Found: Forgotten Vials of Smallpox

By Maryn / July 8, 2014

Workers clearing out an old storage room at the National Institutes of Health have found a forgotten box of vials that contain smallpox.

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Government Leadership on Antibiotic Resistance — in Europe

By Maryn / July 3, 2014

A few pieces of news relative to antibiotic resistance caught my eye over the past few days. What they all had in common: Highly placed politicians stating unambiguously that antibiotic resistance should be a national and international priority. This is superb, with just one catch: The politicians were in Europe. The politicians speaking out were […]

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Enhancing Flu In the Lab: Are Accidents Inevitable?

By Maryn / June 30, 2014

I want to revisit something I wrote about last month — dual-use or gain-of-function flu research — in order to point you to some important recent writing on the issue. To recap, “gain of function” research involves taking a flu strain that already causes severe disease, but is not currently very infectious, and manipulating it […]

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CDC: Traveling for Business Can Be An Expensive Health Risk

By Maryn / June 27, 2014

The CDC Foundation, which supports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has put up a new publication urging business travelers to protect their health when they travel internationally and steering them to resources to help. It’s a smart idea backed by some eye-opening statistics: Cost of a course of malaria prophylaxis drugs: $162. […]

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A World Cup Visitor: Polio from Africa in Brazil

By Maryn / June 25, 2014

The World Health Organization announced on Monday that a polio sample was collected in March at Viracopos International Airport in Campinas, which is about 60 miles outside Sao Paulo, and is where many of the World Cup teams have been landing. The agency said no cases of polio have been identified and there is no evidence the disease has been transmitted.

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"Individual Actions Are Doomed to Failure": Coalition Asks for Global Action on Antibiotics

By Maryn / June 24, 2014

A newly formed international organization — more than 700 members in 55 countries — has launched an urgent appeal to governments and healthcare, begging for attention to antibiotic resistance as a grave global threat, and asking that antibiotics be declared a cultural heritage deserving legal protection.

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U.S. Travelers Return Home With Tropical Disease. Will It Spread in the States?

By Maryn / June 19, 2014

Three states — Rhode Island, North Carolina and Tennessee — all said that they have identified residents who have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne tropical disease chikungunya. The states said all the victims had recently returned from the Caribbean, where the severe, painful illness has been spreading since late last year.

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Very Serious Superbugs in Imported Seafood

By Maryn / June 11, 2014

Breaking news today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of its open-access journal Emerging Infectious Diseases: Researchers in Canada have identified a very highly resistant bacterium in squid imported from South Korea and being sold in a Chinese grocery store.

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What Are the Odds That an Artificially Enhanced Flu Strain Could Escape a Lab?

By Maryn / May 27, 2014

A new study estimates the likelihood that a flu strain manipulated by researchers to be more transmissible could escape the lab. If it did, the consequences could be dire.

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World Health Organization Drafting Global Plan on Drug Resistance. Is That Enough?

By Maryn / May 26, 2014

The annual World Health Assembly — the meeting of representatives of the 194 countries that belong to the World Health Organization — ended Saturday. Each year, the Assembly defines policy and sets out goals for the coming 12 months in a series of voted-on resolutions. This year it zeroed in on antibiotic resistance, upping the […]

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