Bio 406 - Medical Microbiology
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What's new in Medical Microbiology?

The past few years have brought to light some new and fearful emerging infectious diseases, novel diagnostic tools and antimicrobials, and new insights into how many pathogens cause disease. There has been a renewed focus on the role of the human microbiota in the prevention and development of diseases, novel disease reservoirs, and understanding of host-microbe interactions that may promote disease. Here are  few examples:

  1. COVID-19. It goes without saying that this virus has changed the face of the world. As Boromir so aptly puts it: It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.
  2. Food-borne outbreaks. The CDC reported a number of Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli in the U.S. in the past 6 months alone(https://www.cdc.gov/outbreaks/index.html).
  3. Lethal Adenovirus outbreaks. A college student at the University of Maryland and 11 children in New Jersey at a health care facility have died. All deaths occurred in immuno-suppressed individuals.
  4. Ebola. Following the 2014 -15 Ebola epidemic in Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Democratic Republic of Congo, which eventually saw the first ever cases of Ebola acquired in the US, with 11,325 deaths reported, outbreaks occurred again in 2017 and 2018, the most recent causing 33 deaths out of 54 probable cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  5. Zika: A newly emerging viral infection. Although Zika virus has been around for some time, having been identified as far back as 1947 (CDC), it only recently caused significant outbreaks in the Americas.
  6. The emergence of a novel Enterovirus (D68) causing severe respiratory illness in children
  7. Middle Eastern Respiratory Virus - Coronavirus (Mers-CV) - a novel coronavirus (photo on right by Cynthia Goldsmith/Azaibi Tamin; CDC website) with a camel reservoir. This virus has so far killed 30% of infected.

Links of interest: