Tagged: virus

What’s the difference between pandemic, epidemic and outbreak? - Guest Work

Guest Author Mar 12, 2020

Rebecca S.B. Fischer, Texas A&M University The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This is a landmark event. As an epidemiologist listening to the steady stream of conversation around the coronavirus, I’m hearing newscasters and neighbors alike mixing up three important words my colleagues and I use in our work every day: outbreak, epidemic and pandemic. Read More

How to get rid of Covid-19 from surfaces the right way - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Mar 07, 2020

This week several more people in New Zealand have been confirmed to have contracted Covid-19, and the number of confirmed cases globally is approaching 100,000. We’ve been talking a lot about how this coronavirus is droplet spread so here’s the answers to a few questions people have been asking about that. But before I get on to that, I just … Read More

The coronavirus outbreak in China: what a difference a week makes - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 27, 2020

When it comes to emerging infectious diseases and outbreaks, so much can happen in a week. In the case of the coronavirus outbreak in China, I’ve gone from not being too alarmed, to thinking “oh, crap!”. But that still doesn’t mean we should all panic. As I’m writing this on Monday the 27th of January, New Zealand’s Director-General of Health … Read More

Snakeflu?! An intriguing source suggested for new Chinese coronavirus - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 23, 2020

Update 27/01/2020: Soon after the “snakeflu” paper was released, scientists took to social media expressing doubts, raising the fact that it’s pretty rare for the codon usage of a virus to closely match its reservoir host. Others criticised the way the authors prepared their codon usage tables. Kristian Andersen made some better codon usage tables and then calculated … Read More

How does a Virus-Blocking Bacterium operate in Mosquitoes? - News

Jean Balchin Mar 05, 2018

A recent study published in PLOS Pathogens has revealed more details of the mechanism by which the bacterium Wolbachia blocks viruses in mosquito cells. Professor Scott O’Neill, Director of the World Mosquito Program, led by Australia’s Monash University, and colleagues argue that the mechanism reduces viral replication inside cells and that rapid degradation of viral RNA is involved.  What is Wolbachia?  Wolbachia is a genus of gram-negative … Read More

Shopping trolleys and superbugs: an FAQ - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Oct 03, 2016

A story about a baby catching a life-threatening infection from a shopping trolley has made the headlines. So what was this life threatening infection, and was the trolley really to blame? This story originally appeared in the DailyMail Australia which saw Vivienne Wardrop’s Facebook post warning other parents about shopping trolley hygiene. Her 10 month old son is currently recovering from … Read More

Disease evolution: our long history of fighting viruses - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 27, 2016

By Peter C. Doherty, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity A virus is essentially an information system (encoded in DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protective coat and shaped by evolution to ensure its own replication and survival. Viruses grow only in living cells. But they infect everything from the simplest, single-cell organisms, such as … Read More

Explainer: what autoimmune disorder is newly linked to Zika? - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 21, 2016

By Steven Maltby, University of Newcastle The ongoing Zika virus outbreak in South America has brought media and research attention to several rare neurological disorders. Early reports suggested links between Zika infection and microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head) in newborn infants. These were quickly followed by reports of increased rates of auto-immune disorder Guillain-Barre … Read More

An update on Zika infection and pregnancy - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Mar 16, 2016

New research which looked at the data from the 2013-2014 outbreak of Zika in French Polynesia, estimates that the risk of microcephaly is about 1 for every 100 women infected with the Zika virus during the first trimester of pregnancy. Zika is the virus spread by mosquitoes (and more rarely by sexual transmission) that … Read More

Zika: a potential new mozzie vector? - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Mar 04, 2016

Brazilian scientists announce Zika could be spread by a different species of mosquito, one more common in Brazil and present in countries like New Zealand. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Zika virus is currently known to be transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes, namely A. aegypti and A. albopictus. Media … Read More