Immunology

Most people would be horrified if they went to a restaurant bathroom and saw the chef not bother to wash his hands after using the toilet. It's a good thing raw milk fad health buyers do not understand cow milking for the same reason.

A new review finds that consumers are nearly 100 times more likely to get foodborne illness from drinking raw milk than they are from drinking pasteurized milk, which is a lower figure than the Centers for Disease Control, which puts that number at 150X. Though a tiny fraction of milk drinkers risk consuming the raw kind, the raw kind accounts for over 50 percent of milk-related foodborne illness.
Effective tuberculosis control in India needs political will and commitment. Unless this happens, TB will continue to be India's silent epidemic and a death sentence for poor people, warns consultant physician and public health specialist, Zarir Udwadia in BMJ.

20 years ago it was widely believed that India was successfully on its way to controlling its alarming tuberculosis (TB) epidemic yet India still has 2.2 million new cases and more than 300,000 deaths each year. Economic numbers are a guess at best but in the article he claims losses of $23 billion. At the heart of this crisis is the failure of India's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) to engage and monitor the country's large and unregulated private sector, argues Udwadia. 
A medieval cesspit in the old city of Jerusalem has revealed the presence of a number of ancient parasite eggs, which gives researchers a glimpse into the nature and spread of infectious diseases in the Middle East during the 15th century. 

Scientists found evidence of six species of intestinal parasites in the 500-year-old latrine, which included large quantities of roundworm and whipworm, both spread by fecal contamination of food and probably endemic to the region dating back to human evolution out of Africa. Two of the parasites detected, Entamoeba dysentery and fish tapeworm, were common in northern Europe in the medieval period, but either very rare or almost completely absent among the populations of the medieval Middle East.
Two of the four known groups of human AIDS viruses (HIV-1 groups O and P) originated in western lowland gorillas, according researchers who conducted a comprehensive survey of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in African gorillas.

HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS, has jumped species to infect humans on at least four separate occasions, generating four HIV-1 lineages -- groups M, N, O, and P. Previous research from this team found that groups M and N originated in geographically distinct chimpanzee communities in southern Cameroon, but the origins of groups O and P remained uncertain.
If you ask doctors what the biggest myth about the flu is, they will tell you that it's people thinking they have the flu. Flu-like illness can be caused by many pathogens, and most people don't go to the doctor for it, making it difficult to assess how often people really have.  

Older and young people are more susceptible but adults over the age of 30 only catch flu about twice a decade, according to a new paper.  The immune system responds to flu viruses by producing antibodies that specifically target proteins on the virus surface. These proteins can change as the virus evolves, but we keep antibodies in the blood that have a memory for strains we've encountered before.
In 2008, President Obama suggested vaccines might be causing autism. In 2009, during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, there was quickly a vaccine shortage, because the government refused to allow adjuvants, to boost vaccine effectiveness and use less raw material, or multi-dose vials, because they contained a preservative anti-vaccine believers claimed caused autism. 274,000 Americans were hospitalized.

Credit: L. Sabetelli / Wellcome, CC BY

The Black Death struck Europe in 1347, killing 30-50% of the European population in six violent years.

It wasn’t a one-off epidemic: it signaled the start of the second plague pandemic in Europe that lasted for hundreds of years and only slowly disappeared from the continent after the Great Plague of London in 1665-1666.

New evidence finds that the majority of infants at high-risk of developing an allergy to peanuts are protected from peanut allergy at age 5 years if they eat peanut frequently starting within the first 11 months of life. 
A survey asking if people took a flu vaccine revealed some interesting statistics - if their physician specifically recommended it, they were far more likely to have gotten one and vaccination rates among African-Americans was a low 62 percent.

90 percent of patients received vaccination if their physician advocated for it compared to 58 percent of patients whose physician did not, the results showed. Vaccination rates in European-Americans were 93 percent and in Asian-Americans 84 percent. Vaccination rates were 4X higher among patients who believed vaccination protected them than those who thought otherwise.
There are many hypotheses about genetic advantages of sexual reproduction but none have been proven in humans.

The researchers of a new study say they have done so, showing how humanity’s predispositions to disease gradually decrease the more we mix our genetic material together. That's right, sex leads to less disease, at least for a species. Obviously sleeping around individually is going to get you sent to a clinic.