Salmonella in Pets and Humans

On April 6, 2012, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced a voluntary recall of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal and Rice dry dog food. Since the initial recall, several other brands of food manufactured in a South Carolina plant have been voluntarily recalled for possible Salmonella contamination. Voluntary recalls of pet food are not uncommon, Continue reading

Anthrax Capsule Vaccine Protects Monkeys from Lethal Infection

Vaccination with the anthrax capsule—a naturally occurring component of the bacterium that causes the disease—protected monkeys from lethal anthrax infection, according to U.S. Army scientists. The study, which appears in the Jan. 20th print edition of the journal VACCINE, represents the first successful use of a non-toxin vaccine to protect monkeys from the disease.

Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, is recognized as one of the most serious bioterrorism threats. It produces three main components that allow it to do harm—lethal toxin, edema toxin, and the capsule. During anthrax infection, the bacterium invades and grows to high concentrations in the host. The capsule surrounds the bacterium and prevents it from being ingested and destroyed by the white blood cells, thus allowing anthrax infection to progress. The toxins are thought to act mainly by damaging the body’s natural defense mechanisms.

Current human vaccines for anthrax Continue reading

Alternative Remedy for Treating Helicobacter

“Helicobacter” is a common bacterium that causes infection in the stomach. The bacteria can cause ulcers to form and even lead to cancer. Treatment usually involves a course of two different antibiotics. Not everyone responds to treatment, however. It is  good health news, then, that researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have found that green tea could be a strong alternative remedy in the fight against Helicobacter.

For the study, a research team assessed the “bactericidal” (bacteria-killing) effect of green tea against Helicobacter. They also evaluated the effects of green tea on the development of Helicobacter-induced gastritis in an animal model. According to the research team, the study data clearly demonstrated Continue reading

Leprosy in the US Linked to Armadillos

Armadillos, with their sharp claws and body armor, don’t have a reputation for being cuddly. New research should make them even less so. They turn out to be a potential source of leprosy in genetically-susceptible humans.

Researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine that a strain of leprosy found in humans in the southern United States is identical to the one common in nine-banded armadillos in the region.

The findings mean people should be discouraged from frequent contact with the animals, or cooking and consuming armadillo meat.

The results also suggest that species  Continue reading