Category Archives: Clinical and Medical Microbiology

How concerned should we be about H7N9 flu?

The past few weeks have seen an increasing amount of coverage about an ongoing outbreak of the H7N9 strain of avian influenza in China (often called ‘bird flu’). Reports suggest that in January almost 200 people were confirmed as being … Continue reading

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Bacterial freeloaders: An unexpected mechanism of resistance

Bacteria are very good at evolving resistance to our drugs. Once all-powerful wonder-cures, antibiotics are steadily becoming less effective. If antibiotic resistance continues to spread, reports suggest that by 2050, 10 million people could die every year from infections we … Continue reading

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You can’t stop an outbreak without breaking a few eggs

Last year, a paper from Microbial Genomics described how scientists used molecular detective work to get to the bottom of an outbreak across Europe. In June 2014, there was an outbreak of Salmonella at a hospital in Birmingham. Thirty-two people were affected, and … Continue reading

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What is Herd Immunity?

When you think of a herd, you probably think of cows, wildebeest or buffalo. In the animal world, there is safety in numbers – more pairs of eyes to look out for predators, for example. As humans, we don’t generally have … Continue reading

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Antibiotic spider silk that can heal wounds

Spider silk is pretty much the world’s coolest material. It’s extremely flexible, tougher than Kevlar, and weight for weight it’s stronger than steel. If that isn’t enough, there’s even evidence that some spider silks might have antimicrobial properties.

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On the Horizon: Monkeypox

On 8 May 1980, after a global vaccination campaign, the WHO declared that smallpox had been eradicated. Wiping out this viral disease, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout history, should be considered one of … Continue reading

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On the Horizon: Rift Valley fever

In 1930, a new disease was reported in sheep on a farm near the town of Naivasha, in the central Rift Valley region of Kenya. This disease caused mass spontaneous abortions among pregnant ewes and the death of newborn lambs. … Continue reading

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