics [Video]

bacteria persists with antibiotics by growing

Some strains of nasty bacterial infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), come loaded with resistance to antibiotics built right into their genes. But certain infections seem to acquire an ability to persist in the face of drugs that should knock them out—without developing the genetic hallmarks of antibiotic resistance. For decades, researchers have thought [...]

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Observations

Real-Time Genetics Could Squash “Superbug” Outbreaks before They Spread

track superbug outbreak real time genetic sequence

Genetic sequences of drug-resistant bacteria have helped scientists better understand how these dastardly infections evolve—and elude treatment. But these superbugs are still claiming lives of many who acquire them in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. And recent outbreaks of these hard-to-treat infections can spread easily in healthcare settings. Researchers might soon be able to track [...]

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Observations

A Simple Way to Reduce the Excess of Antibiotics Prescribed to Kids

inappropriate antibiotic rx children

Antibiotics have been a boon to modern pediatric medicine—transforming many previously fatal childhood ailments into mere inconveniences. But these revolutionary treatments are not a cure-all. In fact, many common pediatric illnesses, including many ear and respiratory infections, fail to respond to antibiotics. And over-prescription of these meds—especially broad-spectrum antibiotics—is not only costly; it can also [...]

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Observations

Can a Burst of UV Bust Hospital-Borne Infections?

UV light hospital-acquired infections

About 1.7 million Americans each year acquire new infections during hospital stays—and hospital-acquired infections are one of the top five causes of death overall, killing 44,000 to 98,000 people in the U.S. each year. Nasty Clostridium difficile can lurk on door handles and other surfaces, leading to severe intestinal distress; Acinetobacter can also survive in [...]

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Observations

Ebola-Like Disease Has Snakes Tied Up in Knots

python ebola virus

In 2009, some of the snakes at the California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium were acting sort of s-s-s-s-strange. Scientists suspected a sickness whose cause was mysterious. Now researchers think they’ve found an unlikely origin, as they watch the disease play out in strange and terrible fashion. “Some of the symptoms are pretty bizarre,” said [...]

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Observations

Men’s Offices Harbor More Bacteria Than Women’s

office bacteria dirtier men new york

What is the dirtiest thing on your desk? If you work in a typical office, it’s not actually your computer mouse or your keyboard or even your desk. According to a new study, published online May 30 in PLoS ONE, it’s your phone—but your chair’s not far behind. Before you drop that receiver or leap [...]

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Observations

Anthrax Toxicity Depends on Human Genetics

anthrax

The white powder that arrived in envelopes addressed to lawmakers and journalists in 2001 proved to be a deadly delivery for several people. The lethal substance—spores commonly known as Anthrax (from the bacterium Bactillus anthracis)—can cause a toxic reaction in a host’s blood stream, killing cells and leading to tissue damage,  bleeding and death. But [...]

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Observations

Contagion Spreads Truths about Bioterrorism

Gwyneth Paltrow as Beth Emhoff in Contagion

NEW YORK—Just as a true outbreak might, the new viral thriller Contagion, opening this weekend, begins unremarkably enough. A simple cough, heard against a black screen. This is no ordinary hack, of course. Aside from coming from the lovely, if peaked, Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) passing time at a Chicago O’Hare airport bar, this cough [...]

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Observations

Supersize Spores Make Fungal Infections More Deadly, Possibly Explaining Victims in Missouri

fungal spore size infection

This season’s tornado outbreak in the U.S. left some unusual casualties in its wake. At least three people have reportedly died from a virulent fungal infection and several more remain infected following the storms that struck Missouri last month. Such severe fungal infections are rare but can be fatal if allowed to spread throughout the [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopus Eggs Need Helpful Bacteria to Stay Healthy, Too

We’re just learning how important certain microbes can be to our own health. They can help us digest foods and protect us from harmful invaders. New research suggests that certain bacteria are also crucial for octopuses—especially when they’re just starting out. The findings were published online in Aquaculture Research earlier this month. A team of [...]

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