pathogens

Addicted by A. E.

And the moonlight
Caroused through her veins
A heady pathogen
Feeling her body
With whispered promises
Sweetly sick
Covered in glow

When day finally broke
She wandered in the heat
Memories obsessed
With the cool delight
Thighs twitching
Backbone itching
Like a moonray addict

Waiting for that glowing orb
To rise again
To get a hit
Of that bright orb
Claiming the night

underthehedge asked:

Yeah. Virulent: highly infectious *or* dangerous. Viral: caused by/pertaining to a virus; figuratively "self replicating/spreading" (e.g. viral videos, "it's gone viral"). So, for your tag "award for most terrifying viral agents absolutely goes to prions", I guess the most appropriate phrase/word would be "infectious agents" or "pathogens"... And to you and everyone else who learns English as a second language: I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.

Why is English like that. Why must it do that to me. I shall fix that tag. 

My new book is out early on kindle. It’s only $0.99 too! If you’re interested, please consider buying a copy. If you can’t afford a copy but are still interested, head to my website (www.theraggedyauthor.com) and go to the hardship page and you can request a free digital copy. (And while it’s not necessary, you can opt-in to leave a review.)
If you don’t wanna do anything can I at least trouble your for a re blog and signal boost?
Thanks! Xo

Scientists Finally Pinpoint the Pathogen That Caused the Irish Potato Famine

For nearly 150 years, starting in the late 17th century, millions of people living in Ireland subsisted largely off one crop: the potato. Then, in 1845, farmers noticed that their potato plants’ leaves were covered in mysterious dark splotches. When they pulled potatoes from the ground, most were shrunken, mushy and inedible. The blight spread alarmingly quickly, cutting yields from that year’s harvest in half. By 1846, harvest from potato farms had dropped to one quarter of its original size.

The disease—along with a political system that required Ireland to export large amounts of corn, dairy and meat to England—led to widespread famine, and nearly all of the few potatoes available were eaten, causing shortages of seed potatoes that ensured starvation would continue for nearly a decade. Ultimately, over one million people died, and another million emigrated to escape the disaster, causing Ireland’s population to fall by roughly 25 percent; the island has still not reached its pre-famine population levels today. Read more.

6

Artist Rogan Brown creates incredibly elaborate and delicate paper sculptures using layers of hand-cut watercolor paper. His latest piece, entitled Outbreak, is “based on the smallest structures found within the human body: cells, microbes, pathogens, and neurons.” Brown spent 4 months painstakingly designing, cutting and assembling this awesomely intricate piece, which he describes as an exploration “of the microbiological sublime.“

Here Brown explains a bit about his creation process:

"I am inspired in part by the tradition of scientific drawing and model making, and particularly the work of artist-scientists such as Ernst Haeckel. But although my approach involves careful observation and detailed “scientific” preparatory drawings, these are always superseded by the work of the imagination; everything has to be refracted through the prism of the imagination, estranged and in some way transformed.”

Further proof that Art + Science = Awesome

Visit Rogan Brown’s website to check out more of his fascinating artwork.

[via Colossal]

A false-color scanning electron micrograph of the water-borne intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia. Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New More Effective Antimicrobials Might Rise From Old
Findings could have major impact in struggle against evolving drug resistance

By tinkering with their chemical structures, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have essentially re-invented a class of popular antimicrobial drugs, restoring and in some cases, expanding or improving, their effectiveness against drug-resistant pathogens in animal models.

Writing in the October 7 Early Edition of PNAS, Lars Eckmann, MD, professor of medicine, and colleagues describe creating more than 650 new compounds by slightly altering structural elements of metronidazole and other 5-nitromidazoles (5-NI), a half-century-old class of antimicrobial drugs used to combat everything from an ulcer-causing stomach bacterium to a gut-churning protozoan found in contaminated water.

“The basic building blocks of 5-NI drugs are the same for all. We decorated around them, adding extra molecular pieces to change their shapes and sizes,” said Eckmann, who published the paper with colleagues at UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia. The result: The altered shapes changed how many of the new compounds attacked pathogens in animal models, overcoming previous microbial resistance.

The findings could have major ramifications in the on-going struggle against evolving drug resistance by many disease-causing pathogens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated at least 2 million Americans fall ill to antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, with at least 23,000 dying as a direct result of those infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) deems antimicrobial resistance to be an escalating global threat to public health.

“Antibiotic resistance is rising for many different pathogens that are threats to health,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “If we don’t act now, our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won’t have the antibiotics we need to save lives.”

To be sure, antibiotic drug resistance varies. “It spans the spectrum,” said Eckmann. “We have some disease-causing bugs where the situation is critical, where we’re really at risk of losing the ability to treat any infection. At the other end, some infections are not much impacted at all. It depends upon the particular bug.”

More here

7

Magnifying Human Disease

As our ability to peer into the very, very small increases, we’ve had the opportunity to see the normally invisible pathogens that have plagued humankind for centuries. Some shown here will only cause achey joints or a highly unpleasant 24 hours of food poisoning; others are much more sinister, and can cause haemorrhage, necrosis, permanent disfigurement and death.


Image, top: Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) image of Borellia burgdorferi, a spirochaete bacterium responsible for lyme disease in humans.

Second row, left: RNA is seen in yellow in the core of these polioviruses; its protein coat is seen in blue. Second row, right: Yersinia pestis, a rod-shaped Gram negative bacterium, is the causitive agent of the bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic plagues, and was responsible for the deaths of over 1/3 of the European population at its height. It’s probably best known for causing necrosis - the violent, premature death of cells in living tissue.

Third row, left: Looking deceivingly like an oil painting, these smallpox viruses - variola major and variola minor - were some of the most infectious viruses on the planet before their eradication. The protein coat is coloured yellow, and DNA is seen in red. Third row, right: The ebola virus, seen through a coloured transmission electron micrograph. Ebola is a haemorrhagic fever, and has claimed up to a 90% fatality rate in certain epidemics.

Fourth row, left: While Escherichia coli is usually a harmless gut-dweller in humans, under certain conditions it can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, and food poisoning. Fourth row, right: A false-colour image of human papilloma viruses (HPV). Best known as the cause of genital warts, it also has a sinister side: Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by HPV infection.


Source, as well as other images, here.

4

Cool Killers: The Beauty of Deadly Pathogens

1. Putting a New Twist on Speciation: Campylobacter Cells Reunite At Last

C. jejuni and C. coli are microaerophilic bacteria that have a characteristic corkscrew shape. Both belong to the same genus, Campylobacter (which means “twisted bacteria”). They are the foodborne pathogens responsible for the campylobacteriosis infection, which can cause periodontitis, dysentery, and inflammatory diarrhea.

Scientists recently discovered that C. jejuni and C. coli are beginning to merge into one species through a process called hybridization. Though they share about 85 percent of their genetic code, the two species have traditionally been very different, having adapted to fill specific niches inside the guts of chicken, cows, and other livestock.

But because of industrialized farming–which involves keeping livestock in ultra-close proximity–C. jejuni and C. coli have been pushed closer together, facilitating the exchange of genes through a process called hybridization.

This false-color electron-microscope image shows Campylobacter cells clumping together.

2. High-Tailing It: Listeria Moving Through a Cell

Listeria monocytogenes, a rod-shaped bacterium, is one of the world’s deadliest foodborne pathogens. It causes listeriosis, a group of life-threatening diseases that include meningitis, encephalitis, pneumonia, septicemia, and intrauterine or cervical infections in pregnant women. The latter account for around 27 percent of the 500 listeria deaths that occur in the U.S. every year.

L. monocytogenes infects and moves through white blood cells using actin rockets, also known as “comet tails.” The rockets work like this: A protein anchored to the bacterium’s membrane triggers the rapid polymerization of the protein actin; this provides an explosive boost, so the bacterium can push through the membrane of white blood cells and burst out to infect another cell.

In this image, the bacteria (shown in red) are traveling around a cell using their bright actin rockets.

3. The Pretty Invasion: Endothelial Cells Infected by Cytomegalovirus

More commonly known as human herpesvirus 5 or HCMV, cytomegalovirus is the most frequently transmitted intrauterine infection and can result in serious disabilities at birth, though most people will exhibit only mild symptoms or none at all.

About 1 in 150 children is born with congenital CMV, and 1 in 750 children suffers from permanent disabilities due to the infection. This multicolor immunofluorescence image shows human endothelial cells being infected by cytomegalovirus.

4. Microcellular Warfare: When Neutrophils Attack

Streptococcus pyogenes, a spherical bacteria that typically grows in long chains, can cause minor infections like impetigo to potentially deadly diseases like streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. The cells possess a number of defense mechanisms, known as virulence factors, which allow them to evade the host’s immune system and spread through its tissues.

In this image, human neutrophils–white blood cells that are one of the body’s first lines of defense–are engulfing S. pyogenes cells through a process known as phagocytosis.

A direct line through the brain to avoid rotten food

Consuming putrid food can be lethal as it allows bacterial pathogens to enter the digestive system. To detect signs of decay and thus allowing us and other animals to avoid such food poisoning is one of the main tasks of the sense of smell. Behavioural scientists and neurobiologists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now for the first time decoded the neural mechanisms underlying an escape reflex in fruit flies (Drosophila) activated in order to avoid eating and laying eggs in food infected by toxic microorganisms. A super-sensitive and completely dedicated neural line, from olfactory receptor, via sensory neuron and primary brain neurons, is activated as soon as the tiniest amount of geosmin is in the air. Geosmin is a substance released by bacteria and mold fungi toxic to the fly. This stimulus overrides all other food odour signals, irrespective of how attractive they are on their own. Consequently, geosmin is a full STOP signal that prevents flies from eating and laying eggs in toxic food, similar to when we open the fridge and smell last week’s forgotten dinner.

Read more