New York City study shows mice carry previously unseen pathogens

Sprawling cities aren’t exactly known for being the most sanitary of places. Huge populations plus small spaces equal lots and lots of trash. That said, human beings aren’t the only vehicles for dirt and disease in urban areas.

Epidemiologists at Columbia University conducted a yearlong study of house mice in New York City, and found […]

As permafrost thaws, could ‘zombie pathogens’ make a comeback?

Photo courtesy the U.S. National Parks Service

Undead beings from an ancient era, frozen in time and released upon a modern society that has forgotten them — sounds like a horror movie premise, right?

Scientists have been discussing whether this scenario will become reality, but don’t worry about fighting off a hoard of zombies […]

Microbiology emojis to hit phones this year

The global nonprofit organization that coordinates emojis (yes, such a thing exists) is releasing over 150 new emojis this year, including common laboratory and microbiology-related icons.

The Unicode Consortium, which maintains the software and data standards that allow emojis to be consistent across devices, has included in its latest batch six symbols that will be […]

How to avoid the flu in a bad flu year

Globally, it’s been a bad year of the flu so far, with cases in many regions higher than they’ve been in decades. To try and stop the spread, school systems in many cities have been shutting down, especially in the hardest-hit areas within North America, Asia and Europe.

According to Anthony Fauci, director of the […]

Foodborne illness spreads at site of Winter Olympics

Just before the Winter Olympic Games are set to begin in PyeongChang, South Korea, a norovirus outbreak has struck the area, with 86 cases confirmed so far.

The Korean Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the number on Wednesday, after previously reporting 32 cases on Tuesday.

“The peak season for norovirus is January and […]

Deadly Aztec outbreak may have been Salmonella, study finds

With cities seemingly floating on water, stone temples and palaces, and warriors decked out in jaguar skins with obsidian blades, the Aztec Empire was the most powerful empire to ever exist in Central America. Now, researchers have found a possible factor contributing to the society’s downfall: Salmonella.

At its peak, the Aztec Empire was one […]

WHO declares South African Listeria outbreak ‘largest ever’

The World Health Organization (WHO) says a listeriosis outbreak in South Africa that has killed 67 people and sickened nearly 750 is the largest-ever foodborne illness outbreak recorded — and to date, a contamination source has not yet been found.

Investigators have been looking for where the implicated strain of Listeria comes from since the […]

Food safety when the power goes out: Winter edition

Heavy storms can cause power outages no matter the season. When summer heat is in full force, torrential rainstorms can knock out power lines like they were nothing, just as rapidly accumulating snow and ice can do the same in winter.

Winter power outages come with their own unique challenges, however. When heavy snow and […]

Raw water a raw, dangerous deal

We’ve written before about the dangers of raw meat, raw milk and raw eggs, but never did we suspect that raw water would ever come up.

Raw water is the latest “health” trend. In short, it’s unfiltered water packaged and resold at the store — and from one company, it sells for around $61 USD […]

Holiday myths debunked

Some holiday myths and legends are fun: sugarplum fairies, North Pole elves and flying reindeer. Others are simply misleading science. Here, we’ll clear up some misconceptions.

Myth 1: Alcohol can kill all the germs in my homemade eggnog

Let’s start from the beginning. Eggnog is made with eggs. Raw or unclean eggs are a big […]