An international team of scientists has discovered that two of the world’s most devastating plagues – the plague of Justinian and the Black Death, each responsible for killing as many as half the people in Europe—were caused by distinct strains of the same pathogen, one that faded out on its own, the other leading to worldwide spread and re-emergence in the late 1800s. These findings suggest a new strain of plague could emerge again in humans in the future.
read more

There may be a good reason why our bodies are covered with bacteria: It turns out that bacteria fights off viruses.

Science Daily quotes researcher David Artis as saying, "From our studies in mice, we found that signals derived from these beneficial microbes are essential for optimal immune responses to experimental viral infections. In one way we could consider these microbes as our ‘brothers in arms’ in the fight against infectious diseases."
read more

Can you catch the flu from your restaurant plate? It’s an important question: There are 20 million cases of acute gastroenteritis and 128,000 hospitalizations a year that are attributed to food-borne illness. Food expert Melvin Pascall says, "While there are dishware cleaning guidelines, there are no actual laws that mandate food service businesses must use them. We know that when public food establishments follow the cleaning protocols, they do a very good job at getting rid of bacteria, but we don’t know if those protocols work to kill viruses–and this may help explain why there are still so many illnesses caused by contaminated food."
read more

Agence France-Press – All samples of adeadly fluvirus that were mistakenly sent abroad by a US institutehave now been accounted for, according to the World HealthOrganization. The H2N2 strain is similar to the 1957 fluvirus that killed up to four million people around the worldin the late 1950s, and should not have been sent out inroutine test kits for pathogens, according WHO. Lebanesehealth authorities found the missing sample at Beirutairport and it will be destroyed or removed soon.Authorities in South Korea reported that the missing sampleswere found to have been destroyed after initial”administrative confusion.”
read more