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As much as public health officials have tried to slow the progress of antibiotic resistance, the pace has not slowed.
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American researchers have recently revealed one of the ingredients in milk may be necessary for the growth of Clostridium difficile bacteria.
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A need exists for rapid change in the social mindset of the next generation on antibiotics. If our youth do not appreciate the challenges facing public health officials today, they may end up living under the shadow of untreatable bacterial infections known as the post-antibiotic era.
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If we can prevent infections before they begin, we can reduce the amount of antibiotics used in medicine. In light of the wide array of uses already known - and possibly more to come - we may have a simple yet effective way to use our own natural chemistry to keep us safe.
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At its core, antibiotic resistance is merely a coping mechanism. Bacteria are faced with a rather dire form of stress and need to find a way to cope. They can take the biological route of genetic mutation to render the drug useless. They also can gain a plasmid from the environment or another bacterium, to gain resistance mechanisms.
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Though infections can affect almost any area of the body, on average, about half of the troubles are gastrointestinal, usually in the form of traveller's diarrhea. While this condition usually is not life-threatening, the symptoms certainly can ruin a vacation. Thankfully, most of these troubles are caused by bacteria and can be treated with a simple antibiotic prescription. Within a few days, the pain and those runs fade away allowing individuals to continue enjoying their trip.
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In Canada, the December marks the arrival of several infectious respiratory viruses, such as the dreaded influenza virus. Depending on what part of the country you call home, other names such as rhinovirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, coronavirus, and human metapneumovirus are circulating amongst the population.
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By adding hundreds of species to the colon, the bacterium simply cannot compete and ends up losing its grip on the gut. Eventually, the infection clears and the individual returns to normal.
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While our thoughts may focus on the moments in which soldiers have gone to battle to face a known enemy, we tend to forget another kind of foe facing the troops. This one isn't human, however, it's microbial. Indeed, infectious diseases have claimed millions of lives and at times left those who fight in dire straits.
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Lice are an unfortunate part of human existence. These small ectoparasites find their way into the hair and then make a home where they can eat, grow, and reproduce. They are common worldwide and as any parent knows, symptoms are frustrating and treatment is arduous and at times ineffective.
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Much like any viral infection, the invasion leads to a shutdown of normal processes as the virus uses up all the nutrients and resources to make more copies. Yet the mechanism of this takeover has been for the most part a mystery. That may change as a group of Israeli researchers have provided a glimpse at how influenza takes over the cell.
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The spread of infectious diseases at large events, also known as mass gatherings has become a major concern as a result of numerous outbreaks. The issue has become so great mathematical models have been developed to predict an outbreak depending on the event.
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When the results came back, the bacterium was found in 60 per cent of the prostate cancer cases, as opposed to 26 per cent of the controls. Although the team had hoped to see 100 per cent presence in tumours and zero in the controls, the results were still significant.
To the healthy individual, the term "flu season" may sound abstract, perhaps irrelevant. But the flu, or influenza, kills about 3,500 Canadians every year and causes about 12,200 of us to be hospitalized due to the illness itself or related complications.