This sponsored collection of nine new articles, includes four reviews and five research articles, published in PLoS Medicine and PLoS ONE, in conjunction with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The collection highlights how scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention in eastern and southern Africa can help prevent HIV, not only at individual but also at community and population level, as well as leading to substantial cost savings for countries as a result of averted treatment and care costs.
A test to show whether wounds or lesions have been infected with bacteria including MRSA has been developed by Edinburgh University scientists. It works by taking swabs from a wound or sores, which are then analysed using a strip with electrical sensors that can detect MRSA. It is hoped the tests will allow almost immediate detection of the bacteria.
Viruses that can target and destroy bacteria have the potential to be an effective strategy for tackling hard-to-treat bacterial infections. The development of such novel therapies is being accelerated in response to growing antibiotic resistance, says Dr David Harper at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin.
Provisional figures released today by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show there were 9,042 new cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the UK in 2011. Compared to provisional numbers reported in 2010 (8,587), this is a five per cent increase.
Large quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria enter the environment via municipal -- and especially hospital -- wastewater streams. Although wastewater treatment plants reduce the total number of bacteria, the most hazardous -- multiresistant -- strains appear to withstand or even to be promoted by treatment processes.
WHO has just published a new report (“The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance - Options for action”) that sets out a global strategy for fighting antibiotic resistance. It explores how over past decades, bacteria that cause common infections have gradually developed resistance to each new antibiotic developed, and how AMR has evolved to become a worldwide health threat. In particular, the report highlights that there is currently a lack of new antibiotics in development and outlines some of the measures needed to prevent a potential global crisis in healthcare.
The incidence of HIV/AIDS among intravenous drug users in central Athens soared by 1,250% in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period the previous year, according to the head of Médecins sans Frontières Greece, while malaria is becoming endemic in the south for the first time since the rule of the colonels.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine has the first evidence that an Epstein Barr-like virus can infect and may also be responsible for causing lymphomas in man’s best friend.
Fat-eating bacteria are being put into Hull's sewers to try to get rid of fat blockages. Yorkshire Water said it was targeting seven locations across the city where there were build-ups of fat deposits. The firm is deploying "organically grown bacillus bacteria, which is commonly found in the human gut", to eat the fat, oils and grease. (???)
Researchers have identified a human chromosome containing a specific gene associated with susceptibility to herpes simplex labialis (HSL), the common cold sore. The gene C21ORF91 encodes a cytoplasmic protein with currently unknown function. Cold sores occur when the herpes virus reactivates from its quiescent state within the nerve, infecting the lip, nose, or face.
DNA sequencing technology has been improving by leaps and bounds in recent years, with several techniques vying for supremacy. Now an upstart technology, called nanopore sequencing, looks ready to jump to the front of the pack. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that they can continuously read the chemical letters DNA as it travels through a tiny pore, paving the way for a new kind of sequencing machine that decodes DNA much like an announcer reading a ticker tape. The advance might drop the cost of sequencing a complete human genome below $1000, which is expected to revolutionize personalized medicine and help usher in a new era of genetic-based diagnostics and medicines.
A new study suggests early exposure to microbes is essential for normal immune development, supporting the so-called “hygiene hypothesis” which states that lack of such exposure leads to an increased risk of autoimmune diseases. Specifically, the study found that early-life microbe exposure decreases the number of inflammatory immune cells in the lungs and colon, lowering susceptibility to asthma and inflammatory bowel diseases later in life. The finding, published in Science, may help explain why there has been a rise in autoimmune diseases in sterile, antibiotic-saturated developed countries.
Microbial exposure during early life has persistent effects on natural killer T cell function, Science, doi:10.1126/science.1219328, 2012.
An anti-polio vaccine, being used in India since 1978, could be shelved soon.
The India Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on polio has recommended that the nation should stop the use of trivalent oral polio vaccine (TOPV), and only rely on the oral bivalent variant.
Experts say chances of vaccine derived polio virus infection (VDPV) are higher with the use of TOPV (that targets all three strains of polio virus - P1, P2 and P3) against the bivalent vaccine (that targets only P1 and P3).
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) will take a final call in April after the meeting of its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization.
Makes sense: if you have no polio, using a live vaccine that is associated with reversion to virulence is not smart.
The northeastern USA should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter. What do acorns have to do with illness? Acorn crops vary from year-to-year, with boom-and-bust cycles influencing the winter survival and breeding success of white-footed mice. These small mammals pack a one-two punch: they are preferred hosts for black-legged ticks and they are very effective at transmitting Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. We had a boom in acorns, followed by a boom in mice. And now, on the heels of one of the smallest acorn crops we've ever seen, the mouse population is crashing. This spring, there will be a lot of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of finding a white-footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals - like us.
The form of trypanosomiasis seen in eastern and southeasthern Africa (rhodesiense) was recently reported in two European tourists who visited the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. From 2000 to 2010, cases of human African trypoanosomiasis were reported in travelers who traveled to national parks, wildlife reserves, and game parks in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Trypanosomiasis is a disease that has been historically found in this region of East Africa.
There are around 12,000 young people in the UK and Ireland living with perinatally acquired HIV, contracted from their mother in the womb, at the point of delivery or shortly after birth, while being breastfed. They are a hidden group. Fiercely protected by a medical profession that never expected them to grow from babies into children, much less teenagers, they seek to exist under society's radar, to avoid being branded by the stigma that it attaches to HIV.
This is the first case of rabies (caused by the classical rabies virus) in domestic and/or wild animals in the Netherlands since 1988.The accidental import of a rabid puppy led to a resource-intensive and costly public health response. A total of 48 known contacts in three different countries needed to be traced, of whom 45 required post-exposure treatment. Including the imported dog, three animals were euthanised.
The identification of host factors involved in virus replication is important to understand virus life cycles better. Accordingly, we sought host factors that interact with the influenza viral nonstructural protein 2 by using coimmunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry. Among proteins associating with nonstructural protein 2, we focused on the β subunit of the F1Fo-ATPase.
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