"All you have to do is take a breath at the wrong time.
It will impact your lower lung, and the infection starts from there [...]. If you roll down the window driving from San Diego to Seattle, you could catch cocci while you're driving through, no question. That could happen, and it has happened." Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis
) is a fungal infection endemic to certain areas of the Southwest. The CDC has described it as a "silent epidemic"
; between 1998 and 2011, reported cases increased tenfold
. It's often misdiagnosed
, but even when correctly-diagnosed, the prognosis can sometimes be grim: there is no vaccine
, the price of the first-line drug has skyrocketed
, and the treatments for more-severe cases often carry their own punishing side effects
. While many groups (including NASA) seek to halt the spread
, the disease continues to infect 20,000+ individuals each year. "It destroys lives
,” said Dr. [Royce] Johnson [...]. Divorces, lost jobs and bankruptcy are incredibly common, not to mention psychological dislocation."
posted by julthumbscrew
on Jan 13, 2014 -
It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z
signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's
bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later
, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend.
From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London
(set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's
brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings"
) to the frenzied chaos of its climax
, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale
of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count
And while sequel 28 Weeks Later
with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions
failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences
in modern horror), and 28 Months
looks increasingly unlikely
, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 28, 2013 -
"Why do parasites harm their hosts? Conventional wisdom holds that because parasites depend on their hosts for survival and transmission, they should evolve to become benign, yet many parasites cause harm. Theory predicts that parasites could evolve virulence (i.e., parasite-induced reductions in host fitness) by balancing the transmission benefits of parasite replication with the costs of host death. This idea has led researchers to predict how human interventions—such as vaccines—may alter virulence evolution, yet empirical support is critically lacking." Two papers
demonstrate empirical evidence for related models predicting the origin of virulence: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Oct 21, 2012 -
How did hookworm infections
slow the economy of the postbellum South? Do body mites
play a role in diseases such as rosacea? Did fermenting
seal flippers in Tupperware instead of traditional containers increase Native Alaskan botulism rates?
is the blog of microbiologist Rebecca Kreston, who aims to explore the intersection of infectious diseases, the human body, public health and anthropology.
posted by emjaybee
on Sep 24, 2011 -
MIT scientist Dr. Todd Rider has developed a viral infection treatment
that works by triggering host cell suicide when it finds the cell has been producing double-stranded RNA. Since dsRNA is the mechanism by which all viral infections proceed, but is not part of normal cellular function, the treatment seems both universal and safe. [more inside]
posted by seanmpuckett
on Aug 11, 2011 -
First Documented Case
of HIV hybridization in a human being was presented at the International AIDS Society conference in Paris. In this case, genetic tests on a superinfected woman showed that the two strains she was infected with swapped genetic material, creating a new hybrid strain of HIV. The actual effects are not yet clear, but this could pose a serious problem for researchers trying to create a vaccine.
posted by Irontom
on Jul 16, 2003 -
A quick HIV test is about to hit the US market.
An HIV test that is easy to administer and provides results in 20 minutes has just been approved by the FDA. This is a big deal partly because almost 250,000 Americans are infected and don't know it. The ease of this fast-response test will help identify some of them.
posted by o2b
on Nov 8, 2002 -
The Demon in the Freezer
An article by the author of The Hot Zone
. " The water contained the
whole molecules of life from variola, a parasite that had colonized us thousands
of years ago. We had almost freed ourselves of it, but we found we had
developed a strong affinity for smallpox. Some of us had made it into a
weapon, and now we couldn't get rid of it. I wondered if we ever would, for the
story of our entanglement with smallpox is not yet ended".
posted by Mack Twain
on Sep 30, 2002 -