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The latest news about microbiology
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4000 people in England may need liver transplants by 2020 due to hepatitis C

It is estimated that around 216,000 individuals in the UK are living with chronic hepatitis C, many of whom are unaware of it. Those individuals who have not yet been diagnosed and treated are at risk of developing serious liver disease. Latest Health Protection Agency (HPA) figures have estimated that around 4,200 people in England would need a liver transplant as a result of hepatitis C by 2020 if action is not taken.
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Battle of the bugs: Pseudomonas breaches cell walls of rival bacteria without hurting itself

Battle of the bugs: Pseudomonas breaches cell walls of rival bacteria without hurting itself | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Microbiologists have uncovered a sneaky trick by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa to oust rivals. It deploys a toxin delivery machine to breach cell walls of competitors without hurting itself. Its means of attack helps it survive in the outside environment and may even help it cause infection.
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Microbial Virulence as an Emergent Property: We're next?

"A defining feature of infectious diseases is changeability, with change being a function of microbial, host, environmental, and societal changes that together translate into changes in the outcome of a host–microbe interaction. Given that species as varied as amphibians and bats can be threatened with extinction by microbes, the development of predictive tools for identifying microbial threats is both desirable and important."
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No hiding place

No hiding place | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Good as they are at keeping viral levels low, antiretrovirals never destroy the virus completely and thus cure the patient once and for all. There are two reasons. One is that, although HIV reproduces mainly in immune-system cells called T-cells, it also lives in certain cells of the brain, gut and lymph nodes. In these cells it is protected from the drugs by mechanisms that are, as yet, not fully understood.
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masango's comment, July 21, 2011 5:31 PM
.. we still need to open these pandora boxes where the virus is hybernating!
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No English badger cull this year

No English badger cull this year | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
There will be no culling of badgers in England this year to curb cattle tuberculosis, the government has said. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said she was "strongly minded" to allow culling, but details of the methodology will be sent out for consultation.
The Randomised Badger Control Trial (RBCT, also known as the Krebs Trial) found that killing some badgers made others scatter, carrying the TB bacterium to other farms and increasing disease incidence in herds on the edge of the target zones.
More: http://bit.ly/qgACwX
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Measles In Ethiopia

Measles In Ethiopia | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Ethiopian officials reported 17,584 measles cases and 114 deaths during the first half of the year. The majority of cases were in children.
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The never ending modern art show of the south bay's salt ponds

The never ending modern art show of the south bay's salt ponds | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
"The never ending modern art show of the south bay's salt ponds never cease to pleasure me as I come in to SFO during daylight hours. Those colors! As deep as paint, always a different shade, and each generated by little bugs. What wonders the microbes of the world are capable of!! They digest our garbage, eat pollutants, help us eat our food, and make food, too (cheese and yogurts). Someday we'll use microbes to make our clothes and shelters, I bet. Just look down at the colors of the salt flats if you doubt me."
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The end of E. coli?

The end of E. coli? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
"E. coli‘s general place in the tree of life has been well resolved, but when scientists take a closer look at the E. coli family, relationships blur and become uncertain. Part of the problem is that different strains of E. coli seem to be evolving into different directions. If true, this “could reflect the end of E. coli as a species”, researchers wrote in BMC Evolutionary Biology."
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What is being a scientist like?

What is being a scientist like? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
I came across a student online who was wondering: What do scientists do? What is being a scientist like?
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How Much Is a Drug-Resistance Death Worth?

How Much Is a Drug-Resistance Death Worth? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
For every death from AIDS, the US federal research establishment awards approximately $69,000 in grant funds. And for every death from MRSA, it awards $570.
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Malaria - on the long, slow, steady road to elimination

Malaria - on the long, slow, steady road to elimination | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
A new report on malaria research says funding has risen dramatically and should lead to new drugs, vaccines and other weapons for the fight against malaria within a few years.
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There are 53 species of bacteria living in my belly button. Some traveled a long, long way to get there

There are 53 species of bacteria living in my belly button. Some traveled a long, long way to get there | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
"Some people get a thrill from getting their genome sequenced and poring through the details of their genes. I’m a bit off-kilter, I guess, because I’m more curious about the genomes of the things living in my belly button. And let me tell you: it’s a jungle in there."
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UK MMR vaccine uptake rises to 90%

UK MMR vaccine uptake rises to 90% | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Ninety per cent of two-year-old children in the UK have received their first dose of the MMR vaccine - the highest level for 13 years, but this is still short of the 95% uptake rate which would stop the spread of measles in the community.
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The problem with badger culls

The problem with badger culls | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Bovine TB is a massive problem (and one reason why we pasteurise milk). Around 25,000 cattle were slaughtered last year because of it, and the cost to the taxpayer, since we compensate farmers, was £90m. Badgers carry TB, and about half of all cattle infections come from a badger source. It makes perfect sense that killing some badgers should reduce the number of cattle infections.
You'd have thought this culling should do some good, or at least no harm. In fact, the "reactive culling" was stopped after a few years when the rates of cattle TB infections in these areas turned out to be higher than areas with no culling, by about 20%.
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Is The HPV Vaccine Safe?

Is The HPV Vaccine Safe? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Remember a couple years ago when there was a big kick-off about the safety of the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine?
The virus causes 99.7% of all cases of cervical cancer – the second deadliest for women, after breast cancer. But some concern sprang up around the safety of the jab. This was inflamed by the fact that it’s most effective when given to girls aged 12-13. Stories of girls fainting and other health scares snowballed the concern into full-on fear. Tabloids branded the jab “as deadly as the cancer”. Parents stone-walled the vaccine. We did a graphic at the time to show the chances of a nasty or fatal outcome were miniscule (you had more chance being struck by lightning).
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Late? Or never?

Late? Or never? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Hubris is always dangerous. In 1977 smallpox was eradicated and—an accidental infection in a British laboratory a year later aside—that claim has stood the test of time. Having eliminated one viral disease, the authorities decided they ought to be able to get rid of another: polio. That, though, proved a tougher opponent. The World Health Organisation’s original target, set in 1988—a polio-free world by 2000—proved illusory. The latest deadline set by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the multinational body charged with dealing with the disease, is next year. On July 20th, though, Sir Liam Donaldson, once England’s chief medical officer and now the chairman of an independent watchdog committee that scrutinises the GPEI’s activities, published a report which says this deadline, too, is at risk.
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Anti-HIV drug made in GM plants begins trials in humans

Anti-HIV drug made in GM plants begins trials in humans | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
An antiviral drug synthesised by genetically modified plants is being tested on a small number of women in the UK to establish its safety, bringing closer the possibility of cheap modern medicines for the developing world.
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Grappling hooks help bacteria slingshot forward

Grappling hooks help bacteria slingshot forward | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Like tiny mountaineers, bacteria use grappling hooks to pull themselves across a surface – and can get an extra boost by releasing one of the taut lines to slingshot themselves forward. Thwarting them could help combat the biofilms behind hospital infections.
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Introduction to DNA Microarrays

Introduction to DNA Microarrays | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
The development of DNA microarray technology in mid 1990s allowed for the first time to simultaneously profile and study the transcriptome, in other words to study cells’ real-time “chatter” in more detail. The technology exploited the very same principle that makes nucleic acid so essential to information storage: hybridization to complementary sequences.
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Scientists Discover Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Superbug

Scientists Discover Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Superbug | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
A new, untreatable strain of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea has been discovered in Japan, according to an international team of infectious disease experts. The strain, named H041, is resistant to all known forms of antibiotics.
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Badger TB cull: will the zero-cost, zero-sense policy prevail?

Badger TB cull: will the zero-cost, zero-sense policy prevail? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Today, if you will, is B-day for badgers. The environment secretary Caroline Spelman will present her vastly delayed decision on whether and how to cull badgers in England to the cabinet. The aim of the measures to reduce the bovine tuberculosis that has ravaged cattle herds in England for many years. She looks likely to back a cull, which will be hugely controversial.
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To boldly go where no swab has gone before

To boldly go where no swab has gone before | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
New research released this week may find you spending a few extra minutes in the shower scrubbing your belly button. Researchers from the Belly Button Biodiversity project (I kid you not) have revealed their first round of DNA results and reveal the discovery of some 1,400 strains of bacteria living inside volunteer’s belly buttons, and 662 of those are unrecognized strains.
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Research sheds light on the eco-friendly wallaby

Research sheds light on the eco-friendly wallaby | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Scientists have isolated a bacterium from the gut of Australian Tammar wallabies that allows them to consume and digest grasses, leaves and other plant material without producing copious amounts of methane, as cattle do.
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Microbe vs. microbe: Meta-analysis reveals patterns of bacteria-virus infection networks

Microbe vs. microbe: Meta-analysis reveals patterns of bacteria-virus infection networks | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
Bacteria are common sources of infection, but these microorganisms can themselves be infected by even smaller agents: viruses. A new analysis of the interactions between bacteria and viruses has revealed patterns that could help scientists working to understand which viruses infect which bacteria in the microbial world.
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Xylem structure and passive bacterial spread

Xylem structure and passive bacterial spread | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
The bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, responsible for Pierce’s disease of grapevine, colonizes the xylem conduits of vines. Chatelet et al. examine the xylem structure of several varieties of grapevine, Vitis vinifera, and other plants to determine if anatomical differences might explain some of the differences in susceptibility to infection. They find that tolerant vines have narrower vessels and more parenchyma rays in their stems than susceptible ones, possibly restricting bacterial movement at the level of the vessels.
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