Dangerous C. difficile infections soar in US, but Massachusetts hospitals have cut germ’s spead – The Boston Globe

“A life-threatening germ that causes diarrhea and spreads easily from doctors’ offices to hospitals and nursing homes has climbed to historic highs nationally, federal disease trackers warned Tuesday, as they pointed to efforts in Massachusetts that have helped slow the rate of infections here.” More on this nasty bug. It’s now getting headlines. Read this […]

PLoS Pathogens: Microbial Spy Games and Host Response: Roles of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa Small Molecule in Communication with Other Species

“In their constant battles with competitors and the host immune system, (opportunistic) microbial pathogens have developed sophisticated cell–cell communication systems termed quorum sensing (QS) that allow exchange of critical information. In return, competing microbes, as well as the host immune system, have developed means to intercept and decode these messages. The information obtained by this […]

Outbreak Detectives Embrace the Genome Era: Science

“Genomic epidemiologists say, it’s time to use the technique to track microbial movements on a global scale. By routinely sequencing bacterial samples—perhaps up to a billion a year—scientists could pinpoint the sources of new outbreaks faster, determine whether a bug is resistant to antibiotics, and investigate how public policies or the use of certain drugs […]

PLoS ONE: Predator Cat Odors Activate Sexual Arousal Pathways in Brains of Toxoplasma gondii Infected Rats

“Cat odors induce rapid, innate and stereotyped defensive behaviors in rats at first exposure, a presumed response to the evolutionary pressures of predation. Bizarrely, rats infected with the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii approach the cat odors they typically avoid. Since the protozoan Toxoplasma requires the cat to sexually reproduce, this change in host behavior is […]

Suicide-Bombing Bacteria Could Fight Infections – ScienceNOW

“The researchers tweaked the genes that allow P. aeruginosa to detect other members of its species and put this synthetic genetic code into E. coli’s genome. They also gave E. coli a gene for making a modified pyocin that is toxic to P. aeruginosa. By linking the pyocin gene to the sensing genes, the researchers […]