Washington Measles Outbreak Shows Anti-Vaxxers Are Literally Making Us Sick

The State of Washington has declared an emergency because of a measles outbreak in Clark County, which is across the river from Portland, Oregon. To the surprise of no one, the outbreak has occurred, almost exclusively, among the unvaccinated. The motivation of those who refuse to vaccinate their children—whether it is fear, ideology, or thoughtlessness—is irrelevant. They are putting the safety of thousands of people at risk. Read the rest at Newsweek.

How Many Have to be Hospitalized for Salmonella, E. coli Before We Try Food Irradiation?

The United States is being hit by two large foodborne illness outbreaks — first, the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce, and now a salmonella outbreak in beef that has sickened more than 200 people. These high-profile cases underscore the inadequacy of the safety measures meant to protect our food supply. If we are serious about addressing this issue, we must implement food irradiation. Read the rest at USA Today.

Dirty Secrets: Are Laboratory Mice Too Clean?

The hygiene hypothesis may also apply to animal experiments.

THE hygiene hypothesis posits that certain diseases—notably asthma, eczema and type-1 diabetes—which are becoming more common than they once were, are caused in part by modern environments being too clean. The diseases in question result from misfunctions of the immune system. The hygiene hypothesis suggests such misfunctions are the result of children’s immune systems being unable to learn, by appropriate exposure to viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasitic worms, how to respond properly. Read the rest at The Economist.

Mosquitoes, This Time It Is War

The Zika virus, which is spreading like wildfire throughout the Americas and is linked to a head-shrinking birth defect called microcephaly, is just the latest in a long list of mosquito-transmitted diseases that make the insects the world’s deadliest animal. It is time to launch a global initiative to eradicate them. Read the rest at USA Today.

The Bacteria that Live in Your Coffee Maker

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Wherever you live, bacteria live. Wherever you can’t live, bacteria live. From hydrothermal vents to acid mines, microbes have the planet covered. They also have your Nespresso machine covered. Recently, Spanish researchers decided to inventory the microbial community that dwells inside George Clooney’s favorite coffee maker. Continue reading

Red-Colored Microbes Decorate Flamingo Feathers

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

There are two varieties of flamingo in the world: The first is a majestic bird that makes its home in warm coastal waters all over the world. The second is a plastic ornament — and official city bird of Madison, Wisconsin — that deeply troubled and misguided souls believe will add a touch of class to their lawns. Fortunately, this article is about the former, not the latter. Continue reading