Discover magazine 19 April 2015
Forensic biology has made tremendous strides in the past few decades thanks largely to advances in DNA techniques and analysis. Genomic sequencing has generated new methods of human identification reaching far beyond fingerprints and dental records, providing crucial information in the course of investigations, valuable evidence in historical fieldwork, and personal closure in the wake of tragedy.
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ABC News 18 April 2015
A remote tribe in the Venezuelan Amazon appears to be resistant to modern antibiotics even though its members have had barely any contact with the outside world, researchers say.
The human body is brimming with bacteria that perform important functions including building the immune system and helping digestion.
But modern diets, antibiotics and hygiene seem to be reducing the range of microbes occupying our anatomy.
A study published in the journal Science Advances looking at the gut, mouth and skin microbes in people from a small, isolated tribe in southern Venezuela’s Amazonian jungles shows just how much modern life may be altering humankind’s bodily bacteria.
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The Australian Eli Greenblat April 15, 2015
The food manufacturer at the centre of the hepatitis A outbreak earlier this year linked to frozen packets of Nanna’s mixed berries claims the integrity of its quality-assurance systems has been vindicated after its own testing failed to find any trace of the disease.
However, testing by the federal government’s health officials has detected some traces of hepatitis A, delivering a mixed result for the company as it strives to fend off claims its food was contaminated.
Patties Foods said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this afternoon that government health department testing of eight randomly selected Nanna’s packs taken from supermarkets revealed that for seven samples hepatitis A was not detected. One packet did show up a trace amount of hepatitis A, however.
Furthermore, of two packets recovered from shoppers who caught hepatitis A one sample tested positive for the virus. But Patties Foods said the Health department noted the positive sample taken from the open pack could have been open to contamination.
Patties Foods reputation and brands took a battering nearly two months ago when four cases of hepatitis A were discovered in Victoria and New South Wales with the initial, and still only, suspect Patties Foods’ Nanna’s brand of frozen mixed berries.
The outbreak triggered a wave of debate and calls for action over food safety with Patties Foods’ frozen berries products picked and packed in a factory in northern China, causing consumers to grow increasingly anxious over the source of their food.
Within days of the first sufferers being diagnosed the number of victims quickly increased and Nanna’s, the nation’s most popular brand of frozen berries, was stripped from supermarket shelves along with the company’s Creative Gourmet berries line.
Since then the total number of victims has grown to 32 with all claiming to have consumed Nanna’s mixed berries.
Patties Foods said this afternoon that its own testing, across four labs, did not detect any hepatitis A. It has also failed to detect any traces of e.coli in frozen berry stocks.
“Based on the scientific test results to date there is no evidence to indicate the presence of a systematic quality assurance failure of Patties Foods supplier program, microbiological testing regime or compliance with its Australian Food Import Compliance Agreement,” the company said.
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Brisbane Times | April 15, 2015 | Jorge Branco
Queensland mum Lauren Perry took her baby boy into hospital for a routine surgery in mid-February, only to be told for the second time in eight months that he would die.
The mother-of-two said doctors told her that her son’s body was being attacked by a fast-acting flesh-eating bacteria and he would have died if they had waited one more hour to act. Continue reading…
BioPrepWatch 10 April 2015
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) said on Tuesday that it agrees with the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking recommendation that eliminates six biological agents from the list of top threats to public health.
On the Select list, Coxiella burmetii and Rickettsia prowazekii were recommended for removal. C. burmetii is the cause of Q fever, which antibiotic and vaccine developments have reduced to a small threat. It is also known as epidemic typhus, which is readily treatable with current antibiotics.
On the Overlap list, an anthrax strain, Bacillus anthracis Pasteur strain, is up for removal because it lacks plasmid encoding that would make it harmful to humans. Three microorganisms from the Brucella genus are recommended to be eliminated due to advances with current antibiotics.
Daily Telegraph Geoff Chambers 14 April 2015
STEINER schools in northern NSW promote choice of parents to reject immunisation as the percentage of unvaccinated children almost eclipses South Sudan.