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Category - infectious-disease
Posted 8/31/20 12:00:00 AM by Emily Pazel

How to Become a Disease Expert

With a global pandemic sweeping the streets, scientists and medical professionals have teamed up together to create and implement safe guidelines for people to take steps to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus. If you have a social media page or listen to the news, you might have noticed that one of the world’s top leading scientists helping implement these strategies in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has a background in infectious diseases, which is a specialization in public health sciences.

So, what makes him qualified enough to help lead the nation through a global pandemic? Have you ever considered going into the field of epidemiology? Although a global pandemic might not be a common occurrence, we may find a rise in students interested in choosing a career path in this field, or more people learning about it to help keep their business open during a time where a virus is easily spreading person to person.


Posted 7/31/20 12:00:00 AM by Emily Pazel

As the spread of the global pandemic continued to touch cities and hometowns all over the United States, busy streets went empty, restaurants went dark and the normal hustle and bustle of thriving cities, such as New York City, declined in a way that we never saw coming. If you live in the state of New York or anywhere near the city, you might have witnessed several changes in your town, including the collapse in the tourism industry, leaving thousands without jobs and many businesses, theaters, sightseeing tours, mass transportation services and other establishments hurting for prosperity and going back to a normal life.

With a hurting economy and social distancing guidelines established for safety precautions making it tough to get back to any kind of “normal” life, how does this affect the future of the industry going forward? Is there any hope of seeing large crowds gathering for a parade or celebration? What about all the daily sightseeing tours that bring


Posted 7/23/20 12:00:00 AM by Emily Pazel

Were you ever worried as a young child that your classmate had “cooties” and he or she could pass them onto you by giving you a hug or touching your hand? Although “cooties” is a made-up, fictitious way of describing imaginary childhood germs, it’s a concept that we learn as young children about keeping our hands to ourselves to slow the spread of germs around us.

Unfortunately, for all the germaphobes out there, germs are everywhere. And when we say everywhere, that’s exactly what we mean – they are in the air, on food, plants and animals, in the soil and water and just about every surface, including your own body. The good news, however, is that most germs can’t harm you because your immune system does a great job of fighting them off and protecting you against most infectious agents. However, there are some occurrences where germs can get tricky and mutate into something your body can’t handle, which can cause you to


Posted 12/23/19 12:00:00 AM by Emily Pazel

It’s that time of year again when people walk around sneezing and spreading their germs all over the place, unintentionally. And sometimes, those germs contain powerful strains of a flu virus, which if left unprotected, can be deadly. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a recent report showing that at least 1,300 people have died from the flu so far this season. 

Another key point that the CDC has released regarding this flu season is that type of flu strain that’s spreading is the influenza B/Victoria virus, which is unusual for this time of the year. Typically, the specific type of virus making its way around the streets i


Posted 8/29/19 12:00:00 AM by Emily Pazel

Your teeth are unique to you. So unique, in fact, that no two people’s teeth are the same – even for identical twins. For years, detectives have been able to use dental records to occasionally identify human remains due to this fact. 

An important part of being an adult and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is taking care of your pearly whites. After all, once you lose your baby teeth, you only have one set of permanent teeth to last an entire lifetime, so it’s important to keep them as healthy as possible. Plus, who actually likes getting their teeth drilled into for cavities and other procedures? It’s better to just nip it in the bud and take care of your teeth on a daily basis, the right way. 

National Dental Hygiene Month is celebrated in October, which means that before you get too deep into all the candy corn and pumpkin spice lattes, remember that taking care of your teeth is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Let


Posted 7/31/19 12:00:00 AM by Emily Pazel

Humans aren’t the only ones enjoying the long, hot summer days. Around this time of the year, mosquitoes are in full bloom – breeding, flying around and spreading deadly diseases around the world. 

Although mosquitoes are relatively small insects, they are one of the most deadliest animals on the plant, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Every year, they carry and manage to spread diseases to humans, causing millions of deaths around the world. In 2015, WHO stated that an estimated 438,000 people died from malaria alone, and that more life-threatening diseases such as Zika, West Nile vir


Posted 5/28/19 12:00:00 AM by Emily Pazel

The measles outbreak happening in the United States has seen the highest number of cases reported since 1994, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Since the beginning of this year, over 700 individual cases throughout 22 different states have been confirmed through the CDC.

Although measles was declared eliminated in 2000, the contagious disease has made its way back into the system and has been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.

Posted 1/31/19 12:00:00 AM by Sandy Thompson

What is it :

Candida auris (C. auris) is a species of fungus that grows as yeast. It causes serious infections and is the leading cause of candidemia (candida infection of the bloodstream). C. auris is multidrug-resistant and has caused serious outbreaks in several countries.  Due to its difficulty to identify and treat, C. auris has quickly become one of 2019 most concerning infectious diseases and presents a serious global health threat.

Where did it come from:

C. auris was first described as a pathogen in 2009 in Japan, when it was isolated from a patient with an ear infection. Retrospective review of Can


Posted 8/21/18 12:00:00 AM by Sandy Thompson

Over the last year, talk about a possible smallpox re-emergence has been spreading. We will take a deeper look into this historic disease and try to determine why there is a growing concern, how can it affect us all and what can we do to protect ourselves?

“Smallpox was eradicated in 1980 but in 2017, Canadian scientists created a smallpox-like virus in a lab using just mail-order DNA” said UNSW Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology Raina MacIntyre. “In 2018, these same scientists published a step-by-step method to create a pox virus in a lab, making the threat of smallpox re-emergence even greater.”

Why is this so alarming? The only remaining stockpiles of the actual smallpox virus is heavily guarded, but with this scientific breakthrough in creating a smallpox-like virus with


Posted 6/29/18 12:00:00 AM by Sandy Thompson

Baby boomers are individuals born between 1945 and 1965 and currently the largest living adult generation. Based on the 2016 U.S. population ranking by age, there are approximately 74.1 million baby boomers in the United States and they have the highest incidences of hepatitis C infections.

With such a large population, combined with previous unsafe medical procedures, baby boomers are 5 times more likely to have hepatitis C than any other adult. Out of the more than three million people living with hepatitis C, three out of every four are baby boomers.  

According to the CDC, most baby boom


Posted 5/22/18 12:00:00 AM by Sandy Thompson

With the danger of uncontrollable bacterial infections increasing globally, a revitalized look at how bacteriophage can aid us in battling antibiotic-resistant infections is a promising alternative.

What is Bacteriophage?

Bacteriophage , or “phage” for short is a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria. There are more phage on earth than bacteria and are considered the “ Deadliest being on Planet Earth ”. Although they are lethal, they are specialized to particular bacteria in which they kill.

Phages can infect their bacteria host in two wa


Posted 4/12/16 12:00:00 AM by Kristal Roberts

The list of neurological threats related to Zika appears to be growing after a recent study concluded that the mosquito-born illness can cause a new autoimmune disease that attacks the brain and the spinal cord.

The condition is Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), and it shares certain similarities with multiple sclerosis.

The study, led by Dr. Maria Lucia Brito Ferreira at Restoration Hospital in Recife, Brazil, had 151 patients who visited the hospital from December 2014 to June 2015.

All of these patients were infected with arboviruses, which is the family of viruses that include Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya. Six of those patients had Zika and developed symptoms consistent with autoimmune disorders. These six patients suffered from fevers and rashes, both of which are Zika related symptoms. Some patients also suffered from joint pain and r


Posted 12/1/15 12:00:00 AM by Kristal Roberts

The latest global report on HIV-AIDS shows promising trends in controlling the epidemic, but some hurdles remain in improving access to life-saving treatments

A new report from UNAIDS in advance of World AIDS Day shows some impressive progress in the fight against HIV. There were 2 million new HIV infections around the world in 2014–15, the lowest since 2000, when 3.1 million people worldwide were diagnosed with HIV. Deaths from AIDS, the last stages of HIV infection, are also coming down, from a high of 2 million in the early 2000s to 1.2 million this year.

Much of that can be attributed to improved access to life-saving treatments with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). UNAIDS says that 41% of people who are HIV positive are now being treated, nearly double the percentage in 2010. (Meanwhile, in the U.S., drugs that can prevent the transmission of HIV are proving successful, even in high-risk groups.)

While infections in sub-Saharan Africa remain


Posted 10/22/15 12:00:00 AM by Kristal Roberts

For the past several years, the medical community has warned about the dangers of superbugs, which are potentially deadly strains of bacteria that no longer respond to antibiotics as treatment.

Well the proof is in the pudding---American scientists claims that a 30 percent decline in the efficacy of antibiotics may be responsible for some 6,000 deaths each year.

The team of scientists, lead by Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington, D.C., also set out to discover what would happen if antibiotic resistance increased by a third (which it’s apparently on track do).

The researchers focused particularly on pat


Posted 5/12/15 12:00:00 AM by Kristal Roberts

A U.S. doctor who thought he was cured of Ebola learned that wasn’t entirely true after his eye turned from blue to green and he nearly went blind.

Dr. Ian Crozier contracted the disease while treating other patients in Sierra Leone back in October 2014.  

After a long, draining bout with Ebola, Crozier’s medical team at Emory University Hospital declared him cured and released him.

However, in less than two months he returned to the hospital with fading sight, pain and pressure in his left eye. To make matters worse, his eye color turned from blue to green.

What doctors found was alarming---his


Posted 2/3/15 12:00:00 AM by Kristal Roberts

A disease that was practically non-existent in the United States took the nation by surprise last year when a reported 644 measles cases popped up. As the medical community tried to pin down the origins of this outbreak, the anti-vaccine camp (including comedian/actress Jenny McCarthy, who publicly speaks out against them, tying vaccines to autism) was identified as a possible connection to sudden surge in measles. 

McCarthy, along with many others believe vaccines are dangerous and are a part of a movement that encourages parents to not vaccinate their children, which may be allowing the disease to spread more easily. 

Disneyland in Orange County, California was dubbed ground zero for the most recent outbreak.

However, a recent Vox.com article traces the beginning of the recent American measles surge to an Amish missionary worker’s travels in the Philippines.

The unnamed missionary worker, dubbed patient zero, travelled from O


Posted 4/16/14 12:00:00 AM by Norlyn Golez

A drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis is spreading at an alarming rate, posing a risk that the world has never faced, according to Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

TB is branded one of the most lethal diseases by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It kills around 1.3 million out of the 8 million people that it infects.

The disease is spread from one person to another when an actively infected person sneezes or coughs and the airborne bacteria are inhaled by another person. It attacks the lungs, mostly as well as other vital organs. The symptoms, include persistent coughing, weight loss, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

Standard TB can be cured, but the lack of appropriate response globally has now led to the development of a drug-resistant strain.

In fact, a journal from TheLancet.com showed that some people in South Africa have incurable TB but are still released to the communi


Posted 4/11/14 12:00:00 AM by Norlyn Golez

In the case of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other deadly diseases, detection is always the key in preventing its spread. It also helps find the most potent treatments available. The current detection methods can be prohibitively costly. However some researchers have discovered a detection method that uses common shrink wrap, which could provide an effective yet affordable detection method of these infectious diseases.

This nanotechnology method, which is the subject of a paper published in the journal Optical Materials Express, can enhance the fluorescent markers during biosensing with the use of certain metals placed onto shrink wrap.

The accessibility and affordability of shrink wrap opens develop low-cost nanostructures that have the ability to enhance fluorescence a thousand times more so even in the lowest limits. This is according to the paper’s co-author Michelle Khine, a University of California, Irvine biomedica


Posted 3/28/14 12:00:00 AM by Norlyn Golez

When some people say that they prefer to recover at home rather than in the hospital to avoid getting sicker than ever, they’re probably right. That’s because your expectations of a sterile room for new patients when you first come in may not be met. There are pathogens on the surfaces of the hospital room that are not easily removed even with the use of the strongest cleaning and disinfection techniques and chemicals. They are usually pathogens that cause healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

HAIs are actually among the largest culprits in patient mortality and morbidity. These pathogens often come from the patient’s endogenous flora, although studies have estimated that around 20% to 40% of these HAIs are actually from the healthcare personnel’s contaminated hands as they got in contact with contaminated hospital surfaces or patients. Various researches have supported that environmental contamination does aid in the easy transfer of Vancomyn-re


Posted 3/14/14 12:00:00 AM by Norlyn Golez
Veterinarian treating a cow

The world has so far successfully controlled outbreaks of infectious diseases, but it seems like there’s no stopping the emergence of new microbes. Unfortunately, they’re not only affecting humans and animals, but the wildlife ecosystems as well.

The ecosystem has grown vulnerable to such attacks because of repeated human interventions. Large scale and accelerated production of livestock, the fast paced trade and global travel of both pet animals and domestic livestock, and our increasing disruption of ecosystems are all contributing factors. As a result, new breeds of zoonotic pathogens have emerged.

Aside from affecting human health, these new pathogens have also wreaked havoc on the social, economic, and even political aspects of various countries. Just look back to what happened in the world during the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which cost the global economy around $42 billion, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS),