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Standard dishwashing method does not eliminate stomach flu virus
Date: 2012-12-07 16:11:57

Recent researched published online by the journal PLoS ONE has found that although the standard methods of dishwashing can kill bacteria, they may not rid plates and silverware of the stomach flu, norovirus, which can be detected with a lab test.

"We know that when public food establishments follow the cleaning protocols, they do a very good job at getting rid of bacteria," said research author Melvin Pascall, associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Ohio State University. "Now we can see that the protocols are less effective at removing and killing viruses - and this may help explain why there are still so many illnesses caused by cross-contaminated food."

Funded by a grant from the Ohio State Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Pascall and his colleagues analyzed how well the norovirus stood up to the traditional hand-washing and mechanical washing procedures of restaurants. For the study, they introduced the stomach flu virus and the bacterial strains E. coli K-12 and L. innocua into reduced-fat milk and cream cheese, which was applied to tableware and silverware, like stainless steel utensils, ceramic plates and glassware.

The results showed that the mechanical dishwasher and the hand-washing method effectively reduced the levels of bacteria on the tableware, but both methods were ineffective in reducing the norovirus to safe levels.

Kurt Stevenson, M.D., professor of internal medicine and epidemiology in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center, who was not part of the study, noted that the stomach flu virus is easily spread among populations in which people are in close proximity to one another and that the virus can easily be transferred to food.

The study authors reported that the findings indicate that updated procedures are necessary for protecting the public from contracting the stomach flu.

... Full Story

Immunity to viruses does not degrade over time
Date: 2012-12-17 21:12:15

A recent study published in the journal PLoS Pathogens found that the body's T cells, which are responsible for warding off diseases, do not become less effective as people age, which has been a common misconception.

"For a long time, it was thought the elderly were at a higher risk of infections because they lacked these immune cells, but that simply isn't the case," said study investigator Jonathan Bramson, Ph.D. "The elderly are certainly capable of developing immunity to viruses."

During the study, scientists from McMaster University, the University of Toronto and the University of Pennsylvania analyzed subjects of diverse age groups who had contracted three different viruses, one of which was West Nile. The researchers discovered that the T cells' ability to fight diseases and the number of T cells were equal in all age groups.

Bramson reported that the research's findings may affect vaccines that are manufactured for elderly patients. Currently, inoculations for older individuals do not utilize T cell responses, which may explain why present flu vaccines do not provide adequate protection for older patients.

Boosting immunity... Full Story

Study discovers why Staphylococcus aureus gets up the nose
Date: 2012-12-31 17:09:46

A recent collaborative effort between the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and the Department of Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin has revealed a mechanism in the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus that allows it to enter the body via the nose. The study has significant implications for hospital health due to the pervasiveness of Staphylococcus aureus and other bacterial infections that are usually unaffected by antibiotics in healthcare facilities.

The researchers revealed that the bacterial protein clumping factor B (ClfB) binds to the skin protein loricrin, allowing it to enter through the nasal passageway. Using mouse models, they found that the subjects with less loricrin had less bacterial colonization than the mice with normal levels of the skin protein, and that strains of the bacteria that were devoid of ClfB were unable to colonize the nose.

"Loricrin is a major determinant of S. aureus nasal colonization," said study author Rachel McLoughlin, Ph.D., who is a lecturer at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin.

Staphylococcus aureus facts... Full Story

Whooping cough incidence rates increase in UK
Date: 2012-12-26 12:13:53
Recent figures released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that the rates of whooping cough in England and Wales remained high during November, according to Medical News Today. While the number of confirmed whooping cough cases decreased from 1,631 in October to 1,080 in November, the source noted that the total number of people who contracted the disease (8,819) is the highest it's ever been since the 1990s.... Full Story

Stroke medication may help treat TB and ulcers
Date: 2012-12-21 16:19:56
According to recent research published in the The FASEB Journal, a compound known as ebselen which is usually found in medications prescribed to treat stroke, may help combat bacteria that causes ulcers and tuberculosis.... Full Story

New research finds RNA strand helps hepatitis C virus survive
Date: 2012-12-18 17:01:08
Recent research conducted by University of North Carolina (UNC) scientists helped revealed the crucial role that an RNA strand known as miR-122 plays in helping the hepatitis C virus survive and spread.... Full Story

Doctor gives five patients staph infection during surgery
Date: 2012-12-12 10:11:17
Five Cedars-Sinai Medical Center patients contracted staph infections during heart valve replacement surgery due to microscopic tears in the doctor's gloves, reported the Los Angeles Times.... Full Story

Flu season off to a strong start
Date: 2012-12-04 18:45:56
Flu season is underway, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC, nearly 2.2 percent of all hospital visits are currently attributed to flu-related symptoms, and in five states, those numbers have increased to 4 percent. This year marks the flu season's earliest arrival since the 2003-2004 season. The early onset of the flu, along with the H3N2 strain that's dominant this year, may indicate a "bad flu year," noted Frieden. Last time the H3N2 virus was the dominant strain, which was also during the 2003-2004 season, there were 153 flu-associated child deaths, reports the CDC.... Full Story

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