Here are the links on infestations contagions, and controls from around the web. Have more? Add them in the comments.
In infectious disease news
I have a plethora of these this week. Sweet dreams…
There’s a MRSA outbreak happening in both NFL and high school football locker rooms.
Scientists have announced the discovery of a new dengue virus type, the first one found over the past 50 years. ScienceInsider reports that this could make the development of a vaccine more difficult.
The CDC also discovered a new flu virus in bats in Peru, but it looks like it isn’t an immediate threat to people.
H7N9 bird flu in China, however, suggests a new epidemic is forthcoming this winter.
Amy Maxmen has a post at Scientific American on health workers and the war on malaria, from her recent trip to Mali. It offers a perspective we don’t see too often in the US. The Lancet’s Global Health Blog provides a view on the status of malaria eradication efforts.
There is a suspected polio outbreak in Syria, which may be the first in 14 years. According to the BBC, immunization in the country is down thanks to the ongoing civil war.
PNAS’s First Look Blog reports on new research suggesting that deadly prions can develop resistance to drugs (not a big surprise; most infectious agents do).
The cholera outbreak that started in Haiti three years ago has now apparently spread to Mexico. The original outbreak was likely caused by United Nations peacekeeping troops. The UN now faces a related lawsuit.
The WHO reports new cases of MERS in Qatar.
The NYTimes reports that unregulated breast milk sold on the Internet contains a lot of nasty bugs, and Slate explains why you really shouldn’t buy any unregulated liquids online (did you really need someone to tell you that?)
And finally, sometimes viruses are be helpful. io9 reports that geneticists from UW-Madison have used the herpes simplex virus to track human migration across the globe. And researchers at Leicester University are studying viruses that can attack and kill antibiotic-resistant strains of C. difficile (aka bacteriophages).
In agriculture and plant news
Grist tackles the claim that GMOs help with dirt conservation in farming.
Palmer amaranth, a weed that has grown resistant to certain herbicides including glyphosate, is apparently wreaking havoc on Ohio farms.
Tiny wasps are choking trees to death on Cape Cod.
In creepy crawly news
Neonicotonoid insecticides apparently change the behavior of certain ant species, making some more aggressive and others more passive.
A homeowner in Washington State has what appears to be an unusual case of rats.
And here are seven reasons why we hate insects so much (I’ll blog on this idea a bit more in a couple of weeks).