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New MRSA Superbug Emerges in Brazil

April 18, 2014 1:17 pm | News | Comments

An international research team identified a new superbug that caused a bloodstream infection in a Brazilian patient. The new superbug is part of a class of highly-resistant bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The superbug has also acquired high levels of resistance to vancomycin, the most common and least expensive antibiotic used to treat severe MRSA infections worldwide. 

Deadly Human Pathogen Cryptococcus Fully Sequenced

April 18, 2014 12:36 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have sequenced the entire genome and all the RNA products of the most important...

Some Immune Cells Defend Only One Organ

April 17, 2014 1:52 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have uncovered a new way the immune system may fight cancers and viral infections....

Ebola Virus in Africa Outbreak is New Strain

April 16, 2014 5:21 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer | News | Comments

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain - evidence...

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Central Ohio Mumps Outbreak Tops 200 Cases

April 14, 2014 8:18 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A mumps outbreak in central Ohio has grown to more than 200 confirmed cases, public health officials said. A total of 212 cases of the contagious viral illness, with 132 of those linked to Ohio State University, have been reported.    

Enzyme ‘Wrench’ Could Be Key to Stronger, More Effective Antibiotics

April 11, 2014 1:21 pm | News | Comments

Builders and factory workers know that getting a job done right requires precision and specialized tools. The same is true when you’re building antibiotic compounds at the molecular level. New findings from North Carolina State University may turn an enzyme that acts as a specialized “wrench” in antibiotic assembly into a set of wrenches that will allow for greater customization.

Researchers Discover Possible New Target To Attack Flu Virus

April 11, 2014 12:52 pm | News | Comments

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a protein produced by the influenza A virus helps it outwit one of our body's natural defense mechanisms. That makes the protein a potentially good target for antiviral drugs directed against the influenza A virus.

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Genetic Defect May Confer Resistance to Certain Viral Infections

April 10, 2014 2:27 pm | News | Comments

A study reports that a rare genetic disease, while depleting patients of infection-fighting antibodies, may actually protect them from certain severe or recurrent viral infections. Researchers found that HIV and influenza viruses replicate in the cells of people with congenital disorder of glycosylation type IIb (CDG-IIb) at a much lower rate than in healthy donor cells, creating fewer and less infectious viruses.

MRSA Genome Predicts Toxicity

April 9, 2014 1:36 pm | News | Comments

The spread of the antibiotic-resistant pathogen MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) remains a concerning public health problem, especially among doctors trying to determine appropriate treatment options for infected patients. Bacterial pathogens, such as MRSA, cause disease in part due to toxicity, or the bacterium's ability to damage a host's tissue.

Antimicrobial from Soaps Promotes Bacteria Buildup in Human Noses

April 8, 2014 1:48 pm | News | Comments

An antimicrobial agent found in common household soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes may be finding its way inside human noses where it promotes the colonization of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and could predispose some people to infection.

Antibiotic Resistance Enzyme Caught in the Act

April 8, 2014 1:17 pm | News | Comments

Resistance to an entire class of antibiotics—aminoglycosides—has the potential to spread to many types of bacteria, according to new biochemistry research. A mobile gene called NpmA was discovered in E. coli bacteria isolated from a Japanese patient several years ago. Global spread of NpmA and related antibiotic resistance enzymes could disable an entire class of tools doctors use to fight serious or life-threatening infections.

Scientists Generate 3-D Structure of Malaria Parasite Genome

April 7, 2014 1:21 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have generated a 3-D model of the human malaria parasite genome at three different stages in the parasite’s life cycle— the first time such 3-D architecture has been generated during the progression of the life cycle of a parasite.  

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Experts Decode Germs' DNA to Fight Food Poisoning

April 6, 2014 8:18 am | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Chances are you've heard of mapping genes to diagnose rare diseases, predict your risk of cancer and tell your ancestry. But to uncover food poisonings? The nation's disease detectives are beginning a program to try to outsmart outbreaks by routinely decoding the DNA of potentially deadly bacteria and viruses.

Versatile Nanosponges Now Aimed at MRSA Toxins

April 3, 2014 2:16 pm | by Skip Derra | Articles | Comments

In successful research, any one path can quickly lead to new paths of even more promising results. This branching out of a research project couldn’t be more true than for a team of researchers at the UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. UCSD researchers have developed “nanosponges” that were initially designed as a platform for cancer drug delivery and now are being developed to soak up the dangerous pore-forming toxin produced by MRSA.

Immune Cell ‘Defenders’ Could Beat Invading Bacteria

April 3, 2014 11:51 am | News | Comments

An international team of scientists has identified the precise biochemical key that wakes up the body’s immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi. The patented work provides the starting point to understanding our first line of defense, and what happens when it goes wrong. It will lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers and even TB.

Tamiflu-resistant Influenza: Parsing the Genome for the Culprits

March 31, 2014 2:43 pm | News | Comments

It doesn’t take long for the flu virus to outsmart Tamiflu. EPFL scientists have developed a tool that reveals the mutations that make the virus resistant, and they have identified new mutations that may render ineffective one of the few treatments currently available on the market.

Catheter Innovation Destroys Dangerous Biofilms

March 25, 2014 1:26 pm | Videos | Comments

For the millions of people forced to rely on a plastic tube to eliminate their urine, developing an infection is nearly a 100 percent guarantee after just four weeks. But with the help of a little bubble-blowing, biomedical engineers hope to bring relief to urethras everywhere.

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Light-activated Antimicrobial Surface Also Works in the Dark

March 25, 2014 11:51 am | News | Comments

Researchers at University College London developed a new antibacterial material which has potential for cutting hospital acquired infections. The combination of two simple dyes with nanoscopic particles of gold is deadly to bacteria when activated by light - even under modest indoor lighting. And in a first for this type of substance, it also shows impressive antibacterial properties in total darkness.

Switching an Antibiotic On and Off with Light

March 21, 2014 1:43 pm | News | Comments

Scientists of the KIT and the University of Kiev have produced an antibiotic, whose biological activity can be controlled with light. Thanks to the robust diarylethene photoswitch, the antimicrobial effect of the peptide mimetic can be applied in a spatially and temporally specific manner. This might open up new options for the treatment of local infections, as side effects are reduced.

Gut Bacteria Can Cause Life-threatening Infections in Preterm Babies

March 19, 2014 1:24 pm | News | Comments

Babies born prematurely are surviving in increasing numbers. But many withstand complications of early birth only to suffer late-onset sepsis—life-threatening bloodstream infections that strike after infants reach 72 hours of age. While early-onset sepsis often is caused by pathogens acquired from the amniotic sac or birth canal, the causes of late-onset sepsis have been far less clear.

Bacterial Reporters that Get the Scoop

March 18, 2014 2:36 pm | News | Comments

Problems arise when bad gut bacteria overtake friendly ones, or when the immune system is thrown off balance, as in Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and colorectal cancer. Doctors have struggled to diagnose these conditions early and accurately. But now a new engineered strain of E. coli bacteria could deliver status updates from this complex landscape to help keep gastrointestinal diseases at bay.

Fighting Antibiotic Resistance with ‘Molecular Drill Bits’

March 17, 2014 2:10 pm | News | Comments

In response to drug-resistant “superbugs” that send millions of people to hospitals around the world, scientists are building tiny, “molecular drill bits” that kill bacteria by bursting through their protective cell walls. They presented some of the latest developments on these drill bits, better known to scientists as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs).

Finding Hiding Place of Virus Could Lead to New Treatments

March 12, 2014 1:32 pm | News | Comments

Discovering where a common virus hides in the body has been a long-term quest for scientists. Up to 80 percent of adults harbor the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), which can cause severe illness and death in people with weakened immune systems. Now, researchers report that stem cells that encircle blood vessels can be a hiding place, suggesting a potential treatment target.

Bacterium and Fungus Team Up to Cause Virulent Tooth Decay in Toddlers

March 12, 2014 1:15 pm | News | Comments

Early childhood caries, a highly aggressive and painful form of tooth decay that frequently occurs in preschool children, especially from backgrounds of poverty, may result from a nefarious partnership between a bacterium and a fungus. The resulting tooth decay can be so severe that treatment frequently requires surgery.

Chemists Discover New Class of Antibiotics

March 10, 2014 11:06 am | News | Comments

A team of University of Notre Dame researchers discovered a new class of antibiotics to fight bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other drug-resistant bacteria that threaten public health.  The new class, called oxadiazoles, was discovered in silico (by computer) screening and has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA in mouse models of infection.

Severe Diarrheal Illness in Children Linked to Antibiotics Prescribed in Doctor’s Offices

March 7, 2014 1:48 pm | News | Comments

The majority of pediatric Clostridium difficile infections, which are bacterial infections that cause severe diarrhea and are potentially life-threatening, occur among children in the general community who recently took antibiotics prescribed in doctor’s offices for other conditions, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In First Moments of Infection, a Division and a Decision

March 7, 2014 1:21 pm | News | Comments

Using technologies and computational modeling that trace the destiny of single cells, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine describe for the first time the earliest stages of fate determination among white blood cells called T lymphocytes, providing new insights that may help drug developers create more effective, longer-lasting vaccines against microbial pathogens or cancer.

Gene Therapy Seems Safe, May Help Control HIV

March 5, 2014 5:18 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Scientists have modified genes in the blood cells of HIV patients to help them resist the AIDS virus, and say the treatment seems safe and promising. The results give hope that this approach might one day free at least some people from needing medicines to keep HIV under control, a form of cure.

How Individual Staphylococcus Cells Adhere to Nanostructures Could Lead to New Ways to Thwart Infections

March 5, 2014 1:22 pm | News | Comments

The bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus (S. aureus) is a common source of infections that occur after surgeries involving prosthetic joints and artificial heart valves. The grape-shaped microorganism adheres to medical equipment, and if it gets inside the body, it can cause a serious and even life-threatening illness called a Staph infection. The recent discovery of drug-resistant strains of S. aureus makes matters even worse.

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