Superbugs & Infectious Disease
Amber Dance(Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2010)"Doctors and infectious bacteria are locked in an arms race. In this ever-escalating battle, the bacteria evolve ways to avoid every drug humans throw at them. The conflict has intensified lately as more and more bacteria -- particularly those lurking in hospitals -- become able to resist nearly every antibiotic in our arsenal. 'We throw thousands and thousands of antibiotics on bacteria,' says Marcin Filutowicz, a microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. 'This is tremendous selection for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.' The situation is forcing scientists to think creatively about where the next antibacterial medications will come from and how they will work. Here are five provocative ideas."Free registration required.
Arthur Allen(The Washington Post, September 27, 2010)"[Whooping cough] is staging a comeback in California, in what public health officials worry could be a harbinger of a national trend…CDC officials say the California epidemic could herald a wider spread and are recommending that parents make sure their kids are vaccinated. Last week, officials in Indiana and South Carolina said they were seeing an upsurge of the disease. Before 2005, there was no persussis-containing vaccine for anyone older than 6. Since then, booster vaccines have been licensed, and most jurisdictions, including Maryland, Virginia and the District, require adolescents to get a booster by age 12. Public health authorities are urging adults to get boosters, too, especially hospital employees, new mothers and others in contact with vulnerable infants."Free registration required.
OpinionWendy Orent, author who specializes in infectious disease issues(Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2010)"Most vertebrate animal species have some sort of poxvirus capable of causing severe illness. These ancient pathogens have evolved within and among vertebrates since the dawn of life. In one of public health's greatest triumphs…smallpox…was eradicated by 1980…Now, however, some researchers are concerned that another orthopox virus, monkeypox, may be adapting to fill the void. Currently, monkeypox can spread to humans fairly easily if they come into contact with an infected animal. It doesn't always spread from human to human. But that could change…Researchers are united in their insistence that surveillance in the Congo is crucial, no matter how difficult it is to access the remote places haunted by monkeypox."Free registration required.