Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Bard and the Pox

Steve Baragona of the Infectious Diseases Society of America argues against a recent article in Did Shakespeare have Syphilis?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Quahogs vs. Botulin

The Associated Press reports that quahogs are surprisingly resistant to botulism:
Researchers who injected the clams with enough botulism toxin to kill 1,000 people found the shellfish somehow neutralized the enzyme, which is considered a potential bioterror agent.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Tularemia (Lab Exposure)

The dirty bomb scare here in Boston is distracting from another bit of terrorism-related news: three researchers at BU were infected with tularemia in, apparently, at least two separate lab accidents. The cases, which have been attributed to violations of safety procedures, were discovered by November but were concealed from the public during hearings about BU's planned high-security bioterrorism research lab.

These are not the people I want juggling vials of smallpox in South Boston.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


A bioterrorism preparedness exercise shows that we're unprepared for smallpox.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Tsunami Tetanus

Tetanus has taken health care workers in Indonesia by surprise, according to this report from Banda Aceh.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tsunami-borne Measles

I wasn't expecting measles to be the first flashy disease of the tsunami-set, but as usual, ProMED-mail has set me straight. Both Indonesia and India report cases.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Scanning for Schizophrenia

The Scotland Sunday Times reports on a new method to detect schizophrenia up to three years before onset.
Researchers at Edinburgh University believe their test — which measures IQ, memory, motor skills and verbal learning — can be used to take action against the illness, which typically strikes people aged between 17 and 30, from being triggered.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Hepatitis C Outbreak in Maryland

Via ProMED-mail: The Baltimore Sun reports a nosocomial outbreak of hepatitis C caused, strangely enough, by a contaminated batch of technetium-99m, a radioactive isotope used in diagnostic procedures.

The one fatality so far is a healthy 79-year-old man who went to a cardiology clinic in October and died at Christmas. Health officials are unsure how the isotope became so contaminated that all patients who received it have tested positive for hepatitis C, but they do believe the contamination took place at the pharmacy that prepared the isotope, rather than the cardiology clinic.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Mad Cow II

More weekend news: a second Canadian mad cow leads to concern about the lifting of the US ban on Canadian cattle imports.

Tsunami Disease Outbreaks

Via ProMED-mail: The WHO reported on Sunday that communicable diseases were being seen in tsunami refugee camps.