Public Health

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Public Health

In this story about the use of rapid genomic sequencing to monitor a hospital outbreak of multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (more details here), this end bit is interesting (italics mine): “In the E. coli outbreak, we had enough E. coli reference strains and knew enough about E. coli biology to quickly identify a set of…

WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS! The Restaurant Edition

I haven’t yelled at people to WASH THEIR DAMN HANDS!! to prevent the spread of disease. At the aptly named Barfblog, Ben Chapman describes an article that interviewed him-very meta, I know… (italics mine): Restaurant inspections have definitely helped prevent outbreaks across the country, says food safety expert Margaret Binkley, an assistant professor in the…

File this under ‘heartless in the heartland.’ One of the things that is so awful about the current deficit reduction fetish (well, other than at submaximal employment, increasing deficits are not a problem, so we’re keeping millions of people needlessly unemployed) is that budget cuts always fall on the most vulnerable, such as people with…

In light of the recent E. coli outbreak in Germany that has killed nearly forty people, one would think the U.S. would be strengthening, not weakening microbiological surveillance in agriculture. One would be very, very wrong: At a time of rising concern over pathogens in produce, Congress is moving to eliminate the only national program…

Recently, ScienceBlogling Jeff Toney responded to Chief Veterinarian of the National Pork Producers Council Liz Wagstrom’s argument that widespread antibiotic use in agriculture has little effect on the antibiotic resistance problem. He concludes: However, the scientific facts support this idea [of agricultural misuse being a problem] – imagine the effect on our population of literally…

Note that I said cranky, not mad. Mad is reserved for moral degenerates who cut funding to assist people with cerebral palsy. But cranky? Yes. Recently, I’ve come across a couple of papers that describe interesting collections of E. coli. For example, one paper isolated a bunch of E. coli from soil and water in…

After Friday’s post, I’ve held off on writing much about the German E. coli outbreak, often referred to by its serotype, O104:H4, or as HUSEC041 (HUS stands for hemolytic uremic syndrome). Having had the weekend to digest some of the ongoing analysis and news reports, here are some additional thoughts: 1) The multilocus sequence type…

…and I can’t blame them. The recent and ongoing E. coli outbreak which began in Germany was originally claimed to have been traced to Spanish cucumbers. Erm, not so much: German agricultural authorities on Sunday identified locally grown bean sprouts as the likely cause of an E. coli outbreak that has killed 22 people and…

We read about “the dumbest-ass things that any state could possibly do” according to one retired New Orleans judge to prevent prostitution: In their neighborhoods, they are sometimes taunted with dirty looks and jeers. Their pictures hang on the walls of local community centers where their children and grandchildren play. And their names and addresses…

There’s a recent study that examines the effect of pollution on educational performance in Michigan. Basically, the authors found that test scores were significantly lower for the two ‘most polluted’ quintiles of schools (i.e., the worst forty percent), even after controlling for income, school absence, school location, and other factors. But there’s something else obvious…