Pandora Report

Highlights include bacteria eating your cell’s weapons, using DNA sequencing to stop superbugs dead, CRE: scary and surprisingly prevalent, Yersinia enterocolitica trying to make a name for itself, and the WHO changing the way it reports H5N1. Happy Friday!

Bacteria hijack host cell process, create their own food supply to become infectious

Bacteria that turn your cells weapons into food. Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a biodefense student, it’s that bacteria are very good at turning a surprising variety of things into food. – “Bacteria that cause the tick-borne disease anaplasmosis in humans create their own food supply by hijacking a process in host cells that normally should help kill the pathogenic bugs, scientists have found. This bacterium, Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Ap), secretes a protein that can start this process. The protein binds with another protein produced by white blood cells, and that connection creates compartments that siphon host-cell nutrients to feed the bacteria, enabling their growth inside the white blood cells”

Real-Time Genetics Could Squash “Superbug” Outbreaks before They Spread

This iteration of the Science article was included due to their use of the words “squash” and “dastardly”.

Scientific American – “Genetic sequences of drug-resistant bacteria have helped scientists better understand how these dastardly infections evolve—and elude treatment. But these superbugs are still claiming lives of many who acquire them in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. And recent outbreaks of these hard-to-treat infections can spread easily in healthcare settings. Researchers might soon be able to track outbreaks in real time, thanks to advances in sequencing technology. So say Mark Walker and Scott Beaston, both of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences and Australian Infectious Disease Research Center at the University of Queensland in Australia, in an essay published online November 29 in Science. ‘Genomic sequencing can provide information that gives facilities a head start in implementing preventive measures,’ they wrote.”

Deadly Bacteria that Defy Drugs of Last Resort


CRE is apparently present in 42 states, and has a case fatality of close to 40 percent (due to its extremely strong capacity for AB resistance.

USA Today – “A new family of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, known as CRE, is raising concerns across the medical community because of its ability to cause infections that defy even the strongest antibiotics. The antibiotic resistance is spread by mobile pieces of DNA that can move between different species of bacteria, creating new, drug-defying bugs.”

Resistant Bacteria in Pork — And Problematic Pharmaceuticals Too

Yersinia enterocolitica, apparently tired of living in the shadow of its flashy cousin, Yersinia pestis is apparently taking revenge by lodging itself in approximately 69% of  pork chops and ground pork. We understand the whole family rivalry, entero, but leave the pork chops alone, eh?

Wired – “Bad news today from an investigation conducted by Consumers Union that was released on the web and will be published in the January issue of the nonprofit’s magazine, Consumer Reports. Tests on pork chops and ground pork, bought in six cities under a variety of labels, showed high rates of contamination with a range of bacteria, many of which were antibiotic-resistant — and also showed evidence of a drug so controversial that it is banned in some other countries…”

WHO alters H5N1 reporting

Like so many of us who spend a lot of time online, the WHO is apparently fed up with having to constantly update it’s webpage:

Vaccine News – “The World Health Organization recently announced that it will begin reporting human cases of H5N1 avian influenza every month on its influenza webpage. The WHO said that cases of human infection with H5N1 will now only be reported on its Disease Outbreak News webpage when they are unusual or represent an increased risk for extended infections. WHO Member States will still be required to inform the organization of every sporadic incidence of human infection by H5N1 and novel virus infection as rMaking a Flu Vaccine Without the Virusequired by WHO’s international health regulations.

In case you missed it:

– Galapagos tests new antibiotics for resistant bacteria

– Making a Flu Vaccine Without the Virus

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