Articles on Infectious diseases

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Municipal workers wait before spraying insecticide to prevent the spread of Aedes aegypti mosquito at Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 26, 2016. Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Explainer: where did Zika virus come from and why is it a problem in Brazil?

Zika was discovered almost 70 years ago, but wasn't associated with outbreaks until 2007. So how did this formerly obscure virus wind up causing so much trouble in Brazil?
Early necrotising fasciitis is easily missed because the symptoms – fever, pain, swelling and tenderness at the affected site – may be non-specific or confused with a mild, superficial infection. Zurijeta/Shutterstock

Explainer: what causes necrotising fasciitis, the flesh-eating bug?

Necrotising fasciitis is a serious infection that affects the soft tissue.
Try to predict the outcome of a single coin toss and you’ll have only a 50-50 chance of being correct. Pauli Antero/Flickr

Why predicting a flu outbreak is like betting on football or flipping a coin

Predicting infectious disease outbreaks is a tricky task to begin with. And it's made harder still by the fact that any individual outcome is subject to unpredictable – or stochastic – effects.
Vaccinations for children and other health services were suspended during the Ebola epidemic. USAID/Flickr

Ebola to blame for more malaria deaths in west Africa

Ebola has been blamed for a surge in untreated malaria cases in west Africa that could have led to an excess numbers of deaths from malaria, greater than the total caused by the Ebola virus.
Prior to world war one, many more soldiers died of infection rather than combat. Navy Medicine/Flickr

Stealth attack: infection and disease on the battlefield

Rupert Brooke was commissioned in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as a Sub-Lieutenant. Without seeing combat, he died aboard a French hospital ship, from a mosquito bite that turned septic.
Military needs drove the development of vaccines we still use today. US troops storming beach via www.shutterstock.com.

How World War II spurred vaccine innovation

During World War II the US military forged partnerships with industry and academia that translated laboratory findings into working products at an unprecedented pace.
Recommended antibiotic courses are often arbitrary. Katy/Flickr

No, you don’t have to finish all your antibiotics

Advice that you have to finish the whole course of antibiotics reflects long-standing convention or the drug manufacturer’s decision during an initial trial, rather than scientific evidence.

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