Cryptococcus gatii: At the Crossroads of Climate and Infectious Diseases

cryptococcus gatii

Climate change is hitting the headlines again! The fact that this has become one of the issues that the leading candidates in the race for the US Presidential seat are quibbling over, has further increased the airtime dedicated to this matter. I thought this would be the ideal time to reflect on a particular case study where climate and infectious diseases come together: the case of Cryptococcus gatii  infections and the role played by climate in its recent rising trend. Also, this is an opportunity to talk about an emerging fungal infection associated with climate change, and climatic patterns – attributes we usually associate with explosive outbreaks of viral illnesses! The information in this blog post reflect the findings from a not-too-old study published in the US CDC’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. Image Credits: US CDC via The Conversation.

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Ritual Slaughter: A Potential Route for Transmission of Brucellosis

Syrian_Bedouin_ShepherdRitual slaughter of animals has a special place in the socio-cultural matrix of several countries. A recent correspondence from Israel, published by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases highlights a small case series where the only identifiable route of transmission was the contact shared by the exposed individuals during a ritual slaughter of sheep purchased from Bedouins. Israel has been experiencing a rapid rise in the number of cases of brucellosis owing to the scrapping of “test, slaughter and compensate” policies for small ruminants in 1997, in addition to some other contributory factors. This article highlights the unusual route of transmission through ritual slaughter of infected animals.

Image Credit: Syrian Bedouin Shepherd via Wikimedia

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Myiasis Associated Septicemia with Wohlfartiimonas: Innocent Bystander or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

w magnifica flyThe recent issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), has published a couple of cases of septicemia in two elderly people with Wohlfartiimonas chitiniclastica, of whom one had succumbed to the infection. This comes as an addition to a growing body of evidence about this rare infection, associated with the fly Wohlfartiimonas magnifica, which has been most commonly been associated with myiasis. Image Credit: CDC EID via Joaquim Alves Gaspar, Wikimedia Commons.

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Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus: More Evidence to Support

zika-x750There has been some discussion amongst public health and infectious disease experts about the potential of Zika virus to spread through the sexual route, especially if the infected source patient does not suffer from hematospermia. In a series of cases published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a case series of sexually transmitted ZIKV disease are documented. Image credits: HIV Plus Magazine

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Mycobacterium bovis: Possible Person-to-Person Airborne Transmission

medscape btb

A recent article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), describes the results of an intensive contact tracing program initiated after it was suspected that a Nebraska man, who had pulmonary tuberculosis attributable to Mycobacterium bovis, had acted as the primary focus for person-to-person transmission to other susceptible people, through airborne routes.

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Drug Resistance in Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria

bronchocentric granulomatosis

A recent article in the Journal of Infection looks retrospectively at 13 years’ worth of clinical samples to identify pulmonary diseases caused by non-tuberculosis mycobacteria and to estimate what proportion of them were resistant to commonly used antimicrobials. Image credit: Martha L. Warnock, University of California, San Francisco. This image depicts a bronchiole that is almost completely occluded by granulomatous inflammation. Two small lumens remain (arrows). This lesion is frequent in non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections in the non-immunocompromised, where it may be associated with bronchiectasis. (Image credit)

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Zika vs Ebola: A Tale of Two PHEICs


Both Zika and Ebola Virus Disease were declared to be Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a label not given liberally to diseases. In a recent commentary in The Lancet, the people behind the labeling, the members of the Emergency Committee on Zika virus, have clarified the logic and reason behind their decision.

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