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Blasdelb (2)

Visualizing contagion

Vax: Gamifying Epidemic Prevention "Players are tasked to prepare for an outbreak by vaccinating a network that resembles human social networks. After distributing vaccines, an infectious outbreak begins to spread and the player is tasked to quell the epidemic by quarantining individuals at risk of becoming infected." [more inside]
posted by GrammarMoses on Aug 1, 2014 - 16 comments

Scientists pinpoint when harmless bacteria became flesh-eating monsters

Bacterial diseases cause millions of deaths every year. Most of these bacteria were benign at some point in their evolutionary past, and we don’t always understand what turned them into disease-causing pathogens. In a new study, researchers have tracked down when this switch happened in one flesh-eating bacteria. They think the knowledge might help predict future epidemics. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 18, 2014 - 15 comments

33 years and counting

The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections ended on March 6 And the news coming out of it was astounding. 33 years after the first cases were described, researchers are genuinely excited about where we are and where we are going. [more inside]
posted by Sophie1 on Mar 14, 2014 - 31 comments

Dust, Devil : The Rise of Valley Fever

"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 - 31 comments

THE END IS EXTREMELY FUCKING NIGH

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 - 90 comments

Virulence-transmission trade-offs and population divergence in virulence

"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 - 23 comments

I really dig infectious diseases (much to the dismay of those dining with me).

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? Body Horrors 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 - 36 comments

St. Quirinus and the Dragon

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 - 49 comments

Figure 3. Basic model outbreak scenario. Susceptibles are quickly eradicated and zombies take over, infecting everyone.

When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection [pdf] (via)
posted by brundlefly on Aug 13, 2009 - 65 comments

Infectious fun

Destroy the world, one sneeze at a time. Friday flash fun.
posted by Malor on Apr 13, 2007 - 27 comments

From an infection control standpoint, the perfect solution would be....

How to Cough or Sneeze
see also coughsafe.com
posted by anastasiav on Dec 1, 2006 - 32 comments

Mom Convicted Over Piercing Gone Wrong

Mass infection from bellybuttonpiercing was left untreated. This Mom, seemingly neglectful, ignored her teen's self-piercing gone wrong, and now faces up to 5 years in prison. I let my teen daughter get a small tattoo and nose piercing. I have a tattoo, but no piercings. All done by trusted professionals in sterile environments. Another teen's tongue piercing causes ‘suicide disease.’ Maybe a little upfront information is a good idea before proceeding. What are your piercing / tattoo experiences?
posted by The Deej on Oct 18, 2006 - 74 comments

Naked Doctors Without Computers ... Or This

Fomites, fomites everywhere. We all know that handwashing (or Purelling) is a great way to prevent the spread of nosocomial infections in hospital. But now that we know that stethoscopes, white coats, neckties, medical charts, and computer keyboards can all harbor harmful bacteria, what's a doctor to do? Two words: robot doctors.
posted by scblackman on May 2, 2006 - 12 comments

Bah! It's probably nothing.

W. M. D.'s? There's been a lot of talk going on about bacteria infections in Iraq. Is it just common bacteria, or is the ground spoiled?
posted by Balisong on Aug 3, 2005 - 12 comments

Mutating Strands of HIV

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 - 8 comments

I hear diseased urine is delivered directly into the Great Lakes!

With an increase in the number of cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, Canada now poses more of a direct threat to the American way of life than all of the weapons in Iraq combined. As the relationship between these two North American real estate holders continues to deteriorate, are we Canadians to expect border closings and escalated hostility due to this?
posted by jon_kill on Mar 31, 2003 - 17 comments

A quick HIV test is about to hit the US market.

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 - 30 comments

24.7 Million pounds of chicken/turkey meat recalled

24.7 Million pounds of chicken/turkey meat recalled Because potentially infected by a dangerous bacteria (?) that can be destroyed by cooking meat to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Just FYI
posted by elpapacito on Oct 13, 2002 - 42 comments

The Demon in the Freezer

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 - 10 comments

We're back!

We're back! [2] A new resistant strain of staph has been documented in a Michigan Man. Agricultural and medical abuse of antibiotics has quickly lead us to the point where only very expensive and rarely used antibiotics can treat some new antibiotic resistant strains of staph (and acne). On the bright side you can get your antibiotics by drinking some river water.
posted by srboisvert on Jul 21, 2002 - 11 comments

Really ugly neckties

Really ugly neckties of your favorite infections.
posted by swift on Oct 27, 2001 - 17 comments

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