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Posts Tagged "infectious diseases"

Guest Blog

Vilifying Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Kids Is Counterproductive

Credit:  JD Hancock/Flickr

The ongoing measles outbreak in the U.S., which has spread to 14 states, has provoked a rising vilification of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. This vilification is understandable, but it’s also potentially dangerous. Many who are being castigated aren’t changing their minds. Under attack, they are instead defending their choices more fiercely and [...]

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Guest Blog

Why We Need More Scientists in Davos

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/swiss-image.ch/Photo Jolanda Flubacher

Science at the World Economic Forum is about inspiration, solutions and collaboration. First and foremost, leaders come together in Davos to address global challenges such as antibiotic resistance, climate change and understanding the human mind. Science has a critical role to play helping leaders understand why we have these problems, and increasingly leaders are looking [...]

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Guest Blog

The Ebola Outbreak: Hopeful News from the Front Lines

A "Prevent Ebola" bumper sticker commonly seen around Sierra Leone.

The coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by U.S. media has often seemed unremittingly grim. So it was with some trepidation that I boarded a plane for Sierra Leone. I was part of a field assessment team assembled by Project HOPE, the international humanitarian organization. The country’s first lady, Sia Nyama Koroma, invited [...]

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Observations

How Quickly Would Measles Spread If Too Few People Were Vaccinated? [Video]

A vial of the MMR vaccine and needles in a pile

This simulation models what 80 percent vaccination rates of school-age children would look like vs. 95 percent

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Observations

Hepatitis C Now Killing More Americans Than HIV

doctor and patient diagnosis

The number of people who die from HIV-related causes each year in the U.S. is now down to about 12,700—from a peak of more than 50,000 in the mid-1990s—thanks to condom education and distribution campaigns, increased testing and improved treatments. But now a different infectious disease is quietly killing even more people than HIV is: [...]

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Observations

Contagious Cancer: Genome Study Reveals How Tasmanian Devil Cancer Has Spread

tasmanian devil

A killer cancer that is threatening to wipe Tasmanian devils off the map for good has been spreading—from an original infected female 15 years ago—via live cancer cells, according to evidence from genome sequences of the cancer and the animal, published online Thursday in Cell. Finding out how this happened could help save this species [...]

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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

New Map Shows Most Lyme-Infected Ticks Are in the Northeast, Northern Midwest

female blacklegged tick

Lyme disease is notoriously tough to diagnose. The symptoms often don’t appear for one or two weeks after a bite and can vary from feeling flu-ish to longer-term neurological damage. And ticks seem to lie in wait throughout much of the U.S., prepared to pounce and infect a passerby. Part of the difficulty in confirming [...]

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Observations

What Really Happened in Malta This September When Contagious Bird Flu Was First Announced

malta ESWI meeting

A controversy over whether the U.S. government should allow details of a deadly new flu strain to be published in scientific journals has recently caught fire in the media. But I first heard the news of the mutated virus months ago in Malta at the European Scientific Working group on Influenza (ESWI) meeting. The morning [...]

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Observations

Cell Phone Cameras Capture Microscopic Images to Diagnose Malaria and other Diseases

microscope

Smart phone apps can help you check your vision, keep tabs on your blood-glucose levels and track your blood pressure. Earlier this year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration even approved an app that allows doctors to view scans on an iPhone or iPad to help them make diagnoses on the go. But fancy apps [...]

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Observations

Superbugs Now Tracked Globally in Interactive Maps

Map of MRSA in the US

Bacteria easily elude human detection—even those that can make us sick—quietly spreading from person to person, country to country. A recent global spike in bugs that are resistant to common antibiotics, however, has caused many scientists and policymakers to pay closer attention to when and where these infections are occurring. A new collection of updated [...]

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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

Advances in disease surveillance: Putting the “public” into public health

disease surveillance global emerging infectious diseases promed healthmap

MIAMI—Before a government reports a disease outbreak, cases must usually be counted, verified and assessed—a process that can take days, weeks or months. This delay creates a tension, however, as faster responses are the best hope for keeping a local outbreak from becoming an epidemic or even a pandemic. Overall, bureaucratic diligence and even political [...]

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