Posts by Kelsey Gregg

Transport of Laboratory Personnel Exposed to Dangerous Pathogens, MD

The Federal Register published a notice today from the Department of Health and Human Services detailing the transport of potentially infected laboratory workers at the new National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC) in Ft. Detrick, MD.  The campus hosts researchers from a variety of agencies, including the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), […]

Anthrax outbreak in Ugandan Hippopotamuses

In late June, 30 hippopotamuses died of anthrax in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, a popular safari location. These hippopotamuses likely contracted Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, from spores that had been lying dormant in the lake shore soil for 6 years, originating from an anthrax outbreak in 2004 which killed approximately 300 […]

Aspergillus flavus

Aflatoxin Contamination of Maize in Africa

2.3 million bags of maize are contaminated with aflatoxins this year in Kenya, according to afrol News.  Aflatoxins are produced by the Aspergillus species of fungus, most notably Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, and are highly carcinogenic and damaging to the liver.  This natural outbreak in Kenya has made a large portion of “maize unfit […]

Future Treatment: Immune Modulation

Instead of strictly offensive measures (e.g. antivirals, antibiotics, and siRNA treatments), scientists are developing ways to improve our own natural defense against pathogens, our immune system.  This can be done both by enhancing immune function and preventing immune overreactions. Enhancing the Immune System A study released last month found a way to protect mice from […]

Future Treatment: siRNA

During 1940s, penicillin, the first commercially available antibiotic, was hailed as a “wonder drug.”  Penicillin helped make WWII the first American war where infection was not the major cause of death.  But by the 1950s, antibiotic resistance became widespread.  Scientists were engaged in a veritable arms race, constantly modifying and developing new classes of antibiotics […]

Cape Town, South Africa

“Dr. Death”–Head of South Africa’s Biological & Chemical Weapons Program

The South African chemical and biological warfare program, called “Project Coast,” was established in 1981 under the apartheid regime, violating the Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention of 1972.  The project’s researchers studied Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Vibrio colerae (cholera), salmonella and Botulinum toxin, in addition to a variety of chemical agents, such as MDMA (ecstasy), PCP, […]

Brucella sp

Unauthorized Brucellosis Experiments, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professor of pathobiological sciences, Gary Splitter, DVM, PhD, was suspended from laboratory work above BSL-1 until 2013 because unauthorized work was conducted with an antibiotic-resistant strain of Brucella, a select agent, by his graduate student in 2007. The University was also fined $40,000 because this work broke federal regulations. Brucella bacteria can cause the disease Brucellosis, which presents as a prolonged non-specific febrile illness in humans accompanied by chills, sweats, headache, fatigue, myalgias (muscle pain), arthralgias (joint pain), and anorexia. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Dr. Splitter, a member of UW-Madison’s Biosafety Committee, denies knowledge of his graduate student’s experiments – but email records indicate otherwise.