The most recent outbreak of the Ebola virus disease occurring in West Africa may have originated from contact between humans and virus-infected bats, according to a new study in EMBO Molecular Medicine, which identifies insectivorous free-tailed bats as plausible reservoirs and expands the range of possible Ebola virus sources to this type of bats.

The virus that spread from Meliandou into other areas of Guinea and Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, represents the largest ever-recorded Ebola outbreak killing 7,800 people as of December 17th 2014. 

Binge drinking in young, healthy adults significantly disrupts the immune system, according to a new epidemiology paper.

Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome is a genetic condition in children that is characterized by dramatic, rapid appearance of aging. Affected children typically look normal at birth and in early infancy but grow more slowly than other children and develop characteristic facial appearances seen in some elderly people, along with hair loss, aged-looking skin and a loss of fat under the skin - subcutaneous fat. First described in 1886, it occurs in about 1 in 4 million newborns worldwide.

Women frequently experience more severe allergic reactions than men but it has been unclear why. Yet that disparity is more reason why gender balance in studies and trials makes sense.

Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction triggered by food, medication or insect stings and bites. Immune cells, particularly mast cells, release enzymes that cause tissues to swell and blood vessels to widen. As a result, skin may flush or develop a rash, and in extreme cases, breathing difficulties, shock or heart attack may occur. Clinical studies have shown that women tend to experience anaphylaxis more frequently than men, but why this difference exists is unclear.

Scrapie is a neurodegenerative disease that has been known for centuries and which affects sheep and goats. Similar to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, scrapie is caused by a transmissible pathogen protein called prion.

A new study finds that the pathogens responsible for scrapie in small ruminants (prions) have the potential to convert the human prion protein from a healthy state to a pathological state. In mice models reproducing the human species barrier, this prion induces a disease similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

If you're sick, stay home. Shutterstock

By Derek Gatherer, Lancaster University

It’s that time of the year again. You probably think I mean Christmas, but as a virologist the sight of glitter, fairy lights and moulting pine trees immediately makes me think of the flu season. And if there’s one thing that can ruin your family’s Christmas, it’s the arrival of that particular unwanted guest.

In the United States in the 1930s, climate change and droughts and excessive agricultural practices combined to give the country a 'Dust Bowl' - as farmers became more stressed during the Depression they farmed harder, so ancient agricultural practices got left behind.

Modern agricultural science is a little smarter. Scientists make sure farmers know the right application for pesticides and when it comes to biotech crops, they make sure pests don't develop 'herd immunity'.

Malaria is one of the most serious health problems worldwide, registering 200 million clinical cases and more than 600,000 attributable deaths per year, according to information from the World Health Organization in 2013.

Given the emerging resistance to the standard treatment most widely used throughout the world, which is based on artemisinin and its analogs, there is a need for new antimalarial compounds.

While an alarming number of wealthy people think organic food contains no chemicals, the opposite is true. Not only is everything chemical, the most organic of organic Thanksgiving meals is stuffed full of mutagens and carcinogens, at least in environmental toxicology studies on rats.

But in the real world, outside environmental fundraising, Thanksgiving dinner is not only harmless, it might even be beneficial. The turkey Americans eat on Thursday contains Strain 115, which produces the MP1 antibiotic that targets staph infections, strep throat, severe gastrointestinal diseases and roughly half of all infectious bacteria.