Category Archives: Microbiology

Food and water microbiology | Legionella | Salmonella | Giardia | Cryptosporidium | E coli | Camphlobacter | Cholera | Shigella | Yersinia | plague | enteric pathogens | foodborne illnesses | food spoilage | source of food poisoning outbreaks | population health | communicable diseases | hospital infection | gastrointestinal disease outbreaks | epidemiology | child care centres | aged care homes.
Includes outbreaks in new diseases in veterinary context in relation to potential to transmit to humans.
Dialysis | dialysate.
Meningococcus | Neisseria | gonorrhea | meningitis.
Molecular biology typing | molecular biology sequencing

Queensland Health contacting open-heart surgery patients over bacteria risk

ABC News Matt Watson 24 August 2016

Queensland Health is contacting tens of thousands of people who have had certain types of open-heart surgery and may have been exposed to a bacteria which can cause infection.
Deputy director-general John Wakefield said it had recently been recognised that there was the potential for the mycobacterium chimaera to grow in the water tank of the heart bypass heater-cooler units.
Those who had open-heart surgery on a heart valve or aortic vascular graft surgery in a Queensland hospital within the past five years are at risk.
Patients that have normal bypass surgery are not deemed to be at risk.

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‘Bagpipe lung’ death prompts warning for wind musicians

ABC News | 24 August 2016

Musicians have been warned to clean their wind instruments regularly after British doctors reported that “bagpipe lung” had killed a man who inhaled fungi growing inside his pipes.

An article in the medical journal Thorax recorded the case of a 61-year-old man who played the bagpipes daily but had struggled with a dry cough and breathlessness for seven years.

His condition improved rapidly when he went on a three-month trip to Australia, leaving his bagpipes at home.

This prompted doctors treating him to take samples from inside the pipes.

These revealed a host of different fungi growing in the moist bag, neck and mouthpiece area of the instrument, which the man had been inhaling when he played.

Despite treatment, the man died in October 2014 and a post-mortem examination showed he had suffered extensive lung damage.

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Potential new test to detect serious bacterial infections including meningitis and sepsis

EurekAlert! | Kate Wighton 24 August 2016

Scientists have identified two genes that are switched on only when a child is suffering from a bacterial infection. This could allow doctors to quickly distinguish between a viral or bacterial illness, and identify early cases of potentially deadly infections.

The international team of scientists, led by researchers at Imperial College London, hope to now use the findings to develop a rapid test for use in hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.

This would enable conditions such as meningitis, septicaemia or pneumonia – which are caused by bacterial infections – to be caught more rapidly. Such a test would also prevent children with viral infections being unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics, which are only effective against bacteria. This would help combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

At the moment, when a child arrives at a surgery or hospital with fever, doctors have no quick method of distinguishing whether the child is suffering from bacterial or viral illness. Diagnosis relies instead on taking a sample of blood or spinal fluid, and seeing if bacteria grow in this sample. However this can take more than 48 hours.

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New types of African Salmonella associated with lethal infection

(Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute 22 August 2016) The first global-scale genetic study of Salmonella Enteritidis bacteria, which is a major cause of blood poisoning and death in Africa and food poisoning in the Western World, has discovered that there are in fact three separate types. Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and University of Liverpool found two novel African types, which looked the same, but were genetically different from the Western type.

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New study explains why MRSA ‘superbug’ kills influenza patients

(Rockefeller University Press 15 August 2016) Researchers have discovered that secondary infection with the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacterium (or ‘superbug’) often kills influenza patients because the flu virus alters the antibacterial response of white blood cells, causing them to damage the patients’ lungs instead of destroying the bacterium. The study, which will be published online Aug. 15 ahead of issue in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that inhibiting this response may help treat patients infected with both the flu virus and MRSA.

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Science Week: Invisible intestinal war depicted in graphic novel

ABC News | 774 ABC Melbourne Simon Leo Brown 19 August 2016

A graphic novel being launched as part of Science Week depicts an epic battle raging in the intestines of a nurse during World War I.  The Invisible War begins its story 100 years ago on August 23, 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.  As the war rages outside, Australian nurse Annie Barnaby is infected with a potentially deadly bacteria.

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Bairnsdale Ulcer could spread to other Australian states Olivia Lambert 20 August 2016

A FLESH-eating zombie bug is spreading in Australia, gnawing at skin and causing amputations in extreme cases.  The Bairnsdale ulcer (also known as the Buruli ulcer) has been around for decades but its prevalence in the country is growing, with parts of Victoria and Queensland becoming hot spots.  It is believed the bug is spread by either mosquitoes, or through possums after they have been bitten by the insect.

Last year there were only about three cases in Queensland but the state suffered from a massive outbreak in 2011.

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