A rise in the number of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases has highlighted the growing trend for parents not to have their child vaccinated. Could the activities of a group of teenagers in 1950s America inspire a fresh look at the effectiveness of pro-vaccine public health information campaigns?
Reducing number of infectious malaria parasites in donated blood could help prevent transmission during transfusion21 Apr 2016
A technique for reducing the number of infectious malaria parasites in whole blood could significantly reduce the number of cases of transmission of malaria through blood transfusion, according to a collaboration between researchers in Cambridge, UK, and Kumasi, Ghana.
Review of latest genetic evidence suggests infectious diseases are tens of thousands of years older than previously thought, and that they could jump between species of ‘hominin’. Researchers says that humans migrating out of Africa would have been ‘reservoirs of tropical disease’ – disease that may have sped up Neanderthal extinction.
Major epidemics such as the recent Ebola outbreak or the emerging Zika epidemic may be difficult to forecast because of our inability to determine whether individuals are uninfected or infected but not showing symptoms, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge. The finding emphasises the need to develop and deploy reliable diagnostic tests to detect infected individuals whether or not they are showing symptoms, say the researchers.
Smoking increases an individual’s risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) – and makes the infection worse – because it causes vital immune cells to become clogged up, slowing their movement and impeding their ability to fight infection, according to new research published in the journal Cell.
Samples from the recently confirmed case of Ebola in Sierra Leone have been analysed at a new infectious diseases laboratory in the country, set up in partnership with the University of Cambridge in the wake of the epidemic.
Archaeological evidence shows that intestinal parasites such as whipworm became increasingly common across Europe during the Roman Period, despite the apparent improvements the empire brought in sanitation technologies.
Piers Mitchell (Department of Biological Anthroplogy) discusses what Roman toilets did for the health of the population.
New research dates plague back to the early Bronze Age, showing it had been endemic in humans across Eurasia for millennia prior to first recorded global outbreak, and that ancestral plague mutated into its bubonic, flea-borne form between the 2nd and 1st millennium BC.
An international consortium of laboratories worldwide that are studying the differences among dengue viruses has shown that while the long-held view that there are four genetically-distinct types of the virus holds, far more important are the differences in their antigenic properties – the ‘coats’ that the viruses wear that help our immune systems identify them.