Image (Video) of the Day: Zombie Modeling!

For those Geographical Information Science (GIS) and Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) wonks out there, you might appreciate Dr. Andrew Crooks’ simple agent-based model of zombie attack.
Dr. Crooks, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computational Social Science and a researcher in the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University‘s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, explains this model:

At each time step, a human moves to a nearby unoccupied space, and a zombie moves to the nearest human. If a zombie and an uninoculated human occupy the same space, a fierce battle ensues, in which the probability that the human will kill the zombie is pkH-z, and the probability that the zombie kills the human and converts them to their horrific undead form is pkZ-h. 

Zombies, however, are not attracted to inoculated humans and ignore them. If recovery? is enabled, then there is a chance (given by recoveryRate) that a zombified person will see the errors of their cannibalistic ways and return to human form. All these factors working together provide some interesting population dynamics, illustrated by the “Totals” population count plot on the screen. 

Biodefense Image of the Week: Select Agents & Toxins

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If you love infographics as much as I do (and I’m sure you do) you’ll appreciate this one created by Waka Waka. Forward and share with friends and colleagues, because remember, sharing is caring and knowledge is power!

Image of the Week: Rotavirus!


Under a very high magnification of 455,882X, this transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by numbers of rotovirus icosahedral protein capsid particles.

Rotavirus disease is most common in infants and young children, but adults and older children can also become infected with rotavirus. Once a person has been exposed to rotavirus, it takes about 2 days for symptoms to appear.

Symptoms include:
– Fever
– Vomiting
– Diarrhea
– Abdominal pain

Vomiting and watery diarrhea may last from 3 to 8 days in a child who is infected with rotavirus. Additional symptoms include loss of appetite and dehydration (loss of body fluids), which can be especially harmful for infants and young children.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated children may develop rotavirus disease more than once because there are many different types of rotavirus and because neither vaccine nor natural infection provides full immunity (protection) from future infections. Usually a person’s first infection with rotavirus causes the most severe symptoms.


Image Credit and Caption: CDC

Image of the Day: CDC Ebola Infographic!

Ebola Infographic CDCOne thing you may not know about me is that I absolutely LOVE CDC infographics!

After this weekend’s events in Liberia, when people were seen carrying out bloody and fluid filled mattresses and other bedding, let’s take a look at how Ebola is actually transferred.

Please post this through your social media connections so we can work on spreading the correct information about the virus.

Image of the Week: Influenza!

11825_loresThis illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a generic influenza virion’s ultrastructure, and is not specific to a seasonal, avian or 2009 H1N1 virus. 

There are three types of influenza viruses: A, B and C. Human influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease almost every winter in the United States. The emergence of a new and very different influenza virus to infect people can cause an influenza pandemic. Influenza type C infections cause a mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics.

Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: the hemagglutinin (H), and the neuraminidase (N). There are 16 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 9 different neuraminidase subtypes. Influenza A viruses can be further broken down into different strains. Current subtypes of influenza A viruses found in people are influenza A (H1N1) and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. In the spring of 2009, a new influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged to cause illness in people. This virus was very different from regular human influenza A (H1N1) viruses and the new virus has caused an influenza pandemic.

Influenza B viruses are not divided into subtypes, however, influenza B viruses also can be further broken down into different strains.


Image and Caption Credit: CDC

Image of the Week: Norovirus


This transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by norovirus virions, or virus particles.

Noroviruses belong to the genus Norovirus, and the family Caliciviridae. They are a group of related, single-stranded RNA, nonenveloped viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. Norovirus was recently approved as the official genus name for the group of viruses provisionally described as “Norwalk-like viruses” (NLV). See PHIL 10704 for a black and white version of this image.

What are noroviruses?

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu,” or gastroenteritis (GAS-tro-en-ter-I-tis), in people. The term norovirus was recently approved as the official name for this group of viruses. Several other names have been used for noroviruses, including:

– Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs)

– caliciviruses (because they belong to the virus family Caliciviridae

– small round structured viruses.

Viruses are very different from bacteria and parasites, some of which can cause illnesses similar to norovirus infection. Like all viral infections, noroviruses are not affected by treatment with antibiotics, and cannot grow outside of a person’s body.


(Image Credit/Caption: CDC)

Image of the Week: Cholera 1974

PHIL_2456_loresThis photograph was taken during a 1974 cholera research and nutrition survey amidst floodwaters around Bangladesh.

Cholera is caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium that lives among zooplankton in brackish waters, and in estuaries where rivers meet the sea. It infects humans through ingestion of such contaminated water.


Image and Caption Credit: CDC

Image of the Day: MERS CoV!

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MERS CoV is in the mainstream news again (as if it ever went away) as reports of a second case in the U.S. have surfaced, this time, in Florida. An additional case has been diagnosed in the Netherlands as well, continuing the geographic spread of the virus.

The WHO has reiterated that NO cases of MERS have been reported through person-to-person transmission.